Entries tagged with “Andy Fenner”.


Chefs Warehouse Chef Liam and chefs Whale Cottage PortfolioLiam Tomlin is the most internationally experienced and respected but one of the least known chefs working in Cape Town, despite having worked in our country for ten years.  The recent move of his Chef’s Warehouse & Cookery School on New Church Street to Bree Street, now named Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen, seems to have transformed him and he seems happier than he has been for a long time, being back in the kitchen and hands-on in his restaurant.

Located in a heritage building on food fashionable Bree Street, where Caveau used to be before it went under, Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen has been painted a soft grey, which brings out the best of its simple red Chef’s Warehouse branding.  When I arrived to meet Judy for lunch, I spotted former Portofino restaurateur Cormac Keane Chefs Warehouse Exterior Whale Cottage Portfolioihaving lunch as I was taking a photograph of the exterior of the building. Cormac was a maverick whilst he lived in Cape Town, and it is a shame that he left Cape Town to return to London, having shaken things up in the restaurant industry when he operated here until the World Cup 2010, it not living up to his expectations. The Irish roots of Chef Liam and Cormac created a friendship in the early days in Cape Town for both men, which still holds.  Chef Liam started his career in Australia, and opened his restaurant BANC in Sydney, which earned him a 3 Hats award, as well as two Restaurant of the Year awards.  He moved to our country ten years ago, and has written cookbooks (‘BANC’,Season to Taste’, and ‘Lessons with Liam‘), which are available at Chef’s Warehouse, still serves on the British Airways Taste Team, and has assisted wine estates such as La Motte in setting up Pierneef à La Motte and its kitchen.  For a year he operated at Leopard’s Leap in Franschhoek, selling cooking and baking utensils and vessels, and offering cooking courses, whilst also (more…)

Yours Truly Dan-20140306150809239202-620x349Yesterday the respected Sydney Morning Herald published a super article about Cape Town  and its food and beverage entrepreneurs in the main (‘Cape Crusaders‘), the visit by its writer Rachel Olding having been sponsored by SA Tourism.  Containing two errors, one significant in its incorrect name for Table Mountain, it raises the question as to whether SA Tourism should insist on seeing copy first before it is published, not a popular nor common offer made by writers!

The writer’s focus was on the entrepreneurs in Cape Town, ‘bringing fresh new energy to Cape Town‘.  She adds: ‘In Cape Town, like so many international cities, they’re increasingly clad in plaid shirts, plugged into the hottest global trends and leading a hipster revival mixing the best of different eras and cultures with their own Capetonian touch’.  She quotes a tour guide that Cape Town has baboons to remind one that Cape Town is in Africa, feeling more European in its nature!

Yours Truly on Kloof Street and on Long Street (owned by Daniel Holland); the Grand Daddy Hotel; Royale Eatery (described as ‘hip new‘ which it is not!); Deluxe Coffeeworks (owned by Carl Wessel and Judd Francis) on Church Street and in Gardens; the Old Biscuit Mill; A Store is Good on Kloof Street (owned by Dario Lette);  Supremebeing and Wardrobe on Kloof Street; Frankie Fenner (more…)

Eat Out magazine cover Whale Cottage PortfolioAfter two disastrous years, New Media Publishing was brave enough to take stock earlier this year, and asked the industry what it wanted in the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards.  Last night that hard work paid off, with a new venue for the event, a slick and short presentation, new Awards introduced, and three new restaurants making the Top 10 Restaurant list.  The surprise was the emotion which the chefs expressed when receiving their plaques, challenging MasterChef SA Season 2 on tears!

We were one of the interviewees, meeting with Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly, its GM Aileen Lamb, MD Bridget McCarney, and Director Irna van Zyl.  We were forthright in our feedback and suggestions, including that a team of judges would be needed again (we suggested Garth Stroebel, and have yet to meet him!). We fed back that the preferential relationship with Luke Dale-Roberts in TASTE magazine (also published by New Media Publishing, and of which Abigail is the Food Editor) was unfair towards all other chefs, by featuring him every month – we were told that Woolworths had a contract with him, and therefore he received the coverage in the magazine.  This contract was terminated earlier this year, which is excellent news.  Other recommendations can be read here.  Flowing from the interviews and discussions with previous Top 20 chefs and restaurant managers, owners, and suppliers, as well as media representatives and bloggers, New Media Publishing allowed restaurants to apply to be included in the Eat Out Top 500 Restaurant List, which was selected by a (more…)

Delaire Graff Chef Christiaan Campbell kitchen Whale Cottage PortfolioFor the first time in the history of the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards two restaurants belonging to one owner have been nominated for the honoured list. Both Delaire Graff Restaurant and Indochine, under the direction of Chef Christiaan Campbell, made it onto the Top 20 shortlist, which Eat Out announced yesterday.  We are delighted with our best ever Top 20 Restaurant shortlist prediction score, in correctly guessing 18 out of the Top 20 shortlisted restaurants.

The Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant Awards shortlist contained a few surprises, leading one restaurant representative to comment that despite the new judging system and panel, little had changed in the shortlist, with only two newly opened restaurants included, being Camphors at Vergelegen (Chef PJ Vadas) and five hundred (Chef David Higgs).  Surprises were the following:

  • The non-appearance of Terroir and Mosaic at The Orient, both restaurants having made the Top 10 Restaurant list last year.  We have been critical of Terroir’s perennial appearance on the (more…)

MasterChef-2-14-Chef-David-dish-Whale-Cottage-Portfolio-300x225It’s that time of the year again, and this week Eat Out will announce its shortlisted Top 20 Restaurants for the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards 2014.  The judges have been furiously eating their way around the country, and top restaurants are licking their lips in the hope of cracking the Top 20 list, from which the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants will be announced at the gala dinner in the V&A Waterfront on 10 November.

Given the turmoil in the judging of our country’s Top 10 restaurants in the past two years, Eat Out publisher New Media Publishing communicated with the industry, and invited past Top 20 chefs and some restaurant owners to chat about what they want in restaurant awards.  The overwhelming majority of respondents requested a panel of South African judges (British blogger ‘judge’ Bruce Palling used last (more…)

Burrata Pick me Up dessert Whale Cottage PortfolioOne of the changes New Media Publishing has introduced for Eat Out‘s 2014 edition is that its printed Restaurant Guide will only list 500 restaurants, as opposed to 1100 last year.  The method of selecting the included restaurants has changed too.

The process commenced with Eat Out announcing that it was looking for applications from restaurants to be included in the 2014 Eat Out Guide, such applications closing on 30 June.  It described the application process as follows: ‘This call to action turns up the heat and shifts the onus onto the restaurant to put themselves forward in a simple process‘.  The restaurants that wanted to be considered for inclusion had to complete a (more…)

Whale CottageOn 28 September 2008 we posted the first blogpost on this WhaleTales blog, not knowing where this journey would be taking us.   Five years and close to 2000 blogposts later, we look back as well as forward.

Looking back 

I had set myself a goal of blogging daily, and while I question my wisdom  at times, it has kept the rhythm going, and forced me to find material to blog about. My biggest fear is that I will run out of things to blog about one day!

The statistics from Google Analytics help in casting an eye back: in the five year period we have achieved 1,4 million pageviews, with 759452 unique readers. We were a Finalist for the SA Blog Awards’ The Most Controversial Blog in 2010, and try to stay true to this accolade.  We have reached the 5th position on the amatomu.com Popular South African Blogs list.  We have been included in the 100 Great SA Travel Twitter Feeds.

Many of the most popular blogposts (more…)

Crush! 32 cover-fin-2048When Michael Olivier first launched Crush! food and wine digital magazine three years ago, it was evident that he and his team had no experience in the design and publishing of a  magazine generally, and a digital magazine specifically.  We wrote critically about the first few issues, but no feedback was accepted nor reacted to, and Olivier appeared to have lost advertising revenue as a result, thus leaving the magazine about a year ago.  His departure appears to have rejuvenated the magazine, and it has improved vastly!

The response by Olivier and his Crush! writers David Cope (@Foodie_za) and Andy Fenner (@JamieWhoSA in those days) to our feedback about the magazine at that time was to create the Whalespotter Twitter defamation account led by Cope, and condoned by (more…)

The publicity for the start of Season 2 of MasterChef SA is still surprisingly low key, with little PR for the new series having been seen to date.  A number of changes relative to last year’s Season 1 can be expected when Season 2 kicks off on M-Net tomorrow at 19h30, the biggest being that the value of the winner’s prize package has dropped dramatically to about R1 million, from R8 million in Season 1:

1.   There will be two shows a week, for 13 weeks on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, at 19h30, with 26 episodes in total.

2.  The show content will be less focused on cooking, and more on the human drama, with in-depth interviews with the contestants, video diaries, fun moments and ‘extended storylines’. Interviews with experts, guest chefs, and the judges will also feature.  There will be more masterclasses, and more rewards, M-Net Publicist Ingrid Engelbrecht has told the Sunday Times.

3.  There is a ‘significantly higher’ standard of cooking than in Season 1, according to Ms Engelbrecht, as the Season 2 participants had a better understanding of what was expected of them from having watched Season 1, reports the Sunday Times.

4.   There are fewer Finalists, now called ‘contestants’: 16 instead of 18.

5.  Season 2 was filmed at Nederburg at the beginning of this year.

6.  The same judges Pete Goffe-Wood, Andrew Atkinson, and Benny Masekwameng are involved, and Chef Arnold Tanzer is the Culinary Producer once again.

7.  One episode (9 July) will feature food bloggers, including Andrew Lieber from Gourmet Guys, Ishay Govender from Food and the Fabulous, Candice Bresler from The Gorgeous Gourmet Blog, and Sam Linsell from Drizzle and Drip.  We have been told that Jane-Anne Hobbs, Anel Potgieter, Nina Timm,and Andy Fenner were also invited to participate in the episode filmed at Maiden’s Cove, between Camps Bay and Clifton, but were cancelled in the last minute, as were we.

8.  Gordon Ramsay is a guest chef and judge, a Tweet by Chris Whelan has indicated.

9.  Nederburg is the wine sponsor again, and is offering eight ‘online master classes in food and wine pairing’, conducted by its cellar master Razvan Macici, a new clip posted on the Nederburg website every two weeks, its PR consultancy De Kock Communications has announced.

10.   Fledgling Bakoven restaurateur Zahir Mohamed of Baked Bistro auditioned for MasterChef Season 1 and 2, and he features in the first fifteen minutes of the first episode tomorrow, an interview in yesterday’s Sunday Times has revealed. Mohamed is the son of Shawn MacLachlan, who owns a catering company looking after Manchester United and its fans.  Other contestants are Cape Town based Zane Jacobs, Tiron Eloff from Randburg, Alta Wasson from Stilbaai, and Khumo Twala from Johannesburg, according to the Sunday Times.

11.  The winner’s prizes offered by the official sponsors have been announced by M-Net:  R400000 cash from Robertsons, a VW Golf 7 (new sponsor replacing Hyundai), five nights at the Maia Luxury Resort & Spa in the Seychelles from Tsogo Sun, one year’s free shopping to the value of R100000 at Woolworths, and a year’s supply of Nederburg wines plus a sommelier course.  The modest Tsogo Sun prize is a surprise, given the generous two year restaurant contract which Season 1 winner Deena Naidoo received at Montecasino!   We have been told that the hotel group does not expect as high a viewership of Season 2, and that the controversy surrounding the Montecasino restaurant prize led Tsogo Sun to drastically downscale its contribution to the winner’s prize package.

12.  The bar has been raised for MasterChef SA Season 2, relative to MasterChef Australia, the producers wishing to exceed the standard of the latter.  Lani Lombard, M-Net’s Head of Communication, has said about Season 2: ‘The first Season of MasterChef South Africa definitely inspired amateur chefs to get more creative. We noticed very early on during the Audition phase that the contestants’ standard of cooking was significantly higher this year and because of that, the show provides pressure-cooker entertainment right from the start’.

12.  MasterChef SA Season 3 is likely to follow.

In January I was the only blogger to be be invited to a Media Day on set at MasterChef SA at Nederburg.  Our blogpost (edited by M-Net) of the Media Day provides more background information.

MasterChef SA Season 2 starts cooking on Tuesday 11 June at 19h30, after the last episode of MasterChef Australia.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @Whale Cottage

Ten days ago we wrote about the unethical reviews of wines by Michael Olivier, without acknowledging that most of his ‘Winery Partners’ have paid for the coverage on his blog, on his Twitter account, and in his FMR wine slot.  We also wrote about the unethical restaurant reviews done on IntertwEAT/TweetCritique by Lionel Lelyveld, without disclosing that every three course meal for two persons he has written about is received free of charge.

Interesting is how differently the two writers have reacted to our blogpost:

Lelyveld has not responded to the blogpost at all, but we have noticed in the past week that he has started simultaneously Tweeting restaurant reviews from the UK and the Cape.  We have also noticed that he has added a hint of criticism to some of his ‘review’ Tweets, which we have not seen before.  What is funny, but probably not visible to most of our Followers, is that Lelyveld has been particularly generous with his Retweets of our Restaurant-related Tweets, (more…)