Entries tagged with “Dear Me”.


Eat Out 2015 cover Whale CottageThe Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards event is a highlight on the restaurant calendar, held for the 17th year, and at Thunder City for the first time last night.   The results surprised, with one heavyweight chef sliding right off the Top 10 list, while a new restaurant made Top 10. Two restaurants which did not make the Top 20 Restaurant shortlist in 2013 flew back into Top 10 last night.  Stellenbosch remains the Gourmet Capital of South Africa (4 Top 10 restaurants), followed by 3 in Johannesburg, and 1 each in Cape Town, Franschhoek, and Hermanus.   While the award recipients were acceptable, the food was a disaster.

Thunder City is not an ideal venue for a function of this magnitude (800 guests, but advertised asEat OUt Thunder City Whale Cottage 1000 initially), being difficult to find – the petrol station one block away from the turn-off had no clue where Thunder City is, and there were no signs off Borcherds Quarry Road, other than some posters held by men, only visible in the last minute.  I followed a taxi, there being no further signage to Thunder City.  We were collected from the VIP parking by a Mercedes-Benz shuttle van, and I arrived just as the event started, Chef Pete Goffe-Wood doing a tribute to Chef Bruce Robertson, who passed away two weeks ago.   The lighting was poor for (more…)

Rossouw's by Diner's Club South African Restaurant GuideAfter a one year absence, the Rossouw’s Restaurant Guide is back, with a new name, new sponsor, new editor, and a new methodology of recognising top restaurants.  Restaurants in Cape Town and the Winelands still dominate the 5-star restaurant list by far, with 13 out of 20 restaurants in the Western Cape, out of 300 restaurants evaluated in total!

Yesterday ‘Rossouw’s by Diners Club International 2015 South African Restaurant Guide’ was launched in Johannesburg, now sponsored by Diners Club, the same company also sponsoring the Platter’s by Diners Club 2015 South African Wine Guide.  Anna Trapido has been the editor for just more than half a year, writing individual reviews about restaurants on their website, and has compiled the new Guide, awarding twenty restaurants with 5 star ratings nationally, another change, as the Rossouw’s restaurants only achieved a maximum of 3 stars in the past, when it was run by previous owner JP Rossouw.  The publication format now matches that of the Platter’s Guide.  A 5-star rated restaurant is defined as a ‘consistently superlative restaurant in its category – with no/almost no issues’!  To obtain a 5-star rating the restaurant had to achieve a score in excess of 90%, errors in food being unbalanced, or wines and foods not matching, counting against a restaurant, for example.  Every element of the restaurant visit, from making the telephonic booking to the departure, was scored.  All meals were paid for by Anna’s reviewers, all largely unknown (more…)

Diners Club Winelist banner Whale CottageThe Diners Club Winelist Awards for the Western Cape were held at Shimmy Beach Club yesterday, saluting the restaurants in the province, and the standard of their winelist content and presentation. Bushman’s Kloof won best Winelist in the Western Cape.  During the course of this week the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal awards will also be presented.

A judging panel, led by wine judge Dave Hughes, and consisting of Winnie Bowman, Nikki Dumas, Fiona McDonald, and Christine Rudman, evaluated 208 winelists nationally, and 100 from the ‘Cape‘, a province which has not existed for years!  Diners Club threw the Western Cape and Eastern Cape into one ‘Cape’ pot in reporting on the results and in handing out the awards yesterday!  A substantial number of Western Cape restaurants did not enter the competition this year, down from 96 entries last year to 80 this year.

Odd was the choice of venue, being the Bar section of Shimmy Beach Club, which did not have Diners Club Pongracz Whale Cottageenough parking for the attendees, some walking for more than 1 km to get to the venue.  We were welcomed with a glass of Pongracz, and the food was very meagre, being macaroni cheese croquettes and sushi!  There was not enough seating for everyone, in a room which had some round tables, a few chairs and couches, but had no presence in making this function special for the award winners, compared to the venue used at the Vineyard Hotel last year.  It also was not a finalist for the Winelist Awards! Very odd was using Anna Trapido as the MC, not generally known to the local restaurant wine stewards and sommeliers, in being the editor of the 2015 ‘Diners Club Rossouws (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The Penny Ferry is to be reintroduced in the V&A Waterfront on 1 November, connecting the main shopping centre side to the more commercial and business side at the Clocktower. The ride will cost R5. The ferry stopped opening in 1997 when the swing bridge was constructed.  The Penny Ferry service was officially relaunched by Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom earlier this week.

*   The judging for the 2014 Diners Club Winemaker of the Year has been completed, and the winners of the 34th annual competition will be announced next month. In evaluating the nominees, it was ‘the heart and soul of the winemakers that stood out strongly‘, dominating the quality of the wines they made.  The Winemaker of the Year entered in this year’s theme category of White Blends, while the Young Winemaker of the Year was evaluated on any red wine. Judges included Dave Hughes (panel chairman), Beatriz Machado from Portugal, retailer Carrie Adams, Nomonde Kubheka (wine judge and educator), Christine Rudman (wine judge), Colin Frith (GM of Hazendal), and Margaret Fry (Director of Cape Wine Academy). (received via media release from African Sky Media)

*   At the International Spirit & Wine Competition held in London recently, five South African wines won (more…)

Waterkloof Beef and Langoustine TartarEat Out has just announced its Top 20 list, communicated very oddly (and inconveniently) by individual Tweet to each of the Top 20 restaurants.  As can be expected, there are some surprise additions and omissions on the list.  Stellenbosch and Cape Town are in direct competition, with six Top 20 Finalist Restaurants each.  The 2014 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Top 10 Restaurant Awards will be presented on Sunday 16 November.

New entrants to the list are La Mouette, The Restaurant at Newton Johnson, The Pot Luck Club, and The White House at Dear Me.  The latter restaurant’s addition to the list is a surprise, given that it is only open twice a week, on Thursday and Friday evenings.  Eat Out judge Andy Fenner supplying the restaurant from his down-in-the-dungeon Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants ‘butchery‘ on Church Street makes this nomination a conflict of interest!

Returnees to the list, after being eliminated last year, are Mosaic at The Orient and Terroir.

Omissions from the list, surprisingly, are Burrata (Best Italian restaurant last year), Indochine (very good score in Top 20 last year), Azure at The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, Equus at Cavalli, The Restaurant at Grande Provence, Springfontein Eats,  and for many, The Foodbarn.

*   Ineligibilty due to chef changes are Delaire Graff Restaurant, Camphors at Vergelegen, Mondiall, Pierneef à La Motte, Hartford House, and Babylonstoren, as well as La Colombe, due to its venue change and long closure as a result.

Last month we asked if Eat Out had enough Top 20 Chefs to fill its list, given that six previous Top 20 restaurants have had chef changes in the past few months.

The Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant list is as follows: (more…)

Eat Out Cooking-chefs-awards-tableEat Out has announced the names of its six ‘celebrated chefs’ cooking at its 2014 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards Gala Dinner on 16 November at new (for Eat Out) venue Thunder City.  It has also revealed that five judges will select the Top 10 Restaurants for 2015.

In the past the chef selection for the Gala Dinner has been a sure predictor of Eat Out Top 10 restaurant selection, but when this became too obvious, Eat Out selected a mix of chefs who made the Top 10 Restaurant list, with some that did not.  We have predicted the Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant shortlist for this year.   The ‘decorated chefs’ cooking the dinner are:

*   Neil Jewell of Bread & Wine (a weird Top 20 Restaurant finalist last year), which will definitely not make Top 10.

*   David Higgs of five hundred (last year’s Chef of the Year and the restaurant came second on the Top 10 list), which will definitely make Top 10 – can Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly let go of her ‘darling’ Luke Dale-Roberts, and give the top spot to (more…)

Hayden Quinn Title page sunflowersThe question on the lips of many South African viewers of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’ is: why Hayden Quinn?  Why choose a MasterChef Australia top 3 finalist (no, not winner) of 2011 (no, not even 2013) to promote the beauty of South Africa and its abundance of sustainable foods amongst South Africans? We did some research, and found that South African viewers are being misled about the TV show host, and that Woolworths appears to have a hidden agenda in pushing its Australian investments!

I started with the Cardova Group, the production company of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘, and of the ‘Expresso Morning Show’ and ‘Top Travel‘ too, all flighted on SABC3.  A random e-mail landed in my Inbox from LinkedIn, asking me to congratulate Mark Bland as newly appointed Producer of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’, just as the series kicked off and my interest in it was piqued.   I got Mark’s cellphone number via LinkedIn, and asked him for more information about the food series.  He was extremely hesitant in talking to me, even though we have known each other for  a good two to three years.  He is a regular reader of my blog, and has commented on it on occasion.  I was taken aback about his hesitancy to meet, to talk about the new show, stating that he had just been promoted, and did not want to jeopardise his new appointment in case I wrote something that could land him in trouble. As a regular reader he would have known that I can only write what I have been told.  As the producer of the show, one would have thought that he would have wanted information about the series to be shared, or expected that he would have referred me to a PR person within his company, or at Woolworths, SABC3, and/or Nedbank, the major sponsors of the series.  The best he could send me was this bland (pardon the pun) media release: (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Professor Francis Petersen has been appointed as Chairman of Cape Town Design NPC, the company co-ordinating Cape Town’s reign of World Design Capital 2014, after the recent passing of its former Chairman Professor Russel Botman. 

*   Influential travel writer Sarah Khan, originally from New York,  fell in love with Cape Town and lives in our city, having met her now husband here two years ago.  She tells a romantic  tale about her transnational love affair, engagement, wedding and reception, held on three continents!   She has written fantastic stories about our city for leading international titles.

*   South African rugby player Francois Hougaard has been appointed to work with the tourism authority of the Seychelles, to promote the island to South Africans!

*   Brent Perremore of Orphanage Cocktail Emporium, who won the National World Class finals recently, has been prevented from (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The South African Wine Tasting Championships 2014 will be held at the Hilton Hotel on 2 August.  Each participant will taste 50 wines, whereafter they must identify 10 wines tasted blind, out of the 50.  The 50 highest scoring participants will participate at the World Championships at Champagne Bollinger in October. (received via media release from Jean-Vincent Ridon)

*   The International Air Transportation Association (IATA) has warned that the new Immigration Regulations could affect the profitability of airlines serving South Africa, in that they ‘might stop people travelling‘, even if they were ‘well intentioned‘.

*   London is the most visited city in the world for the third time in four years, according to the MasterCard Global Destinations Cities Index.  The survey estimates that the city will receive 18,7 million visitors this year, beating Bangkok, which was ranked first last year.  Paris, Singapore, and Dubai also fall into the Top 5 visitor cities list. (more…)

Eat Out produce2014nr2-2269 (1)The winners of the 8th annual Eat Out Zonnebloem Produce Awards were announced at the Stellenbosch Slowmarket yesterday.  The Eat Out media release states that the quality of produce was excellent this year, and that it was not easy to choose the overall winners.

Judges were Deena Naidoo, MasterChef SA Season 1 winner, Eat Out Top 10 Chef Jackie Cameron of Hartford House,  Chef Vanessa Marx of Dear Me, Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly, and Eat Out Editor-in-Chief Anelde Greeff.Eat Out Produce AWards 2014 judges produce2014-2534

We are delighted that the Oranjezicht City Farm has received recognition for its excellent work, in winning the South African Heritage Award.  Anel Potgieter’s ‘Life is a Zoo Biscuit’ won Best Local Food Blog for the second time.  Farmer Angus has been a pioneer for organic meat and egg production at Spier, and has been a previous winner too.  It is no surprise that Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants has received the ‘Outstanding Outlet’ award for the Cape area, having been the former 2013 Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant judge, yet it is surprising in that the outlet is in a dive location, and the service arrogant and poor – we are still waiting for the calf’s liver we ordered more than a month ago!

The 2014 Eat Out Zonnebloem Produce Awards winners are: (more…)