Entries tagged with “Dear Me”.


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…)

Tracy van Maaren Tracy Whale Cottage PortfolioLast night I attended the first Tracy van Maaren Wines Trade Tasting, representing a handful of select fine boutique wine estates, held at Auslese. Each of the wine estate’s wines offered for tasting was personally paired with a canapé designed by Chef Harald Bresselschmidt of Aubergine.

Tracy started her wine career by working as PA to Dana Buys at Vrede en Lust.  She then moved into the clothing industry, but regretted this move.  She returned to the wine industry, working at Jordan.  Almost nine years ago she started her company, her first wine clients being Vriesenhof, Raats, and Catherine Marshall.   She represents her clients’ wines in the ‘mid to top restaurants’ and independent retailers (e.g. Caroline’s, Wine Concepts, and Vino Pronto) in Cape Town and Stellenbosch, with Paarl and Franschhoek.

Auslese is a renovated house, available to rent for functions, about two blocks from Aubergine.  It has a smallish kitchen, and the space was cleverly used to set up tasting tables for nine brands, with Pol Roger (Churchill’s favourite champagne) represented in the entrance hall by Great Domaines’ Derek Kilpin andTracy van Maaren Pol Roger Whale Cottage Portfolio their brand new French import Morgan Delacloche.

Arriving at about 18h30, there was no crush, and one could get to easily taste the wines and food pairings, chat to the wine representatives, and to the invited guests, which included John Maytham of Cape Talk, Mark Bland of Expresso, Mandi Jarman of Aquila, Chef Vanessa Marx and her colleague  Rumby of Dear Me, Catharina’s Manager Ronel Smidt, sommelier and consultant Jörg Pfützner, John and Lynne Ford, and Mike Duggan of Wine Concepts. (more…)

Thelema Banner and candle Whale Cottage PortfolioThelema hosted a tasting of its Thelema and Sutherland brand wines for hotel and restaurant staff as well as writers at Dear Me in the city centre yesterday.  At the tasting it was announced that a Thelema MCC will be launched later this year.

We were welcomed with a glass of 1994 MCC, a once-off production, which had been made for a family wedding.  It was disgorged three years ago. Thelema was bought by Gyles Webb in 1983, then a 157 ha fruit farm. It is one of the highest and coolest wine estates in the area.  The first wines were produced in 1988. The Thelema Family Trust bought the 100 ha Sutherland farmThelema MCC Whale Cottage Portfolio in Elgin in 2002, and half of the apple orchards were replaced with vines.  The Sutherland wines are slower to ripen, being grown in the cooler climate Elgin, have more minerality, are more approachable, and can be drunk sooner. They are made at Thelema’s cellar in Stellenbosch.  Rudi Schultz has been the winemaker since 2000, with Webb the Cellarmaster. Thelema is particularly well-known for its Cabernet Sauvignon. (more…)

Going Whole Hog GWH3_LowResA communication campaign ‘Going Whole Hog‘, about the benefits of eating free-range and ethical pork, has been launched by campaign advisor Mark Fox.

The ‘Going Whole Hog‘ campaign not only communicates the health benefits of eating pasture-reared or free-range pork, where pigs graze in a paddock, and are treated better than mass-reared pigs, but also communicates the benefit of farm-to-table.

Nutritional therapist Sara Bilbe said: ‘Factory farmed pigs live in concrete cells with no outside exposure and no entertainment. Pigs are fairly intelligent animals and this lack of stimulation in these cells leads to high stress levels and therefore high illness. A naturally foraging pig would not just be feeding on grain and legumes but insects, grubs, leafy greens and grasses which are all high in omega-3 oils and would change the composition of the pork fat that we eat’.  Such naturally foraging pigs are healthier and are not force-fed to gain weight abnormally, making the pork less fatty, and healthier in that it does not contain hormones nor antibiotics.

Mass-produced pigs are fed cheap soya, corn, and grain, disadvantageous to the digestive system of a pig, which cannot stomach such large quantities of food, hence requiring antibiotics.  Pig’s feed can contain hair, skin, blood, intestines, and hooves of other dead animals. Stressed pigs release hormones, which will be contained in mass-produced bacon.   The health benefits of pasture-reared animals include its high levels of  vitamin A, D, E, and K, and omega-3’s.  Pork chops are leaner, contain less sodium, and have more vitamin B.

Pick ‘n Pay is stocking free-range pork at some of its outlets, and is raising (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  The confidence of consumers in their financial situation has reached the lowest level in 20 years, reveals the latest FNB/Bureau of Economic Consumer Confidence Index (of minus 15), reports the Cape Argus.   

*   South Africa’s Top 24 cocktail bars have been announced, and have been selected by Diageo WORLD CLASS to participate in a competition to select South Africa’s best bartender to represent our country at the Diageo Reserve WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year 2014: Asoka, Bascule, Buena Vista, Café Caprice, Casa Del Sol, Dear Me (Tjing Tjing), HQ, Vista Bar at the One&Only Cape Town, Orphanage, Piano Bar, The Maslow Hotel, The Michelangelo, Signature Restaurant, OCD, Café Della Salute, Mark Anthony at Emperor’s Palace, Elevate,  the Elangeni & Maharani, Fairmont Hotel, Harvey’s Restaurant, Private, Havana Grill, Unity Bar, and the Oyster Box Hotel. (received by media release from Communication Services Africa)

*   The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art will open in the V&A Waterfront in 2016, in the new Silo building on the Clocktower side of the Waterfront.  It will be the largest gallery in the country, with 9500 m² of space.

*   Young American travelers are becoming less brand loyal, looking for (more…)

Four & 20 Cafe via The Pretty BlogNo significant events have been planned to attract visitors to Cape Town and the Winelands this winter, and it appears to be the worst winter ever experienced by the hospitality industry in the Cape.  A surprise is the number of restaurant changes, as well as the the movement of staff  between restaurants.   Given the poor winter business, many restaurants have taken/are taking generous winter breaks. This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*    Four & Twenty Café and Pantry has opened in Wynberg

*   The Crypt Jazz Restaurant has opened below St George’s Cathedral.

*   Orphanage Cocktail Emporium is opening Orphanage Club upstairs, with 1920’s style music by live performers, later this year.

*   Cavalli restaurant on the stud farm on the R44 must be opening shortly, as Carl Habel has left the Mount Nelson Hotel as Restaurant Manager and Sommelier to join the restaurant.

*   Shake your Honey is to open in the original Madame Zingara building on Loop Street next year, after renovations commence later this year, according to an iolTravel report.  The ‘vibrant spirit of India’ is to be reflected in the 5-storey building, with a theatre, markets, restaurants, and shops.

*   Burger King has opened its (second) Tygervalley branch. Branches at Cavendish and at Grandwest are to open soon. (more…)