Entries tagged with “Durban”.


MasterChef 3 9 9 Finalits Whale CottageLast night MasterChef SA continued with more boring viewing, the simple task of the Invention Test being to make a MasterChef Chicken MasterPiece, using the whole chicken, including the giblets! It was surprising how poorly this challenge was executed.  Penny Fitchet won the Invention Test with her Coq au Vin, while Claire Allen was sent home.  It was shocking to see how casually Reuben Robertsons Riffel was dressed, with a crumpled pair of slacks and a round neck jersey, while his colleague judges Pete Goffe-Wood and Benny Masekwameng looked smartly dressed and professional!  Riffel was filmed with his hands in his pants MasterChef 3 9 Judgespockets too!  Shocking was the spelling errors in the M-Net media release!

Having returned back to the MasterChef SA kitchen at Nederburg, after having spent some time (and two episodes in Durban, Umhlanga, and Ixopo), the Finalists appeared happy to be back ‘home’ in their kitchen. On each cooking station was a black apron, with each contestant’s name embroidered on it.  The contestants had 90 minutes to prepare their chicken dishes, transforming the ‘common chicken‘ to a MasterChef chicken MasterPiece, Riffel said.  They enjoyed (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The second Cape Wine Auction will be held at Boschendal on 14 February 2015.  Last year the inaugural Auction raised R 7 million.

*   Uber launched UberCHOPPER today, partnering with Cape Town Helicopters, bookable on the Uber App.  An UberBLACK vehicle will collect one from one’s destination, and drive one to the V&A Helipad.  Three flight options are available:  Two Oceans, covering both the Atlantic Seaboard and False Bay; Cape Peninsula, covering the V&A down to the Cape of Good Hope; and customised tours such as to the Winelands, whale-watching, and shark-cage diving.  There is a maximum of three passengers per ride. (received via media release from Uber Cape Town)

*   The 2014 Sport and Events Tourism Exchange commences in Durban in two weeks. Large events are vital for the tourism (more…)

MasterChef 3 8 Three Judges and RobertsonsCan Robertsons be any more dominant in MasterChef SA than in last night’s episode 8?  We have renamed MasterChef SA MasterRobertsons, as the hard sell of the spice brand in this Season 3 is becoming laughable!  One wonders how judges Benny Masekwameng and Pete Goffe-Wood (note his grumpy look in the M-Net publicity shot) must feel to have to push the brand, not an issue which Reuben Robertsons Riffel loses any sleep about, having cashed in on the spice brand for the past three years, thereby losing any credibility he may have previously had as a chef!

The episode started with the Blue Team, which lost the Team Challenge in episode 7.  Filmed on an interesting looking bridge in Umhlanga, directly at the ocean, the five Finalists Penny Fitchet, Refilwe Tselanyane, Roxi Wardman, Francois Zietsman, and Sipho Mdlankomo watching as Chef Benny was wheeled onto the bridge in a rickshaw, clutching a cloche, which he ceremoniously opened to reveal a Bean Curry Bunny Chow.  On the table surrounding the typical Durban dish was a collection of about 20 Robertsons spices and herbs, each MasterChef 3 8 Bean curry Bunny Chow MasterChefcovering a board with a black or a white sticker.  The task of the five Finalists was to each identify one of 15 spices and herbs in the BunnyMasterChef 3 8 Blue Team Whale Cottage Chow, just from tasting it.  The Finalists each drew a wooden cooking spoon with a number on it, to determine the order in which they had to identify the ingredients.  The Robertsons collection stood on a table with the ultimate kitsch tablecloth, in a bright orange, looking like rosettes.  Riffel clearly did not take History at school, confusing the role of Durban and Cape Town in linking our country to the East!

It was said by Riffel that the pressure would be on Roxi to identify the spices (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Air France and kulula.com have created a codeshare agreement, allowing passengers to connect with Air France from a number of domestic airports in checking in their luggage, and doing their own one-stop check-ins.  Premium Air France passengers will be able to use the SLOW Lounges at Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg airports.

*   In a bid to protect the rhinos in the Kruger National Park from poaching, it is offering for sale groups of 20 white rhinos or more.   In the past year 1000 rhinos were poached, the rhinos in the Kruger Park being the main target.

*   Michael Bublè is coming back to Cape Town on 19 March, but his concert will be held one night only, and at the Cape (more…)

Hayden Quinn Durben Joe's shop curry Whale CottageIt was the last episode of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ last night, going full circle in Hayden having surfed off Muizenberg in episode 1, and doing so as well in Umhlanga in episode 13 last night.   It was a shame that Hayden chose to end off his endorsement for Woolworths’ sustainability program by playing silly games with two pieces of Naan bread and stick out his tongue, a photograph placed on the programme series’ Facebook page.

Hayden visited a hydroponic cucumber farm Qutom Farms outside Durban, which supplies Woolworths. They catch rain water, and therefore they have not had to use external water for more than two years.  The plants are grown in glasshouses with covering over the roofs to allow the staff to adapt the amount of light shining ontoHayden Quinn 13 Durban Derek Cucumbers Whale Cottage the cucumber plants.  Derrick Baird, Director of Qutam Farms, said that the hydroponic farm ‘is a little bit of Europe here in South Africa’.  They also use solar heating for the plant, generating about 220 kw per day.  The plants are grown in cocopeat instead of in soil.   A fine mist is sprayed if it gets too hot. No pesticides are used, allowing Hayden to eat a crunchy cucumber without having to wash it.

The Victoria Spice Market in Durban is known as the best place in which to buy curry spices.  Viewers were (more…)

Veritas Wine top achieversKWV, Spier, and Nederburg are our country’s top three wine estates based on the number of Double Gold and Gold Awards they received at the 2014 Veritas Awards Gala Dinner at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on Saturday evening, making up almost half the 51 Double Gold awards. The Veritas Awards are viewed as the ‘Oscars of the South African wine industry‘, with close to 1800 wines entered, a slight decrease on the number of 2013 entries.

KWV was announced as the Best Wine Producer for the fourth year running, and increased its Double Gold awards from four last year to seven this year.  KWV also won 2 Double Golds for its Brandy.  Spier has greatly enhanced its Veritas performance, with 7 Double Gold awards, compared to only one last year. Nederburg increased its Double Gold tally from four last year to six.  Flagstone won Best Performer in the less than 10 wines entered category, and the KWV won in the 11+ wines entered category.

Four wine industry legends Danie de Wet of De Wetshof, Diaan de Villiers, Professor Diko van Zyl (author of historical works on (more…)

MasterChef 7 Red and Blue TeamsLast night’s episode 7 of MasterChef SA was a Team Challenge, the ten remaining contestants divided into two groups of five, the Red team led by Philippa Robinson and the Blue Team by Penny Fitchet.  It was the most boring episode ever in the three seasons of MasterChef SA.

The ten contestants were flown to Durban (very wasteful, as the Team Challenge could just as easily have been done at Tsogo Sun hotels in Cape Town).  The contestant teams were seen walking along the Golden Mile, with many tourist hotels.  They arrived at the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani Hotel, having to cook in their The Grill Jichana restaurant kitchen. The hotel serves the largest number of guests of all hotels in the country, Chef Benny Masekwameng told the contestants.  The judges of their meal were invited guests, being the most long-standing waiters at the hotel, as well as at some other restaurants, their collective experience exceeding 400 years, with a consultant who does staff training. Some of the waiter guests had served Queen Elizabeth and other members of the Royal Family. Each team had to choose the best person to prepare the meat, fish, the chips, onion rings and sides, to manage the pass, to play waitress, and to prepare the sauces at the table, using a Flambé and Gueridon trolley, with a gas hob, chopping board, and cutlery drawer.

Penny’sMasterChef 7 Guest judges Blue Team consisted of Roxi Wardman, Refilwe Tselanyane, Francois Zietsman, and Sipho Mdlankomo, while Philippa’s Red Team was Ian Young, Claire Allen, Mel Sutherland, and Abigail Mbalo.  Penny was praised for being a teacher, standing her in good stead to lead her team. Chef Pete Goffe-Wood explained the use of the trolley, likening it to a ‘theatrical production‘: ‘Gueridon Service is a celebration of the theatre of food. You’re right at the table making food in front of your guests. It’s going to test you to your limits today’. (more…)

FitChef Mediterranean fresh veg Whale CottageLast night I was invited to the first media launch in the country of FitChef, a new service of healthy meals and smoothies delivered into one’s home, as per one’s chosen mealplan.  A range of options is offered, including Banting/LCHF, detox and weight loss, vegetarian, and wellness. More than 50000 meal portions and 35000 smoothies are sold around the country monthly.

Developed by founder Wayne Kaminsky, who told us that he was a superfit fitness fanatic sportsman, participating in Ironman and Cape Epic challenges, and needing to find a more healthy eating pattern to lose weight.  He was using antibiotics, and could let them go when the benefits of the ‘clean eating’ came to the fore.  He moved more and more to healthy foods which he enjoyed cooking, making a batch of portions over weekends, and finding them selling well when he posted photographs of them on Facebook.  He started FitChef three years ago, and the Cape region was opened a year ago.  Wayne has tremendous energy, and his food preparation skills were impressive, preparing our dinner simultaneously at 10 food stations, at each of which a different dish was prepared.  He had prepared some of the dishes, and talked us through each food preparation station, each containing a different set of ingredients for a dish to be made. I noticed that a lot of ingredients came from Woolworths, but Wayne said that they prefer to use Pick ‘n Pay products. I questioned Wayne about his use of some Robertsons products, and he said that it was just for our dinner, and that they use fresh herbs in the factory food preparation. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Chef Roger Jones of Michelin star restaurant The Harrow in Little Bedwyn in the UK,  is set to pop-in and pop-up at a number of dining events in the Cape in January next year.  He will be seen in action at the Vineyard Hotel on 9 January, offering a 6-course dinner with a South African and Australian premium wine pairing.  He will also be at 96 Winery Road with Ken Forrester and other top local winemakers, and is doing a ‘foraging dinner’ with Adi Badenhorst. The chef is known for his wine knowledge as well as cooking skills.

*   Low-cost Condor airline will increase it direct flights between Cape Town and Frankfurt from two to three a week from 6 November.

*   Wesgro and Cape Town NPC, the company organising World Design Capital 2014 for Cape Town, will present Cape Town’s design industry at 2014 Vienna Design Week from 26 September – 5 October.  Local designer Heath Nash will represent Cape (more…)

Hayden Quinn 11 Midlands More Cows

It was ironic that episode 11 of ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ last night focused on the Natal Midlands, and that a large part of the half-hour episode focused on farmer Kevin Lang’s Fairfield Dairy Ayrshire farm, given our Blogpost yesterday about the new defensive Woolworths ‘Good Food News’ supplement in the Sunday Times.  

The episode started off with Hayden having a cooling swim near the Howick Falls, which have a 105 meter drop.  Once refreshed, he met Chef Jackie Cameron, then Executive Chef of Eat Out Top 10 restaurant at Hartford House, but who has left toHayden Quinn 11 Midlands Jackie and Hayden at Market Whale Cottage establish her Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine, which opens in Hilton in January.  Chef Jackie was identified as a WWF-SASSI Trailblazer Chef.  They met at the Karkloof Market, which is just outside Hayden Quinn 11 Midlands Rob SymonsHowick, and here Jackie introduced Hayden to farmer Rob Symons of Broadleaze Organics, offering unusual herbs such as Vietnamese coriander. Dutch cheesemaker MJ Mook of Just Cheese introduced Hayden to and allowed him to taste her special cheeses.  The market seemed a jolly space, with fresh vegetables, herbs, meat, flowers, cheeses, and more. (more…)