Although I qualified as an army chef way back in 1975 and did not pursue this field as a career, the experience did instil an understanding and appreciation of the challenges that chefs face when preparing and presenting various types of cuisine.  My food writing style tends to be more descriptive than critical, although I don’t shy away from criticism where due.

Epicurean Edutainment: Tonka Bean & Merlot

Labelled as ‘1ON19’, the Executive Chef of ON19 Restaurant at The Westin Cape Town Hotel, Stephen Mandes, presented a monthly 5-course menu focussing on one single ingredient paired with one particular cultivar sourced from vineyards across South Africa’s Western Cape province. Chef Mandes’ choice of tonka beans as the primary menu ingredient is certainly different, and perhaps even controversial. As a food ingredient, tonka beans have been illegal in the US since 1954. The controversy around tonka beans – a seed obtained from cumaru trees (aka Brazilian teak) – lies in its chemical isolate ‘coumarin’, which in large infused doses can cause haemorrhages, liver damage, or even paralysis of the heart…

Read more · 8 min read

Farm to Fork: Sustainable Dining at Hotel Verde 

The Nuovo Restaurant at Hotel Verde, near Cape Town International Airport, is the perfect place to grab a wholesome “Farm to Fork” meal – especially if you’re an eco-conscious traveller. Showcasing its menu to guests at a private function, Nuovo’s Executive Chef, Adrian Shreuder, and his “green” team presented a seven-course tasting during the restaurant’s weekly Earth Hour. Delectable and beguiling are two words that best describe the taste experience. But there’s more to this story than just the taste. What lies behind the food procurement and preparation is equally fascinating. In summary, Nuovo aims to create fresh, simple, delicious, locally-sourced dishes from conception to the final product, whilst staying true to sustainable and local influences.

Read more · 5 min read

5-Stars for 6 Senses at Grootbos

In South Africa there are ample hospitality establishments who provide 5-star accommodation combined with matching cuisine, but very few who excel in catering to all 6 experiential senses. Grootbos Private Nature Reserve successfully capitalises on all six senses with unobtrusive style. Grootbos boasts two outstanding restaurants (one at Forest Lodge and the other at Garden Lodge). This is where Executive Chef, Benjamin Conradie, and his extensive team reign supreme and create contemporary world-class dishes prepared with home-grown organic ingredients. The gastronomical five-course dinner, which is reinvented daily, is paired with a wine menu selected from local cellars that reflect the essence of the Cape region and its people. 

Read more · 10 min read