All posts by - rudi

Fedhasa Cape Sustainable Restaurant Cook-off Champion 2019

The Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (FEDHASA) recently challenged members to a cook off in partnership with WWF-SASSI in a mystery box cook-off that was held at Cape Town Hotel School in Granger Bay.

We have championed sustainable fish choices for years, it has been a challenge we have had with ourselves, at one point I asked SASSI to remove me form their trailblazer list, as we could not follow the list 100%. We made mistakes, not often, but we felt guilty. After discussions with SASSI our minds were put to rest, as it is not following the list 100%, but rather working at making better choices over all, educating others in making better choices. We are still saddened when we see all the crayfish leave or shores to foreign destinations, tourism suffers from this.

In our kitchen we have adopted the same traffic light system used by SASSI (South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative) instead of following the guidelines by SASSI our policy and guidelines provide guidance in terms of how much green, orange or red listed species we are allowed to buy in a calendar year. It also gives us guidance in how much fish may be imported. We have included the importance of buying only MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) approved suppliers if we buy from abroad.

Within our guidelines we have given ourselves room for mistakes, as species are sometimes mistakenly labelled, we have also in the past used fish when we have had no other choices from the red list, but we have within our policy allowed for less than one percent of our yearly purchases for this.

The objective for the cook off that was to create awareness around sustainable food choices and to cook creatively with using basic ingredients supplied. Chefs are the driving force in making the decision on what is placed on menus, these choices ultimately influence consumers. If consumers are informed, then chefs will make better choices.
With this cook off each captain was given a team of chefs they have never worked with before and a challenging selection of fish to work with, frozen hake, frozen half shell mussels, frozen calamari rings, frozen sliced smoked salmon. Initially we were thrown by the frozen selection, but then the thought downed on me, what if this is the only choices we have in the future…
With only 45min we were given the task of coming up with a great dish showcasing our talents but also highlighting sustainable choices.
As we did not know each other, you do not know the strengths of the members, we were lucky as our team quickly established duties and tasks, we clicked and we could decide on a basic menu and strategy.
As the items were previously frozen we had to come up with a dish that would mask the frozen fish.
For the hake we made a flavoured brine with fennel, pepper corns and ginger. The hake was left to brine for 10 minutes before dusting the skin in flour and sesame and pan frying in butter with garlic, ginger and chili.
The mussels were removed from the shells and added to a curry sauce with calamari and offcuts of hake. The smoked salmon was mixed with spinach, cream cheese and put into a tortellini and tossed in butter to finish.TEAM SASSI FEDHASASASSI FEDHASA COOK OFF

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WASTED 9 – Smoked Trout Cheese Cake

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I have previously touched on the waste of fish as well as trout. This is an extension of some further investigation with a lot of trials. We have some beautiful farmed seatrout from the west coast, as we have a fair amount of flesh left after filleting. We started looking at different options, previously we used the meat we scraped of the bones for a tartare.

We have smoked the fish of cuts before but needed an idea where the fish could be used not in small amounts, but all of it. We needed an application where the demand would be greater than the waste produced. In this recipe we cured the fish on the bone then smoked it on the bone, removing the meat after it has cooled. 

At the same time we were working different ideas for afternoon tea, we were looking at adding a second fish item to the savoury selection. As the marriage between cream cheese and smoked salmon works well, the idea for a savoury cheeses cake started. Not something new as there are many recipes using the prime cut of hot smoked salmon or cold smoked salmon. The application of using off cuts off hot smoked trout pieces made a lot of sense, nice looking pieces are not required as it would be flaked into the mix before baking.

Hot smoked trout and dill cheesecake was introduced onto the savoury tea selection!

In the picture we I also looked at the possibility for a starter in the future with fennel, capers and dune spinach.

 

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The Golden Vine Award at De Wetshof and the Celebration of Chardonnay, 9 November 2018.

Every second year we look forward to a day of chardonnay, it is not an ordinary day because everything else gets cancelled to ensure attendance, and only a hand full of people get invited from the food and wine industry.

The day is filled with celebration, and for good reason, chardonnay of course.

Two years ago I had one of the best tasting experiences ever, as the part of that day older vintages were celebrated. With a 1997 Thelema Chardonnay and a 1993 De Wetshof Finesse Chardonnay, these did not only stand out, they were notable because these wines aged beautifully and tasted far beyond my expectation. These wines still showed freshness and complexity.

I could not wait to return.

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Tanya Liebenberg, Danie De Wet, Louise Jardine, Wine Fairy, Rudi Liebenberg and George Jardine

This year was no different as the panel of wine makers each shared stories about the vine, the soil and chardonnay. We tasted fantastic chardonnays with the panel going through four flights for breakfast. With stories of the Judgement of Paris from key note speaker Steven Spurrier, this was a highlight, the man is a legend. We then continued with the remaining 28 chardonnay choices for lunch. The problem is that one never gets to taste all.

This year was made even more special as I was the recipient of the 2018 Golden Vine Award, an honour bestowed on a leading South African chef during the De Wetshof Celebration of Chardonnay. Awarded to a chef for his or her contribution to the country’s cuisine in the food and wine legacy.

I am humbled by this award and being associated with the De Wetshof family as well as the celebration of chardonnay with good food.

Johann De Wet with Rudi Liebenberg

Johann De Wet with Rudi Liebenberg

“Since the advent of the Celebration of Chardonnay 14 years ago, the Golden Vine Award has become known as one of the industry’s leading honours. To have it bestowed on at one of the country’s leading wine events is a highlight in my career.”

Previous recipients of the Golden Vine include Garth Stroebel, Luke Dale-Roberts, Peter Veldsman and Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen.

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The JHP Gourmet Guide 2019. One plate award.

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For the third year we have been included in the JHP Guide 2019, and for the second year we have retained our one plate rating at the chefs table. When we talk about having guests in our kitchen it is bringing them into our happy space, and it shows. It is about the stories and the passion when the young chefs talk about the food when they present each dish, you are in their home.

View From Kitchen with space for 15

This year the JHP Gourmet Guide featured 25 restaurants, each receiving a plate rating. Four restaurants receiving three plate award, 8 two plate award with 13 restaurants receiving one plate rating.

We are once again proud of our team for the one plate rating for excellent cuisine. Congratulations to my Chefs Table Team for the contribution towards serving great food and maintain a high standard.

One plate rating award is given to restaurants for excellent cuisine.

Two plates, for exceptional dining that demands a detour.

Three plates – awarded for world-class destination dining worthy of a flight, was awarded to four restaurants which included The Greenhouse, La Colombe, Restaurant Mosaic and the The Test Kitchen.

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WASTED 8 – Cauliflower Tempura

 

Cauliflower Stalks, ribs and leaves

Cauliflower Stalks, ribs and leaves

We will always have enough cauliflower off cuts to have a dedicated menu for just “the cauliflower”
As cauliflower likes to be fried this was going to be easy, lightly salted in tempura batter crispy fried. Some of the pieces are going to be stringy…but that is also ok.
Served with a slice of lemon and home made roasted garlic aioli.

Cauliflower Tempura

Cauliflower leaves
Cauliflower ribs cut into strips
Cauliflower stalks sliced thinly

Simple batter
4 tbsp plain flour
4 tbsp rice flour
Salt/Pepper as needed
Soda water as needed (ice cold)

Cauliflower Tempura

Cauliflower Tempura

 

 

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#Fromthepass – Parsley Crusted Seabass

Parsely Crusted Seabass

Every now and then we put a dish on the menu that shines, this is perfect example of everything coming in perfect harmony “This dish is the best example of simplicity, the essence is built around the fish and sauce which enhance each other in the most harmonious way possible. There’s something about a dish that is solely based on shades of one colour, it simply looks artfully irresistible, and I LOVE IT” chef Dion 

The Mauritian seabass is roasted with a delicate parsley crust, it is served with a lemon butter emulsion and braised fennel

 

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Finding Burger Part 17! New York New York!

My Favourite New Burger

My Favourite New Burger

Going back to New York meant I could continue my journey in finding the perfect burger, it also meant checking in with my previous favourite burger to see if it was still number one.

I did fail as I could only fit in four burgers on my trip, two were revisits. The spotted pig and db bistro moderne.

At db bistro moderne I revisited the original DB burger and at the spotted pig I had the Chargrilled Burger with Roquefort Cheese & Shoestring Fries. Two things happened, I had a new favourite and simplicity rules.

I did have other burgers on my trip, but they did not stand up to these two favourites.

We arrived too late for lunch and too early for dinner, we had no booking, very hungry and had covered way to many miles by foot when we arrived at the spotted pig. We negotiated a bar counter seat and ordered a Flying Dog Pale Ale. With a paper next to me opened on sports page, I was reminded how the Mets sank to a new low the previous day, Blank! I still had a good day at the Mets stadium.

We ordered Chargrilled Burger with Roquefort and another beer. It was as simple as that soft bun, burger and Roquefort, it was that simple. No elaborate garnishes, salads, lettuces or pickles.

Toasted soft bun, chargrilled burger topped with Roquefort with lots of shoe string fries. It was simply delicious, great rich meaty flavour that was right blend of meat and fat. The Roquefort worked with the pure beef patty almost to well. Here is three ingredients each made and cooked perfectly, it was that simple. We have some work to do.

Db burger is still part of my favourites list and I will have it again on my next trip.

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#Fromthepass – Asian Style Duck Breast

Asian Duck with Steamed Dumpling

In this weeks #fromthepass Dion draws inspiration from a recent to Singapore and the most unlikeliest source, water spinach. Mostly served as side dish in Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore “I fell in love with this side dish called morning glory, it is a green leafy vegetable, if I had to describe the taste it would be like marrying a spring onion and baby spinach. Stir fried with Thai red chili, whole smashed young garlic and fish sauce, the sauce the greens were in reminded me of oyster sauce, WOW! pure umami, every meal I ordered a side of morning glory” With this dish at the chefs table Dion quickly cooked the broccoli with chili and garlic with a touch of oyster sauce, served with duck breast and a steamed dumpling.

 

 

 

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#fromthepass – Trout Tartare

Tartare Trout

Trout tartare

The chefs table gives us an opportunity to experiment and play, in this weeks #fromthepass Dion has brought to the playground, cured egg yolks and rice crackers, which was is the main inspiration for this dish. “I recently cured an egg yolk with seaweed and miso, the flavour is indescribable as it has such a unique character to it, a character that actually needs a raw fish preparation in order to give its full respect, I decided to use sea trout due to its deep ocean flavours. I thought the idea was great, eating tartare with  sesame rice cracker”

To finish of the Dion served it with a carrot kimchi and cucumber salad to accompany the delicate but strong flavours of the salmon and egg yolk.

 

 

 

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Mothers Day in Oasis

Sunday Roast

Sunday Roast In Oasis

Give mother the day off, this Sunday at the Oasis buffet we have almost everything needed to make sure mom, gran do not have to lift a finger, catering for all tastes. Starting with a cold buffet that has fresh oysters, prawns, smoked salmon and sushi. The salad selection is vast with lots including options to create one own Caesar with excess the way one normally would. Mediterranean mezze, tarts and charcuterrie for all tastes.
On the hot buffet we have the essential fix with Yorkshire pudding with that all time Sunday favourite, Mike Maliti’s oxtail, with roast lamb and beef, to make sure we leave very little for dessert. And if there is space waffles with ice cream or strawberry pavlova.
And if you must some warm malva pudding with some more ice cream to round the afternoon off.

restaurantreservations.mnh@belmond.com or 021 483 1948

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