All posts by - rudi

Finding Burger Part 8 – It is not inside it is on top!


Wild West

 I do not think we will truly be happy, we can always find something in our burger that can be better. The last couple of months we have left the beast to be, not changing anything. It has not been because we have become complacent. It is more about the repeat experience, the set expectation. We want guest to return and have the same experience with every mouthful. So now we keep the experiments to the kitchen. This way I can eat a lot more burgers.

The only big change has been with the beef, as we try and stay true with grass fed beef, only this time we are adding Dexter, a smaller breed of cattle from Ireland. Nicole from Terra Madre brought us a sample, at first I was very sceptical as it was very lean. The colour dark and it reminded me of venison. In addition to trying different breeds we are also investigating adding a third cut to the mix, as the chuck and brisket are becoming increasingly popular in demand and in price. We have had some mixed results with the third and fourth additions. This might sound trivial, but in the end it does make difference to the end product, the texture, the mouth feel and the way it cooks.

As for the price of beef, I believe we will be in for a huge surprise later this year. The margins will get smaller and tighter. To make a good burger that one prides on self in is not a cheap trick, good quality ingredients come at a premium. The good thing about us is that we will not compromise.

I have been mulling with a new idea for some time now, after reading the article in SAVEUR- Magazine(July 2015), I saw a beautiful beast displayed on page 17, Ernest Hemingways wild-west burger. Many have written about this legendary recipe, it almost reminds me of a frikadelle. I wanted to understand it, a far cry from the burger I have been trying to perfect. I was surprised at the amount of ingredients in the patty, from India Relish to apple, cheese, MSG, celery salt to name a few. It made me think though, perhaps the answer lies in these individual seasonings and flavourings that can be used to enhance the bling.

As it is we are looking for the right pickle/chutney, the right balance of sweet, sour and spice so we are recreating our own India Relish to understand the balance, if my thought process is correct it could open the door to our chutney and pickles we are using. Then the MSG in the Mei Yen Powder, this is something I will need to look at not because of the MSG, but rather the umami it brings together. But where? Perhaps we could recreate a basting with some much umami it will drive us to edge of insanity.

Next spice used was called Beau Monde Seasoning this would also add to the more umami and savoury, unfortunately not available anywhere. We made our own, made up of celery, onion and salt with some sweetness. Other ingredients used in making the patty was ham, wine, cheddar, capers, apple, sage, garlic, egg, carrot and tomato. Sounds more like a drunk chef after a long day coming home very hungry and then squashing the pantry together as if a balanced meal between two buns was being created.

I want to create a burger based on the wild west beast but with all the ingredients stacked on top and not as part of the patty. I would probably not be the first to think of this, but we are still going to stack it up.

So how does it taste? Honestly….I do not know, slightly confusing. I like the balance of the sweet, sour and savoury all the flavours were amplified. If I was making a meatball I would most likely say it was great. As a semi purist I will stick to the pure beef patty.

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Kedgeree with trout

Serves – Depends on how hungry or hungover you are or enough for 4
No two recipes are the same. Loosely based on left-over cooked rice, spices, smoked fish and boiled eggs. Quick to make, great cure for a hangover and great for breakfast. Most recipes call for smoked haddock, as we do not get great haddock this side of the world we lightly smoked some of the tail end pieces of trout.


3 large eggs
600g Lightly smoked trout
400g cooked basmati rice
20g butter
1 tbsp grated ginger
1 clove garlic
1-2 tbsp curry powder (depends on strength
10 curry leaves (fresh if possible)
1 tbsp mustard seeds
2 chopped tomatoes
1 hand full fresh coriander , chopped
Juice from one lemon
125g plain yoghurt


Boil eggs for 7 -8 minutes and chill in ice water.
Season trout with a little curry and grill fish with a little oil, when almost cooked remove a set aside.
Place butter in sauce pan with onion, garlic, leaves and ginger, cook gently add mustard seeds then curry powder, releasing all the aromas add tomatoes with lemon juice.
Add Rice and continue to cook with lid so it can steam a little at the same time.
Add one grated egg, flaked fish – gently heat through. Top with half chopped coriander and halved eggs .
Add other half coriander into yoghurt.
Serve with limes, crisp fried onions, sliced fresh chillies and yoghurt

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Mackerel with wilted baby gem and a charred potato dressing

Crush Rudi14

Credit – Crush Online

Mackerel with wilted baby gem and a charred potato dressing

Fish choices have become a big challenge, as we are limited with choices. We try and buy responsible where possible. In many parts of the world mackerel has been fished beyond sustainable levels. We are still fortunate that we have access to mackerel for now. With an oily flesh, rich in omega-3 it make a great health choice as well as being great to cook on the open fire.

Yield: 4 people


2 whole mackerel, gutted and cleaned
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp course salt
2 large red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2 small garlic clove, finely chopped
2 tsp apricots jam
Sprigs thyme
4tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp zest

2 heads baby gem lettuce washed
2 medium potato
120 ml olive oil
60ml lemon juice
½ tsp lemon zest
4 garlic cloves roasted
Salt as needed


Score mackerel on each side

Light fire
While the fire is working, place potato straight into fire and cook until soft, remove and allow to cool slightly.
Place 4 garlic cloves in foil with some olive oil and salt and roast close to the fire until soft, remove and mash roughly, combine with salt pepper and olive oil
Remove potatoes, cut in half and scoop out warm soft potato into a bowl, put aside.

Combine all marinade and basting ingredients.
Baste fish lightly place on grill.
Cook for about 5 minutes a side, check for doneness.
Remove, spoon remaining marinade over mackerel. Leave some basting for when the fish is finished.
While it is resting place lettuce on grill. Wilt on open fire edges will burn slightly.
Combine with lightly crushed potatoes, roasted garlic, lemon, olive oil and lemon juice


If you do not have a fire cook fish under the grill.

Time the fish takes to cook will be determined by the size and thickness.

The majority of our fish comes of a green list with a small percentage coming of the orange list set up by SASSI as a guideline to assist us in making correct choices. Between customer demands, supply, the weather and the green list we are sometimes left with small amount to choose from. Yes we do make mistakes with the odd fish coming from the wrong side of the list.

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And Thank You (sounds of silence)


a good year!

The lack of good reliable chefs, the shortage of solid available skills and constant staff shortages has received a lot of coverage in the past few months. We are no different as we suffer the same as any other kitchen. Filling spaces on the line has had its challenges. Soon we will have to relook the way we cook and design menu’s. We still continue the search for that sparkle in the eye.

But this story is not about finding the right person, this is about a group of individuals going beyond the call of duty, beyond the barrier of pain. We never mention the pain and the suffering we put our families through for a cause that we sometimes struggle to fully understand. It is hard when you never spend holidays with loved ones, but instead, you apron up next to fellow chefs for another service.

Last Christmas was no different to any other before, we were fully booked in every corner of the hotel, we know what is coming, we prepare, we are prepped to the ceiling and ready cook hard, really hard. But Christmas and the week that followed in 2015 was a new character test for me and my staff.

As we settled to start service in the main kitchen, the lights went out! We counted the seconds expecting the micros to start its spluttering again. Just echoes of silence. No one panicked as we have regular power failures, this was going to routine. Instead, scribblings on paper indicating orders for the night started appearing. With minimal light, we started scrambling for torches, candles it was going to be long night. News arrived that the main breaker blew up!

By 01:00 the sounds of silence echoed through our kitchen, the humour had left our systems, nothing was funny anymore, we could not see the end. Instead we saw darkness, seeing the faces of our fellow chefs might have discouraged us even more. By 2:00 all the refrigerated trucks were loaded. The critical foods were saved. Remember this was food for a week that we had to find cold storage for as all the suppliers were closed.

We went home way after our usual late night bed time, with the adrenaline still rushing through my system, bed had to wait. With a beer in hand I still had to process.

By five most of us were back to try and salvage what was left. After all it was Christmas day.

With every shift hand over we were all hoping for power, reality had not set in, as we realise that if the power had to come back on, it will still take two days to get to fifth gear and be able to do service in all areas.

Two days after Christmas we still had nothing but candle light and gas. Food still had to be served. It was while I sat in darkness after service, I realised how special my staff were. They were all at work, they all made Festive holidays a success. Our expectations remained high, they just continue to deliver.

I do not have the words to thank my staff for the effort and dedication working by candle light, with no ovens, moving produce back and forth, no extractors or light.

Not a single person complained, they all just simply pulled together with every plate and very buffet leaving the kitchen without visible effort. Our staff hid their pain in silence, silently wishing for an end to the madness.

Thank you to my chefs, commis and scullers. You gave more than what was reasonability expected. Thank you for being part of a great team and a great family. No one disappointed! Not only was this a low point, but a high point in my life as chef.

We were only to be back to full five days later. This is the second time in my life that I have experienced a powerless Christmas, but it feels

* Special Thanks to

Wynand at Extreem Kwizeen for bring through refrigerated trucks at 12:00 at night

Kerston Foods for additional refrigerated trucks

Schmidhauser for getting the power going

Woodstock bakery for sorting us with good bread

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As winter is approaching, rain falling and the fire burning. This will warm the soul. Reminds me of Durban in Cape Town almost like a meatball Gatsby.  I was even contemplating adding cheese on top and melting it.



2 onions, peeled and finely diced
2 ea garlic, peeled chopped
1 tsp grated ginger
4 chillies, 2 chopped 2 slit down centre
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp toasted and crushed coriander seeds
1 tsp toasted and crushed cumin seeds
8 ea curry leaves
5g turmeric powder
1tbsp canola oil
1tbsp clarified butter
Water as needed
6 ea tomatoes, grated
Pinch sugar as needed
Chopped coriander

Add the onion to the oil and butter cook the onions until soft and translucent add water if it starts catch, cook away
add all spices cook another 5 minutes until the spices become fragrant
Add a little more butter if needed
Add the turmeric and curry leaves to the onions and cook the spice for a further 3-5 minutes, until fragrant
Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and mix through – cook a further 3-5 minutes, and then add tomatoes
Add water if needed
Finish with coriander

Makes about 25 -30ea
500g minced beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 chilli chopped very fine
4 slices cubed bread
¼ cup milk
1-2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground paprika
3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, finely chopped
½ tsp chopped coriander
1 tbsp fresh mint, finely chopped
½ tsp cumin powder
1tsp salt
1tsp Worchester sauce
1tsp chutney
½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp vegetable oil

Soak bread in milk add all ingredients together and combine well
Form the frikkadels into golf ball size ball and press to flatten slightly
Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and brown the meatballs on both sides or bake in oven.
Place in heated chutney to finish

6 prego rolls
150ml yoghurt
Fresh coriander
2 tomatoes sliced
Butter for rolls
Mixed vegetable atchar

Butter rolls and toast
Place tomato slices on each
Top with 5ea  Frikadelle per roll
Top with yoghurt
Picked coriander

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Roast Chicken!

RudiLi (3)

Roast Chicken

I know this is not what one would expect when ordering roast chicken. But everything is roasted and then turned into little pockets of heaven. This dish changes every now and then as we change garnishes or how the breast is cooked, but essentially it is about using every bit of the chicken, picking all the bits from the bones. We roast the breast on the crown in this edition and roast the leg and thigh. Debone the breast and gently finish in butter in a pan with sage and garlic and a hint of chili. The leg and thigh is turned into beautiful tortelloni.(My favourite thing to make and eat)

The whole dish is brought together with roasted cauliflower and cauliflower puree. Crispy bits of chicken skin is added with a little parmesan when served.

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Guanciale part five – Bucatini all’Amatriciana


The ingredients

Here we go again, so many variations, so many so called original recipes each with a very viable true original stories. But on this one I am going to stick to just tomato, guanciale and pecorino …I might consider adding wine and olive oil. This sauce is supposed to be simple, with a peasant heritage originating from the town of Amatrice. The ingredients used in the sauce is a reflection of what was available in the area. In some areas it is prepared without the addition of tomato, but it is the tomato sauce that makes it special. If you cannot get bucatini (thick spaghetti with a hole running through the centre get spaghetti.

It must be noted that in some recipes garlic and onion is added, this distracts and disguises the tomato flavour. The addition of a little black pepper needs to be added while some believe it is a little chili instead that should be added.

20ml extra-virgin olive oil
150g guanciale, cut into cubes
60ml white wine
425g whole peeled tomatoes crushed,
Freshly ground black pepper
400g dried bucatini pasta
40g grated Pecorino
40g Pecorino shaved or grated for serving

Heat the olive oil over medium heat and add guanciale, until lightly browned.
Add wine and cook until almost evaporated and pan deglazed
Add tomatoes and bring to a simmer leave the seeds, I like to add a little water or stock to help the sauce along.
Season with salt and fresh ground black pepper, add a little extra to give a bite.
Boil pasta in salted water until just short of al dente, remove and put into sauce with about 50 ml of pasta liquid.
Continue to cook in sauce until al dente, the sauce would have thickened slightly. Remove and add cheese.

Season and serve with extra cheese.


Bucatini all’Amatriciana

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The Count Down – Cape legends Inter Hotel Challenge





The Count Down – Cape legends Inter Hotel Challenge

Presenting – Nicholas Loubser (23)

In it’s fourth year, young chefs competing for a title and the most amazing prize, a three week visit to Prague to work with Executive Chef Roman Paulus in their Michelin star restaurant The Alcron.
With 21 hotels it is a tough, each candidate is to present and cook a three course meal showcasing everything he has learnt in order to have bragging right to this great prize, whish also includes prizes form Kitchen Aid, Rio Largo and Lancewood.
Nicholas has been working at Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel for the past four years as one of our in house trainees. Recently he moved away from working on the line in the main kitchen to working with his true love – the bakery! Pretty sure we can lure him back after this competition. The big cook off will be on 14,15 June. All of the best and good luck.
This year we have been partnered with Lemond winery and Monis.

Nick is working on a beautiful sea-bass starter for main course he is working on a pork knuckle and fillet combination and for dessert passion fruit and orange.

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Guanciale – Carbonara – part four – Journey with chef ‘D’


Simple Ingredients for Carbonara

For our chefs table dish we are making a home-made linguini with a Carbonara sauce, I was brought up believing that it must have smoky delicious bacon in the sauce and with-out it, it was not worth it. Of course this was bastardised form many versions of the original, probably because pancetta or guanciala was not available, but that is not the only part, as a youngster cooking in my mothers kitchen we added lots of cream, which is also an insult to this great classic, I think the only thing we got right was the addition of the egg and pepper not even the garlic and parsley I loved in the sauce was correct.

For this recipe the linguini was rolled slightly thicker so it almost resembled a spaghetti

Pecorino should be used instead of parmesan

This recipe is for four small portions

80g cubed guanciala

2 Tbsp olive oil
2 large eggs
50g grated pecorino plus extra for serving
Fresh ground black pepper
3 tbsp Cooking liquid
1 small garlic clove – at own risk
1 tsp chopped parsley – at own risk

250g home-made linguini


Bring water to boil, add salt
Over moderately high heat. Cook guanciala in olive oil until slightly coloured and fat has rendered but still soft, this is where some recipe differ as some people believe the pork must cooked until crisp. I keep the rendered fat in the pot when adding the pasta, but if you find it excessive pour some off.

Boil linguini in salted water and cook to al dente, then drain. Reserve some of the liquid.

In a bowl whisk the eggs, reserved cooking liquid add grated pecorino with black pepper

Pour linguini into pot with guanciala, remove from the heat and add the egg mixture and stir to combine thoroughly until all the pasta is coated. It is very easy to make a mess of this if done on the heat, turning the lush creaminess into scrambled eggs.

Serve immediately with extra helping of pecorino and pepper and enjoy


We present- Carbonara!

Next we will have to make another sauce, that demands the addition guanciala, a simple sauce not disguised with herbs, onion and garlic – Amatriciana




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Ross the bearded man


and he is back, taking a break from climbing mountains. Last time we saw Ross was when he brought us porcini, this time beautiful chestnuts. With autumn in full swing the season just starting, they will feature all over for the next two months, but the best is still toasted over an moderate open fire or roasted. These sweet Spanish chestnuts have a beautiful soft texture once toasted. Last night we featured them as part of a vegan menu where we normally would have used a cashew cream we made a chest nut puree. Tonight we are looking at doing a candied version with a seared duck starter.


April 2012 108







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