At the time we had not operated for long enough under the Lord Nelson name to receive a plate award. But we have managed to make some noise and got noticed. We received this beautiful Haute Property Award based on potential. People come to celebrate a true sense of occasion with table side service and a reawakening of some classics. Congratulations to a wonderful team.
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
Yesterday was a truly special day, so I have replaced this week’s post on kimchi with this short story .
We prepared our first wasted lunch at the chefs table yesterday, with all the dishes prepared from rejected, wasted and shunned produce. Five courses of pure genius from my team. I think the most important message is that nothing was new, but the level of respect for the ingredient was evident, food has become cheap and we have forgotten how to use everything, forgotten how to cook like we should, everyone can take the best parts and be creative. But the unwanted always suffer. With the menu we served some homemade kombucha and pineapple cordial. We started the lunch with “all things crispy “ from leaves to skin and tendons served with whipped beef fat flavoured with mushroom powder. The next course was made up with using the outer leaves from lettuce to make a cold soup served with charred leek picked from the greener parts. The fish course was beautiful and fresh, a tartare of trout scraped and removed from all the bones with a tempura of confit trout removed from the collar finished with a pickled lemon skin salsa.
The chicken course should read carcase and spaghetti, but what we served was a parcel made from blended spaghetti made into a dough filled with meat from the roasted carcase in a chicken veloute. With some crispy bits skins from chicken skin and parmesan skin.
Dessert was simply orange rind that essentially was made into a marmalade and then turned into a ice cream served on a croissant pudding.
Look out for a truly remarkable experience at our chef’s table only on Saturdays for lunch where we will be showcasing a wasted menu and sharing experiences and stories from and in our kitchen.
Kom ons Braai! (lets BBQ)
Last season we featured a BBQ menu on Saturdays at the Oasis. As we liked it so much we have continued this season with this very “lekker” idea. Cooking from the fire with the required braai staples like, vetkoek, braai broodtjies, snoek, potjie with mussels or oxtail, biltong, boerewors, ribs, peri-peri chicken, rib eye and corn on the cob. We have not skipped on the cold selection which is a meal of its own that requires a person to slow down, relax and enjoy a very long extended lunch sipping on an ice cold craft beer.
As long as the weather plays along there will be smoke and fire every Saturday until the end of April.
Price is set at R395
For further information or to make a booking please phone (021) 483-1000 and ask for restaurant reservations or e-mail: email@example.com
Starting tomorrow, fifth year Anniversary! October 19th – November 5th 2017.
This years menu
Starters, Beef carpaccio with twist, we have added some extra beefy bits with crispy fried beef tendons and pulled oxtail fried in a pokora batter served with a spiced chick pea puree.
For the main course we are serving a poached sea bass with coal cooked potatoes and a mussel velouté, with seaweed and grilled tender stem broccoli.
and to finish we have combined a couple of interesting flavours with popcorn, miso, Tonka beans and sencha tea.
R400 per person, for more information go online at http://www.restaurantweek.co.za
In its 5th year the awards evening was held at the Southern Sun Cape Sun.
With a room filled with hoteliers, chefs and sommeliers from the Hotel industry.
We are proud to announce to – Best Main Course: Marcas Hendry from “Belmond Mount Nelson”
Marcas Hendry is of Scottish and Irish decent. He is only just starting his career in the culinary industry at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel. He grew up traveling South East Asia with his mother and it was there that he fell in love with food and the emotions it evokes and inspires. He says “Every time I cook, I seek to recreate the sensory enlightenment once experienced as a child with no love for anything other than pasta and Heinz tomato sauce. I hope one day to be able to open the minds of others to the awe-inspiring nature of good food in my own way.”
Togara Mabharani knows no end. This is the fourth time Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel has won the “Best Bread” category .
Togara has magic hands. Congratulations once again.
This year he impressed with a both traditional selection but also a display of sour dough gluten free breads.
Thank you once again to the kind sponsors – Kitchen Aid for recognising our baker and our beautiful bread.