* This article first appeared in PRIME Magazine
With wine and dining experiences a dime a dozen, travel journalist Jared Ruttenberg picks three enticing new experiences to taste your way through.
Chef and Guests, Countrywide
Over the pandemic, limited access to our favourite restaurants meant many South Africans found innovative ways to elevate their home dining experiences. Perfecting this experience is Chef and Guests – an initiative bringing fine dining chefs into people’s homes.
Once you visit the website and have selected your city, the next step is the scroll through the available chefs – listed by their cuisine specialities – and then simply choose the menu of your choice. The chef then arrives, sets everything up, presents the meal, and even cleans up everything afterwards. It really is that simple.
Deciding to give the service a go, I invited seven friends over for dinner at a beautiful Cape Town home overlooking the ocean. We were privileged to have ex-La Colombe chef Chris De Jongh, who brought our table alive with his molecular gastronomy. Five courses of fine dining flowed effortlessly from the kitchen, and with such finesse around the presentation, we couldn’t help strolling over the kitchen a few times and watching the creativity unfold.
Managing director Philippe Alamazani is rightfully proud of what he’s achieved: “Over the past three and a half years our talented chefs have cooked for more than 7,000 food lovers and served more than 30,000 dishes. We are also thankful to have created more than 80 indirect jobs for chefs since launching”. The service is available across seven towns in South Africa and there’s even a voucher option to gift a culinary experience. chefnguests.co.za
Klein Goederust, Franschhoek
With a plethora of wine estates surrounding Franschhoek, on a recent visit, I decided to ditch my favourites for something new. Spotting a name on the map I hadn’t seen before, I set my GPS and was off to visit one of the newest kids on one of the country’s oldest winemaking blocks.
Klein Goederust is barely a few months old and arriving knowing very little, I discovered a story that several times, had me in tears. The estate is Franschhoek’s first 100% black-owned winery, with owner Paul and winemaker Rodney being the powerhouse team that is breaking the narrative of ‘once a farmworker always a farmworker’.
Chef Linda, or “Aunty Linda” as she is affectionately called, is the wonder woman behind Klein Goederust’s restaurant and came out of retirement for the task. “In heart and soul I’m a plaasjapie and knowing Paul and Rodney’s parents and having worked with them, I know first-hand that they are well brought up men who share the same background as me.”
And the wine? Simply fabulous. Visit their tasting room on the R45 and try their wooded Chenin, and if they haven’t all been snapped up, a bottle of the MCC. kleingoederust.co.za
Storyboard Events, Cape Town
Bring together two chefs and an event director, and then throw in a heap of creativity and you’ve got Storyboard Events. The trio of Darren Badenhorst, Callan Austin, and Thomas Pryor are the creators of the company which curates interactive and experiential events – which are much more than just food.
Most recently their ‘Dining in a Silent World’ at the Two Oceans Aquarium featured an 11-course menu, themed around ocean preservation and sustainability, all with the backdrop of the aquarium’s exquisite exhibits. Guests were equally wowed when the team hosted a two-night pop-up restaurant in collaboration with Masterchef SA Winner 2022 Shawn Godfrey.
One of the chefs is Callan Austin, the talented young South African who I had the privilege of watching win the San Pellegrino Young Chef Academy 2019/2021 Social Responsibility Award in Milan last year. Shortly after, I asked his reflections on the competition and taking home the prize: “It was humbling realising that I was now a member of the world’s next generation of influential chefs, that have a responsibility to create positive change in our industry.”
If the success of the first few events is anything to go by, Callan and co are most certainly on the right path. Follow their social media for enticing future events – or contact the team to dream up your own event. storyboardevents.co.za