Where would chefs be without gardens? Join them in celebrating the soil
Celebrating gardens and all that grows in them
‘Farm-to-fork’ and ‘seasonal’ are very much in the culinary spotlight these days, with dishes showcasing the bounty of nature. But gardens are not just for feeding us – they make us happier, healthier, more grounded, creative and compassionate, and also bring communities together. Garden Day on 21 October sprouted from an idea to encourage South Africans to get together and enjoy their gardens – it’s not about the act of gardening but enjoying the space.
‘Using produce from our own garden has added a lovely dimension to our restaurants,’ says Bertus Basson, this year’s Garden Day ambassador and one of several chefs who have joined the initiative. He will host a homegrown feast at his house in Stellenbosch – site of the ‘Jamestown’ garden which supplies all six of his restaurants. The meal is R750 pp, in aid of Animal Welfare; email@example.com.
(Or try his latest eatery, Eike, opened in August.)
Elsewhere in Stellenbosch, Luke Grant and Jess Shepherd of Table at De Meye started their garden in 2015, and let the produce determine what’s on the menu at their famous threecourse set lunches under the trees. On Garden Day they will be celebrating spring, with new vegetables, edible flowers, the interesting use of herbs, strawberries and ‘hopefully some rhubarb’. The garden has been a challenge due to the drought, says Jess, ‘but nature is so resilient. A few weeks of good rainfall this winter has brought everything back to life.’ The meal costs R355 pp. 072-696-0530
• For events and ideas, see gardenday.co.za. See getaway.co.za for a list of garden restaurants.
A week later, in the Overberg, there will be 15 glorious landscapes to enjoy at Elgin Open Gardens, from indigenous and woodland gardens to formal rose gardens and Wildekrans’s sculpture-filled space. Many will offer tea and cake, picnics or other treats – including a pizza and wine pairing at Lothian Vineyards, fresh oysters at Almenkerk and country tapas at South Hill. 27–28 October and 3–4 November. elginopengardens.co.za
ABOVE Chef Bertus Basson grows his own produce.