Stel­len­bosch takes on the ‘food cap­i­tal’

Will Fran­schhoek lose its crown?

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - NEWS - RE­BECCA JACK­MAN

THE ta­ble is laid for the bat­tle of Stel­len­bosch ver­sus Fran­schhoek to­mor­row night, when the Eat Out DStv Food Net­work Restau­rant Awards take the stage.

The Stel­len­bosch wine route – which stretches along the R44 be­tween Stel­len­bosch and Som­er­set West – is hand­somely rep­re­sented, with nine of the 20 nom­i­na­tions for the hon­our of be­ing named one of the top 10 restau­rants.

Cam­phors at Vergele­gen, where chef PJ Var­gas is in the kitchen, and the restau­rant at Waterk­loof Wine Es­tate, headed by Gregory Czar­necki, are both in Som­er­set West.

En route to Stel­len­bosch are Rust en Vrede with John Shut­tle­worth at the helm, De­laire Graff Restau­rant and In­do­chine, both on De­laire Graff wine es­tate and run by Chris­ti­aan Camp­bell and Vir­gil Khan re­spec­tively, and Ber­tus Bas­son’s Over­ture at Hid­den Val­ley Es­tate.

And in Stel­len­bosch it­self are Jor­dan Restau­rant, where Ge­orge Jar­dine serves up fine cui­sine, Makaron with Tanja Kruger in the kitchen, and Tokara, headed by worl­drenowned Richard Carstens.

The nine will be tak­ing on the sup­posed “gourmet cap­i­tal” of Fran­schhoek, which has just four nom­i­na­tions – Bread and Wine, The Kitchen at Mai- son, Pierneef à la Motte and The Tast­ing Room.

Also en route to Stel­len­bosch – but not in this year’s awards af­ter be­ing a win­ner for nine con­sec­u­tive years – is Ter­roir at Kleine Zalze Wine Es­tate, where Michael Broughton is chef.

“I don’t know if I should laugh or cry,” he said of not be­ing nom­i­nated this year.

The restau­rant will cel­e­brate its 10th an­niver­sary next year, mak­ing it one of the long­est-run­ning in the area.

It’s al­ways good to be nom­i­nated, Broughton said, but that’s “just how it goes some­times”.

“The main thing is that you have bums on seats in the restau­rant, and happy cus­tomers,” he said, adding that his es­tab­lish­ment was still full and rock­ing.

Broughton, a cel­e­brated chef in the re­gion, said the bar was raised ev­ery year, and the com­pe­ti­tion was get­ting tougher, es­pe­cially with all the new ones that had opened in the area in the past five years.

When he started at Ter­roir, it was one of just two well­known restau­rants in the area.

“It’s good for the in­dus­try and good to see that Stel­len­bosch is still lead­ing the pack as a gourmet des­ti­na­tion,” Broughton said.

“The fu­ture is, sort of, this gourmet tourism. Stel­len­bosch is re­ally a place at the mo­ment to fo­cus on if you want to come and eat. This is good for Stel­len­bosch and I’m su­per chuffed that we’re a part of that.”

Sec­ond- time nom­i­nee Czar­necki, from Waterk­loof wine es­tate’s “restau­rant in the sky”, on the out­skirts of Som­er­set West (but still part of the Stel­len­bosch wine route), says he wasn’t ex­pect­ing much from his first nom­i­na­tion. It was in 2010 when the restau­rant first opened and he said he was still find­ing his feet in the kitchen.

This year his team-mem­bers are plac­ing bets on where they might be placed at the awards.

But Czar­necki feels that it is a priv­i­lege just to be con­sid­ered in the top 20, say­ing he’s “just happy to be there – we’ll see what hap­pens on Sun­day”.

Also in the run­ning are The Green­house and La Colombe in Con­stan­tia, Planet Restau­rant at the Mount Nel­son Ho­tel, The Test Kitchen in Wood­stock, Hart­ford House in the Na­tal Mid­lands and DW Eleven-13 and Five Hun­dred in Jo­han­nes­burg.


HOPE­FUL: Miss South Africa Mar­i­lyn Ramos will com­pete against 85 other con­tes­tants for the crown of Miss Uni­verse 2013 in a two-hour cer­e­mony tonight. The lo­cal beauty is pic­tured ear­lier this week in her evening gown at the pre­lim­i­nary com­pe­ti­tion at Cro­cus City Hall in Moscow.

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