A Slow Food world-first for local eatery
GRAAFF-REINET — Popular Graaffreinet Gastropub, The Muller House, has been honoured by Slow Food International to become the first accredited “Slow Food Chefs' Alliance” restaurant in the world.
This occurred during a recent visit to this local eatery, as part of a tour of the Karoo and visits to local farmers by a high powered delegation from Slow Food International, which included the Head of Slow Food Italy, Francesco Sottile and Slow Food Africa representative Emanuele Dughera as well as the national chairman of Slow Food South Africa Brian Dick.
The delegation was hosted by the convenors of the Slow Food Karoo convivium, local foodies, Gordon and Rose Wright.
Speaking after the awarding of the prestigious accreditation, the head of Slow Food Italy, Francesco Sottile, was glowing in his commentary of the establishment, “The Muller House is a perfect example of what we are striving for in the Slow Food Chefs' Alliance globally. A locally owned establishment that is run by a passionate team of chefs who strive to support and showcase local produce and producers, while at the same time keeping a very high standard of cuisine”.
Slow Food Karoo’s Gordon Wright added, “We are very proud that one of our very own Karoo restaurants has raised the bar on a global scale to prove that local is indeed lekker. I look forward to seeing more local restaurants taking the lead in the support of local producers and showcasing our fabulous Karoo foods and local ingredients on the global stage”. A very proud Labarré du Preez with one of the convenors of the Slow Food Karoo convivium, Gordon Wright.
Dughera added that “The Slow Food Chefs' Alliance is a network uniting chefs around the world who are committed to defending and celebrating biodiversity, food traditions, local cultures, and artisanal food producers. Chefs and cooks have a fundamental role to play in safeguarding the biological and cultural diversity of our food. They interpret the histories and ecosystems of their regions with skill and creativity, supporting local producers while awakening eaters to the role we all play as custodians of biodiversity”.
The Muller House chef and co-owner Labarré Du Preez was delighted, “We are extremely excited to be able to share our passion and be affiliated with Slow Food and to create this awareness. Our concept with our menu is to constantly change - according
to the seasonality of produce, availability and whether it's local. It's not only to provide the best price for our guests but also using seasonal produce to influence your product quality".
She goes on to say that “Fruit and vegetables are at their best being eaten and used in season. If we also buy at a better price we are able to give our guests a better price. Having a restaurant in the Karoo is a blessing. There are so many farmers around that are experts in their own field. Being able to buy directly from them helps us for so many reasons. We always try to see the bigger picture, how our choices eventually uplift and support our local community and in return we get to wake up every morning doing what makes us happy”.
Labarré's husband Stuart concurred, "Being recognised by the Slow Food Chefs' Alliance means a recognition of our choices as well as international recognition, which is also important, as we receive so many tourists during the year. They need to be made aware that we choose to serve fresh farm quality produce. We grow our own herbs and greens, as well as smaller vegetables at home. We even have our own herb boxes at The Muller House. We buy our lamb from Victoria West from Roam Free Meats. We try and use all the lamb cuts from deboned lamb neck to lamb pies, lamb curry, marinated lamb rib, shredded lamb in soups and the obvious favourite, lamb chops".
Chef Carel Enslin, the third member of The Muller House team adds, "Throughout the year we are quite dependent on the hunting season for venison and get supply from local farmers when available. We make our own venison Carpaccio from springbok or kudu loin and also serve a kudu schnitzel".
Labarré concludes, "We are three chefs at Muller House, Stuart, myself and Carel. All three of us joined the Chefs' Alliance, as we share the same values and would like the awareness of this concepts to grow so that our customers know where their food comes from”.
In the Karoo we have such wonderful diversity and food traditions and they need to be showcased, innovated and protected, our chefs and cooks in the region are perfectly positioned to do this - so well done to The Muller House and its fabulous team on keeping the Karoo food flag flying high," commented a very proud Rose Wright.