Muther may have the chefs but Jozi has the jollers

Neil Pendock November 25, 2012 0

MasterchefSA hard-man Pete Goffe-Wood (below with Ross Douglas) summed up Food|Wine|Design last night with a typical pithy comment. “There’s nothing like it in Cape Town. It’s better than any Cape Town show.” Setting up a delicious irony on the eve of the Eat Out Awards in the Muther City tonight.

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For although Cape Town may have the most lauded and awarded cooks, when it comes to an appreciative public, Jozi is the real deal. A point echoed by Swartland superchef Mynhardt Joubert whose Legends pop-up dim sum bar was a legend in its own lunchtime. “Jo’burg gets dim sum.”

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Pete was dispensing kitchen kennis at a most appropriate venue – the MasterCard Gourmet Theatre at Food|Wine|Design where David Higgs (below) – who made his name in the Cape and his money in Jozi – was punting the delights of the KZN Midlands. David was following in the Woodstock flip flops of Luke Dale-Roberts and the Waterfront Crocs of Reuben Riffel who both flew up from the Cape – like the weather – to feed the hipsters at FWD.

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Higgsie played a blinder and the wine, from De Morgenzon, that famous Hyde Park winery of Wendy and Hylton Appelbaum (whose Johannesburg pied à terre is within tottering distance of Hyde Park Corner) was remarkable – especially the DMZ Chenin Blanc Reserve 2007 which we rated ♥♥♥♥♥ (sighted).

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Thank heavens for the theatre as the brus in KZN are too laid back to ever get their act together to deliver on the potential of Dargle duck (“your eating his pets”) and meebos, Greenfields beef with caramelized cauliflower (shown above) and Hilton Blue (sounds like a rower) with pickled watermelon. As Ross commented “I want to set up a business to bring the Midlands to SA. The ingredients on offer are totally phenomenal.” Gourmet Theatre is a good vehicle.

This incarnation of MCGT is a pop-up with pizzazz: yellow wood tables from James Mudge, famous for designing the box for the AuRa 30 YO brandy (we had the Van Ryn 20 as digestif after the David Dégustation and it was totally spectacular) plus steal-worthy porcelain water glasses from Katherine Glenday (favourite ceramicist of Jannie Mouton) and Springbok dollar bill (buck shot) plates from Beezy Bailey. Cape institutions all, although hometown honour was saved by a remarkable Leon Krige photograph and “birds in flight” by homeboy William Kentridge.

Ross and MC take their Gourmet Theatre south this weekend to the MasterCard bubbly festival in Franschhoek as cherry on top of the million rand sponsorship MC gave the MCC Association earlier in the year. An injection of upcountry design and flair desperately needed in the Cape events scene which is starting to look tatty round the edges. Speaking of which, will PGW be at the Eat Out Awards this evening? “Nah. A new outfit for Elise and her hair will set me back four grand.” So expect to see PGW at FWD again next year for as Ross notes “a venue is nothing. It’s the visitors who make the thing work.” And FWD has them – 2,500 on Friday night, 1000 up on last year.

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