Story of a Plate: Octopus at La Tête

On the menu: Octopus, fennel and sea spinach

The octopus was phenomenal. Would you mind telling us how the dish came together, with the fennel and sea spinach?

Chef Giles Edwards: As with most of the dishes, it’s really about the supplier. Our chicken hearts come from Angus at Spier – they’re amazing, so I think about how I can make them appealing to everyone else. I put a deep-fried potato bake on the plate, and it just works perfectly with the dish, and it becomes an attraction – it’s the same with the octopus. I always cook it the same way; it just comes down to what I pair it with and how I use it. The octopus comes from South Coast Fisheries, who source it from False Bay. It’s Atlantic octopus, and there are not many restaurateurs buying it. Continue reading “Story of a Plate: Octopus at La Tête”

Amazon, Whole Foods, and the future of food

From our latest newsletter:

Some of the biggest news on the international food scene last week was the announcement that Amazon would be acquiring the US-based grocery Whole Foods Market for a cool $13.7 billion. (Whole Foods calls itself “America’s Healthiest Grocery”, and as its name suggests, the focus is on organic, sustainable products.)

With Whole Food Markets currently only located in the US, Canada and the UK, it’s a deal which won’t have any immediate impact on our local food scene (no drone delivered organic kale quite yet!), but there is speculation that it could have far-reaching consequences for the global food industry.

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Dining Etiquette and Jazz

If you stop and think about it, it’s interesting that we visit a top-end restaurant, hand over a couple of thousand Rand per head for the pleasure, and then profusely thank the waiter, the manager and the chef for the privilege when we leave.

This gratitude is only elevated the more rare the opportunity, like when we land a table at a place that really is difficult to get into. What this brings into focus is that we are the guests of the restaurant and they are the hosts, and we thank them as we would thank the hosts at a domestic dinner party. We only stop short of bringing them flowers.

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Story of a Plate: Bread and bokkom butter at Wolfgat

 

On the menu: Part of “Strandveld snacks” at the beginning of lunch

We were intrigued by all your dishes, but especially the bread with bokkom butter, which was like a bagna cauda, but West Coast style. Can you tell us about how that came about?

Kobus van der Merwe: At Oep ve Koep (our previous space which is still run by my family), we used to serve a fried bokkom* fillet in different versions – there was a breakfast-y one with egg, and we did a seared watermelon with bokkom and seaweed. And then everyone in the kitchen always grabbed and dipped their bread in the pan that we fried the bokkom in, because the juices were just ridiculous. We fried them in a little oil, and then we added butter while the bokkoms were heating up, and then, almost as a joke, because it’s the nicest feeling to clean a pan with bread in the kitchen, we started thinking of sending that to the table, and then just refining it a little bit.

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Table Manners: Suiting up for Manhood

By Darrel Bristow-Bovey.

For me, manhood meant a place at a table in a restaurant.

When I was very young in Durban my father had a ritual. Once a month on a Monday he would put on a clean white shirt and a tie and a sports jacket and leave the house alone. This was a strange turn of events, because ordinarily my father would never wear a tie or a jacket, and also this was Durban in the 1970s – the only people who wore ties and jackets were waiters and jewel thieves.

He would come home later in the evening, and I would hear his car pull up in the driveway and hear him open the front door and walk through the house, and I can’t remember if I ever asked him where he went in his clean white shirt and his tie and sports jacket, but I know it felt like a tremendous secret, something strange and terrible and not quite fit for the eyes of moms and small kids.

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