As you imagine, preparing Sunday lunch for 20 of the country’s top chefs is a somewhat daunting task – particularly when that fine food will also be served to a guest list upwards of 600 people.
For this year’s Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards, we approached Jason Lilley (Jason Bakery), Scot Kirton (La Colombe), Michael Broughton (Terroir), and George Jardine (Jordan Restaurant) to dream up a menu worthy of the stars.
MasterChef SA judge and former Eat Out Restaurant Awards judge Pete Goffe-Wood was the magician coordinating the menu and the small army of chefs and students from Silwood School of Cookery and Jackie Cameron’s School of Food & Wine on the night.
The drinks had to measure up to the exacting standards of some of South Africa’s top sommeliers and wine experts in attendance. Nederburg, Boschendal and Waterford provided the wonderful wines paired with the meal; S.Pellegrino and Aqua Panna kept guests hydrated with sparkling and still water; Bootlegger provided the caffeine kick; Striped Horse supplied the craft beer; and whisky fans could be found sipping on Glenfiddich 12-, 14- and 15-year-old.
The meal kicked off with canapés, courtesy of Escoffier caterers. Waiters circulated with grass-lined garden trays, offering treats like cinnamon-sugar dusted pumpkin fritters; wild mushroom and truffle arancini; smoked beef and goat’s cheese bonbons; Thai chicken lollipops wrapped in cucumber and sprinkled with black sesame seeds; and bruléed profiteroles filled with chicken liver pâté.
The Mother City’s favourite baker Jason Lilley prepared baguette rolls with garlic and cheese and served them up with Striped Horse craft lager, a light golden lager with a sweet malty aroma and balanced hops for slight bitterness. (A pairing he helpfully demonstrated by downing a full glass, after explaining his baking process to the enraptured audience.)
The first course was conceptualised by Chef of the Year Scot Kirton of La Colombe and still has everybody talking. A butter-soft tuna tataki was served in bespoke tuna tins with avocado, quail egg, seaweed puff, ponzu gel, radish and chipotle broth. The dish was paired with The Young Airhawk from Nederburg’s Heritage Heroes gourmet collection, a great food-loving sauvignon blanc with layers of green fig and asparagus, which brought out the ginger in the dish.
In keeping with the Sunday lunch theme, the second course was a roasted chicken pie, with summer vegetables and a magnificent confit garlic velouté, dreamt up by Nic van Wyk of Bistro 13. The pie was perfectly paired with a buttery Boschendal 1685 Chardonnay.
For the main course, guests enjoyed Terroir head chef Michael Broughton’s lamb shoulder of certified Karoo lamb with its own juices, confit tomatoes, onions, peas and potato gratin. The dish was served with Kevin Arnold Shiraz, a velvety shiraz with a hint of mocca and spice.
Dessert was prepared by George Jardine and Kyle Burn of Jordan Restaurant: a millionaire’s shortbread with freeze-dried raspberries, creamy, nut ice cream and white chocolate. The dish was paired with magnificently honeyed Noble Late Harvest from the Nederburg Winemaster’s Reserve range, with its sweet apricot and peach notes.
The splendid Sunday meal ended with coffee by Bootlegger and chocolate by Frey, which guests could be seen grabbing by the handful.