Convivium, the annual celebration of food, chefs and producers, has just announced two hot international chefs in its line-up for this year’s event on 4 February 2018 in the Swartland.
Christian F. Puglisi from Denmark and Neil Rankin from the UK will be joining the all-star line-up of Luke Dale-Roberts and Ryan Cole (The Test Kitchen), Ivor Jones (Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia), Michael Cooke (Camphors at Vergelegen), PJ Vadas (Hoghouse Brewing Company), Giles Edwards (La Tête), Michelle Theron (Pierneef à La Motte), Jess Shepherd (The Table at De Meye), Jason Lilley (Jason Bakery), and Chris Erasmus (Foliage). Convivium co-founders Wesley Randles (The Shortmarket Club) and Andy Fenner (Frankie Fenner Meat Market) will also prepare food on the day.
Christian F. Puglisi is the chef and founder of the acclaimed restaurants Relæ, Manfreds, Bæst and Mirabelle. All focus on simplicity and high quality organic, local and sustainably sourced produce. Relæ was awarded a Michelin star and Most Sustainable Restaurant Award in 2015 and 2016 by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA). Christian also authored Relæ: A Book of Ideas and has founded the Farm of Ideas, a farm project connected to the restaurants in the outskirts of Copenhagen.
Andy Fenner describes his reason for approaching the Danish chef: “I saw Christian present at MAD Symposium in Copenhagen and to say his talk changed my life is not an overstatement. I walked into Relæ the next morning and begged his staff for a table. They were closed and (obviously) full but they made a plan. My wife and I ate there and it was one of the most memorable meals of my life. The guy is a true visionary and it’s an honour to have him. That talk – all those years ago – gave me the confidence to pursue FFMM.”
The other big name is Neil Rankin, chef-patron of Temper. He has two restaurants in London: the first is an open-pit temple to smoked meat, tacos and wine in the heart of Soho; the second is a curry and gin house with a huge live-fire pit and tandoori ovens. He started his career in Michelin-level fine dining, has worked for barbecue guru Adam Perry Lang, and has just published a meat bible called Low and Slow – How to cook meat with Penguin books.
Neil is also an obvious choice to join Convivium, says Andy. “Anyone who has a fine-dining background but turns their back on it to concentrate on simple, delicious food is right up our alley,” he explains. “Neil cooks some of the tastiest food in London and he does it with such an unapologetic confidence. We can’t wait to see what he prepares for guests.”
Co-founder Wesley Randles highlights how much it means to everyone to have these two chefs join: “The whole idea behind the event is sharing. Sharing of knowledge. To have guys of this calibre there, inspiring our local young chefs, is priceless. We always wanted Convivium to be a showcase of how good our local scene is and this is the ultimate way to do it. To expose ourselves to the world and to say we are doing amazing things in this country. It really is nothing short of a privilege to welcome these chefs to Convivium, but also to South Africa.”
The day-long feast will again be held at Kalmoesfontein, Adi and Cornelia Badenhorst’s wine farm in the Swartland. The inspiration for the 2018 event is to use as little equipment as possible, so expect interactive stations involving fire, raw dishes, foraged herbs, home-grown vegetables and butchery classes. The event is non-profitable, with the aim to raise funds to boost the industry and support those who are less fortunate.
Convivium 2018 will take place on 4 February with tickets at R1500 per person, available via Quicket. Keep an eye on www.conviviumtable.co.za for more details.