The night that macaroons grew on trees

Today I would like to dedicate my blog to all the chefs and suppliers responsible for the dinner served at the 2013 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards on Sunday. (See the full list of winners here.)

It was a phenomenal chef’s table.

Guests entered through a popcorn-scented tunnel carpeted with popping bubble wrap and were spritzed with fine mist reminiscent of salted buttery popcorn, before being handed a tiny cone of salted caramel popcorn ice cream made by Sorbetière.

We nibbled canapés made by the chefs at Nobu served on Japanese Wasara paper bowls (provided by Lardiere Fine Foods) and sipped on Boschendal bubbles.

The sit-down dinner began with four cow heads sculpted from Riggs Quality Butter, named Daisy, Blom, Betty and Frieda. They were carved by Daya Heller, who sat in a refrigerator truck for days to finish off these exquisite specimens, and served with bread by Jason and Catch of the Day Golden Ale, specially brewed for the evening by Triggerfish Brewing.

S. Pellegrino (the sponsor of the Chef of the Year Award) made sure we had plenty of water and Veritas supplied us with superb wine.

George Jardine of Jordan Restaurant (no. 6 in the new Top 10) dished up a starter of fragrant kale, tofu and lamb kaaings – a bowl of utter deliciousness – matched with a glass of Jordan Wine’s The Real McCoy Riesling 2013.

Jackie Cameron of Hartford House (no. 5 in the new Top 10) prepared her SASSI green-listed smoked mussel soup, called Fond Seaside Memories. It was served in a beautiful handmade bowl resembling crimped pastry made by Mervyn Gers, and paired with Cape of Good Hope Surruria Chardonnay 2012.

The Sunday carvery, prepared by Chris Erasmus at Pierneef à la Motte (a new entry in the Top 10 at no. 10), included platters of confit pasture pork necks, rose-glazed sweetbreads and smoked and pickled lamb ribs, served with crayfish caramel and bordelaise butter sauce, and a plate of pumpkin vegetable pots and pickled vegetables, with a glass of Jabobsdal Pinotage 2011.

I asked pastry chefs Amy Young of The Greenhouse (no. 4) and Minette Smith of Five Hundred (no. 2) to prepare the dessert. Minette enchanted us with a ginger beer gel with yoghurt crumble, meringue sticks, compressed apple, yoghurt-and-apple mousse and verbena custard, and Amy served citrus caramel, ginger white soy panna cotta, apple yuzu jelly, hazelnut crunch, lemon crème fraîche parfait and yuzu sherbet in Weck jars provided by Lardiere Fine Foods. Both desserts were perfectly matched with a glass of chilled Monis Muscadel 2001.

Tanja Kruger from Makaron then delighted us with magnificent edible trees for petit fours, with edible bark and macaroons resembling the flowers.

Truth Coffee and Remy Martin were also there to make sure we had the best ending to a terrific meal.

A special thank you to Wynand and Lizelle Du Plessis from Extreem Kwizeen for all their kitchen and service organisation, and to the chefs’ schools, ICA and Silwood, as well as Blend and Apex, for all their enthusiasm.


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