Culinary Exploration of Cape Town with the Irish Food Board (Bord Bia)

A Culinary Tour of Cape Town

I was contacted by the lovely folk at the Irish Food Board earlier this year to assist them in putting together a week-long, fairly intense culinary tour of Cape Town for a team of 12 of their members. Daunted but thrilled with the challenge, I roped in my dear friend Dawn Jorgensen, who creates safari and dream holiday packages to Southern and East Africa. Little did we know that in addition to crafting an itinerary we’d be invited to accompany our guests too. So, out went the plans of hiring a regular tour guide. It was us and them, and did we have a fun week!

views along Twelve Apostles

I trawled my little black book and along with Tom Collins, the insight and innovation analyst at Bord Bia, we fashioned an itinerary that showcased the best, tastiest and industry-related experiences that the Board was after for their inspiration and scouting mission to the Mother City. Dawn and I wanted to share as much of the Mzanzi spirit with our guests as we could. The best feedback we received, unanimously from everyone, was that they wanted to return with their families to Cape Town and surrounds to enjoy and savour at leisure.

Meeting the cooks in the townships

Meeting the cooks in the townships

We were met with the hospitality South Africans are rightfully known for and nothing was too great or too small a request.  An example: one restaurant generously opened way before trading hours especially for us, having taken our orders in advance so that we could be in time for the next appointment.

Farmer Angus and his chooks

Farmer Angus and his chooks

The experience, for both Dawn and I, was a combination of rewarding and educational. We were forced at times to look at the local food scene in a new way, and to think about habits, trends, the price of labour, all the while discussing and comparing Irish and South African produce, production methods and technology as well as ethics.

Learning about ostriches

Learning about ostriches

Many of our guests come from families belonging to a trade or farming concern for generations – butchers, farmers, bakers and so on. The collective expertise of our group was humbling and as we shared our local experiences, we lapped up the insight they continuously shared, sometimes bursting into song. Them, not us. As can be expected from the fun-loving Irish.

Sampling snoek and jazz

Sampling snoek and jazz

A highlight for us, was the midweek South African braai (barbeque) we held on the roof top of the Grand Daddy Hotel, where we were adressed by our charming, erudite host Michael Oliver . Sharing the stories about their journey in the food industry Julie Carter of Ocean Jewels, Richard Bosman of Richard Bosman Quality Cured Meats, Matt Allison, urban farmer and ever-evolving stay at home dad and Jason Lilley, artisan baker whom we visited at his Bree Street store earlier in the week. Over peppermint tart and more wine, in the early hours of the morning, we listened to stories about home and melodious song after song. A very special night.

With our inspirational locals

With our inspirational locals

These are some of the images from our week together. There were meetings, strategy sessions, supermarket and market visits scouting for innovative packaging and design, in between the eating and drinking. All work, all play!

A heartfelt thank you to all our people who gave us their time and expertise, as well as those who answered our our cold-calls and emails, making many important meetings and experiences possible. And thank you to Tom and Helen King for assigning us with this task. It was the impetus Dawn and I needed for a project we are working on as a result, and we will share more as soon as we can.

Roger Jorgensen educating us about herbs and spirits - the kind you drink

Roger Jorgensen educating us about herbs and spirits – the kind you drink

 

learning about trout farming and processing

learning about trout farming and processing

 

a seafood feast in Kalk Bay

a seafood feast in Kalk Bay

 

charcuterie and wine pairing

charcuterie and wine pairing

fresh ingredients, well prepared

fresh ingredients, well prepared

 

relaxed fine dining

relaxed fine dining

 

 


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12 Comments

  1. Hasmita May 6, 2013 at 9:25 am - Reply

    Looks like a really fab week… yum!
    x Hasmita http://www.joziliciousblog.co.za

    • Ishay May 6, 2013 at 10:11 am - Reply

      Thanks Hasmita, we worked and played really hard that week. Was rewarding.

  2. Dawn Jorgensen May 6, 2013 at 10:06 am - Reply

    What a magical week it was – thanks again for the opportunity to be a part of it xxx

    • Ishay May 6, 2013 at 10:12 am - Reply

      Couldn’t have done it without your encouragement and all your admin and organization. Loved this experience with you, thank you!

  3. Michael Olivier May 6, 2013 at 10:23 am - Reply

    Such a lovely post – thank you for inviting me to be part of it! Luv Mx

    • Ishay May 6, 2013 at 11:03 am - Reply

      We were thrilled that you joined us and shared those lovely anecdotes and snippets of our history. Someone said “I could listen to him speak all night”. I agree.

  4. Roger Jorgensen May 6, 2013 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    Great post! There must be huge scope for more culinary tours of the Cape.

  5. Pat Whelan May 7, 2013 at 6:25 am - Reply

    Fantastic post that evokes great memories of a special week that I was delighted to be a part of.Continued success to you to you Ishay and Dawn Pat Whelan

    • Ishay May 7, 2013 at 2:34 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much Pat. We loved having you, Lena and the team and as you know, you’re welcome back at any stage.

  6. Adhis June 11, 2013 at 3:03 am - Reply

    This looks absolutely fabulous. Are you going to continue putting these together?

    • Ishay June 11, 2013 at 9:32 am - Reply

      Hi there
      We are hard at work on it and we intend to. If you have any queries or requests please email me ishay@gylc.co.za and we will get back to you soonest.
      Many thanks
      Ishay

  7. Adriana Lacerda www.escapismogenuino.com May 18, 2014 at 6:58 pm - Reply

    I want to do this SO BAD! 🙂

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