A nice pair: Joburg, meet Stellenbosch - Times LIVE
   
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Sat Dec 10 06:52:03 SAST 2016

A nice pair: Joburg, meet Stellenbosch

Andrea Nagel and Yolisa Mkele | 2016-10-19 08:23:15.0
YOU WANNA PIECE OF ME? The head chef of Delaire Graff Restaurant, Michael Deg

Five celebrated Stellenbosch chefs will pair their talents with wine makers from the region on October 26 at Summer Place in Hyde Park, Johannesburg.

This year the showcase features George Jardine from Jordan Wine Estate restaurant, who also recently launched his own signature fine dining eatery in Stellenbosch; Michael Deg of Delaire Graff Restaurant, known for its fresh bistro chic cuisine; Gregory Czarnecki of Waterkloof Wines restaurant - a hillside-perched space in wraparound glass; and Bistro 13's Nic van Wyk, known equally for his sublime cooking as his TV appearances.

Andrea Nagel and Yolisa Mkele spoke to the chefs:

NIC VAN WYK
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SUBLIME: Bistro 13's Nic van Wyk

What's the difference between cooking for TV and cooking in a restaurant?
Restaurant cooking is a lot less forgiving. There are no second takes; the food takes precedent. When shooting, it's about finding the best camera angles and also entertaining - making the process friendlier and more accessible. It takes three hours to feed 70 people in a busy service, yet seven hours to shoot a one-hour TV programme.

Who does the cooking at home?
My partner does the dishes and has said that I'm the chef in the relationship - so all food decisions fall to me.

What's the most common misconception about chefs?
That we eat restaurant food every night and are extremely critical when eating at friends or social gatherings. Oh, and that being a chef is glamorous - it's not.

GEORGE JARDINE
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SHARP: George Jardine from Jordan

What trends should foodies be on the lookout for?
Food made with fantastic seasonal produce by creative chefs in restaurants that offer value for money.

When last did you drink box wine?
My father-in-law always has a box hanging around - with lots of ice it does the job.

Your favourite meal to prepare?
Lamb neck and bean soup. Everything goes in the pressure cooker, set to 60 minutes.

GREGORY CZARNECKI
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TOP: Waterkloof's Gregory Czarnecki

Your favourite food and wine pairing?
I like to play with cheese and wine. Every cheese is different, so you need to apply the same rules as you would to food and wine pairing - explore the possibilities.

Have you ever eaten ortolan and would you ever consider serving it at your restaurant?
I haven't eaten ortolan yet. The topic is very controversial. Two years ago a group of world renowned chefs asked permission to serve it for a week at the end of the year to keep ancestral tradition (which goes back to the Roman Empire ) and culture alive and enlighten the younger generation about the practice. Sweden did the same with a specific type of marron and it worked. In a way it would stop the illegal market. The bird is said to be a delicacy but I'm not sure whether I want to eat a tiny endangered songbird whole, including beak and bones.

What's your go-to wine after a tough day at work?
A glass of Viognier.

MICHAEL DEG
Why is seasonal cooking important?
The best food begins with the best ingredients and the best ingredients change along with the seasons. I let nature do the rest.

What would you prepare for a food and tequila pairing?
A sea bass ceviche with added raw flavours of coriander, lime, orange, chilli, red onion and a superlative extra virgin olive oil will highlight the floral notes of a quality tequila.

What do you eat for comfort food?
Being from Durban, the smell of cumin, garlic, garam masala and coriander wafting through the house is of great comfort. I do love a spicy lamb curry with all the trimmings. There's a recipe my dad shared with me when I was still a child and I make it frequently at home.

  • Tickets for Stellenbosch at Summer Place, October 26, cost R500 and include all wine, food and entertainment. Book at www.wineroute.co.za.

WHAT IS ORLOTAN?

These delicate songbirds are netted when migrating to Africa, and fed until they've doubled in size. They're then drowned in a vat of Armagnac brandy.

Once cooked, the bird, head and all, is popped into the diner's mouth. Chef Anthony Bourdain said: " As the thin bones and layers of fat, meat, skin and organs compact in on themselves, there are sublime dribbles of varied and wondrous ancient flavours" - including the taste of blood " as my mouth is pricked by the sharp bones".

- Harry Wallop, ©The Daily Telegraph, London

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