HOT OFF THE PASS | This week in food news: March 19
Coronavirus panic buying — and the Dark Kitchen trend — hit SA as the local restaurant industry faces a crisis
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In the wake of the coronavirus landing in SA, social media has been flooded with images of people pushing overloaded trolleys and the resulting empty shelves in supermarkets around the country.
While retailers reported that sanitising products and long-life foods were in high demand, some stores have seen a complete depletion of their fresh produce and other perishables too. (Read more.)
Pick n Pay protects pensioners during Covid-19 outbreak
Fighting other shoppers for the last tin of sweetcorn in a crowded supermarket is a terrifying thought for anyone, but particularly for the elderly who are at most of risk should they catch Covid-19.
That's why Pick n Pay has introduced special shopping hours exclusively for over 65s. Every Wednesday, they'll be opening their stores an hour early, and from 7-8am, only pensioners with a valid ID will be allowed in to stock up on essentials.
Dark kitchen trend hits SA
Regardless of when people shop, it seems more people are planning to eat in while the pandemic plays out. This makes the timing of the latest trend to arrive on the local food scene, the dark kitchen, almost eerily perfect.
A dark kitchen is essentially a delivery-only restaurant that operate solely online or via phone bookings. A host of them have popped up around Jozi and the latest to open (or not open) its doors is aptly named The Dark Kitchen.
Situated in Illovo, it allows you to have the 'world's only nine-slice pizza' delivered to your door. The ninth slice gimmick plays off the fact that most pizzas are cut into eight pieces, but there's always a need for that extra slice.
Local restaurant industry in crisis
For those restaurants who rely on turning tables rather than takeaways, the immediate future is more uncertain. Especially as the government has introduced strict new regulations regarding the operation of those which serve alcohol in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.
Some upmarket eateries in Joburg and Cape Town have decided to close their doors for the next two weeks (read more), but not all restaurants can afford to do so. Support them in any way you can.
PS. Remembering chef Michel Roux Senior
Celebrated French chef Michel Roux Senior, considered one of the godfathers of modern restaurant cooking in the UK, passed away last week aged 78.
Many of our top local chefs and restaurateurs, who had been inspired by the late great Roux, took to social media to pay tribute to him. This includes Markus Fiedler, general manager of Salsify at The Roundhouse in Cape Town, who posted "his legend will live on in all the young chefs he's inspired [during] his incredible career".