Food lovers and connoisseurs are set for a serious dose of inspiration in the build-up to the much-anticipated Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards, as Eat Out launches its first-ever full day conference, to be held on Saturday 24 November at The Westin Cape Town.
The Eat Out DStv Food Network conference aims to provide a platform for knowledge sharing in the South African food community and will be of value to chefs, restaurateurs, journalists, critics and anyone who is passionate about food.
Eat Out editor, judge and speaker at the conference Abigail Donnelly says: “We hope that the conference will build relationships, encourage networking and, above all, inspire local chefs. With the line-up of chefs sharing their inspiration and work, the day’s talks can’t help but be thought-provoking.”
Headlining the conference is top international chef Massimo Bottura of Osteria Francescana, the world’s fifth best restaurant according to the S. Pellegrino World's 50 Best Restaurants list. The recipient of three Michelin stars, Bottura is probably the most influential of the new wave of Italian chefs, and his avant-garde approach to cooking is bound to captivate conference attendees.
Says Bottura: "I jumped at the opportunity to come to South Africa. Not only have I heard so many interesting things about it culturally, but as of late, gastronomically too. I have also had the good fortune to meet two incredible chefs working there today – Margot Janse and Luke Dale-Roberts. They have very different kitchens and diverse approaches to gastronomy, which leads me to believe that South Africa has a lot to offer.
"Moreover, I have recently read that South Africa is campaigning to get rid of excess sugar, salt and cholesterol; put emphasis on healthy and affordable food; register local products which are exclusive to South Africa; and create even more fairtrade and organic options for consumers and diners. This is just remarkable. Very similar to what we chefs in Italy are working for as well.
"At the Eat Out Conference I will be sharing some recipes on our fall menu and talking about the theme for the year, 'Come to Italy with me'. Essentially the idea is about returning to a place you know and love with new eyes and an open mind. The Italian kitchen has already gone around the globe several times over the past century and so at Osteria Francescana it is our job to bring new meaning to traditional forms and ideas through our intense resourcing of rare Italian products, as well as our conceptual thinking process, which aims to transform preconceptions into new taste experiences. I have no doubt the conference will be very stimulating for us all."
The other international speaker is British food designer Andrew Stellitano, whose work shows just how adventurous one can be with food. Stellitano is known for using all manner of food as a medium to create really exciting, forward-thinking design, and his presentation at the conference will be an interactive sensory experience of the Cape.
Local speakers include the reigning Eat Out Chef of the Year, Luke Dale-Roberts, and executive chef at Le Quartier Français Hotel in Franschhoek, Margot Janse. Prominent members of the local restaurant community, including chefs and restaurateurs Reuben Riffel, Giorgio Nava and Steven Maresch, will join a panel discussion led by Abigail Donnelly.