It’s official! Every single one of the five chefs participating in this year’s Stellenbosch at Summer Place in Johannesburg on November 29 are among the best 30 in South Africa. Plus, Bertus Basson and Gregory Czarnecki emerged in the top 10 of the 2017 Eat Out Restaurant Awards, announced this weekend.

Along with Basson (awarded for Overture) and Czarnecki (awarded for The Restaurant at Waterkloof), the chefs being featured this year are Michael Broughton of Terroir Restaurant, Lucas Carstens of Makaron Restaurant and Michael Deg of Equus Restaurant.

Stellenbosch at Summer Place – presented by Sanlam Private Wealth – is one of the City of Gold’s premier lifestyle events that will host Johannesburg high society at the plush Gauteng venue-turned-stylish winelands rendezvous. At this luxurious event – a one-night showcase of some of South Africa’s finest wines, food and art – guests will have the exclusive opportunity to mingle with the country’s top winemakers and chefs.

More than just a mere location, it is the Stellenbosch lifestyle that will be on show. This year, the event, themed Artists, Makers and Craftsmen, will highlight the personalities behind this reputation. Alongside some of the country’s top culinary maestros, over 100 wines from 45 Stellenbosch wine farms will be featured. The top 40 entries into the prestigious 2017 Sanlam Portrait Award will also be displayed.

Wine being the golden thread, every aspect of the event has been thematically integrated. The chefs have been tasked with preparing small-plate tasting dishes showcasing the grape varieties and wine styles for which Stellenbosch has become world renowned.

In the opulent open-air lounge will be a selection of South Africa’s famous pot still brandies and port-style wines.

Stellenbosch at Summer Place gets underway at 18h30. Summer Place is located in the upmarket suburb of Hyde Park, at 69 Melville Road.

Tickets to Stellenbosch at Summer Place 2017 are available at R600 each through Ticket Pro, www.ticketpros.co.za. Each ticket includes tasting dishes by five great chefs, canapés, a sumptuous cheese buffet, access to over 100 wines and the opportunity to meet some of South Africa’s food and wine rock stars.

Early booking is recommended as tickets are limited and sell out early. Please note that this is not a sit-down dinner.

For more information or to buy your tickets contact Stellenbosch Wine Routes on 021 886 8275, send an email to events@wineroute.co.za or book online at www.ticketpros.co.za. Also follow @StellWineRoute on Twitter and Facebook.

Three Q&As

  1. LUCAS CARSTENS

Carstens is the head chef of Majeka House, Makaron Restaurant. In addition to his nomination for Eat Out 2017, he was also a nominee for this year’s Conde Nast Gourmet Awards 2017.

What public space epitomises the magic of Stellenbosch for you?

The alfresco dining area of Genki restaurant on summer evenings, eating loads of Japanese tapas and drinking lovely wine, and watching the people walking by. It’s just so relaxing.

How does good wine contribute to a fine dish?

It’s almost impossible to think of one without the other. Wine can add the necessary acidity to a dish, or break the richness. It can also elevate flavours in the food and vice versa.

What’s the difference to you between a good chef and a great chef?

Great chefs have passion and respect ingredients.

Describe your favourite example of the symbiotic relationship of food and art.

Food has aroma, taste and colour, which evokes memories. Art does the same. We can relate to it.

If Stellenbosch was a person, what kind of personality would he or she have?

She would be an entertainer – impulsive and lively. Life is never boring in Stellenbosch.

  1. MICHAEL BROUGHTON

Broughton has been head chef at Terroir Restaurant since opening in 2004 and seen the venue feature repeatedly in national restaurant awards.

What public space epitomises the magic of Stellenbosch for you?

The beautiful town centre of Stellies has so much history and Cape Dutch feel, with timeless architecture. It’s a really special place to be.

Describe how good wine contributes to a fine dish.

A good wine can add to a dish and a good dish can add to the wine.

Describe your favourite example of the symbiotic relationship of food and art.

Food is art. It is presented as an image to the eyes. You first “eat” with your eyes, then your stomach.

Describe your favourite moment of a day in Stellenbosch.

Driving to work on a spring morning and watching the sun rise over the Helderberg Mountains, feeling the heat of its rays on my face.

If Stellenbosch was a person, what kind of personality would he or she have?

Stellies would be a beautiful, patient and kind soul with a timeless youthful character.

How does the heritage of Stellenbosch influence your food?

Stellies IS history. I love cooking in the traditional fashion, paying homage to the French Huguenot pioneers who left their indelible mark of culture and cuisine.

  1. MICHAEL DEG

Deg has been executive head chef of Cavalli Estate since October this year. He previously held the position of head chef at the Relais & Château property of Delaire Graff restaurant for three years.

What public space epitomises the magic of Stellenbosch for you?

I love living in the winelands. My wife and I lived in Ireland for nine years before visiting for a holiday. We fell in love with Stellenbosch and decided to move here. It’s been one of the best decisions we ever made. My wife is the restaurant manager of Terroir restaurant. On our days off we go wine tasting and explore different vineyards, which is a passion of ours and we always eat at other restaurants. I couldn’t think of a better lifestyle for a chef.

How does good wine contribute to a fine dish?

The correct food and wine pairing is a symbiotic one. The wine should enhance the food while the food should not overpower the wine and vice versa. A good food and wine paring to me is when the wine refreshes the palette, but still leaves an aftertaste of the food and wine, making you want to take another bite.

What makes the difference between a good chef and a great chef?

Consistency! The best chefs all over the world strive for it. It’s all great being able to make an amazing dish that is visibly stunning and tastes amazing, but you have to be able to re-create the dish exactly the same way every time, thousands of times over. If your kitchen is unable to be consistent, your reviews and feedback will suffer; people will talk with their feet and you will be out of business.

Describe your favourite example of the symbiotic relationship of food and art.

I feel social media and more specifically Instagram has definitely upped the relationship between food and art. A huge percentage of guests take pictures of food before eating in restaurants. People now search on Instagram for the chefs/restaurants dishes before eating and these pictures can actually influence the guest’s decision on where they ultimately decide to eat, based solely on how good the dishes look like in pictures. I am guilty of doing this, if I travel to somewhere where I am unfamiliar with its restaurants, I will defiantly look up on Instagram before choosing my place to eat. Personally, I put in lot of effort to create not only good tasting food, but visually good-looking too. I will spend a lot of time with my team coming up with presentation of new dishes; how to make them look good; choosing the correct plate; finding colours on the dish that make them pop; and, practice them until we happy with what we come up with.

Describe your favourite moment of a day in Stellenbosch.

For me, it’s usually on a Sunday evening on a warm summer’s day. We usually braai on a Sunday as the restaurant is closed. Watching the setting sunlight catch the Simonsberg Mountain, with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc in hand, is something special.

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