Cape Town - Proving once and for all that too many cooks do not necessarily spoil the broth, 14 of South Africa’s top chefs are uniting to cook under one roof – all for a good cause.
Chefs Who Share – The Art of Giving is set to take place at Cape Town’s City Hall on Thursday, September 5. The event will see the chefs divided into pairs, each duo being teamed with a sommelier for the evening to cook for three tables of 12 guests.
Effectively, they’ll be turning the venue into seven small restaurants.
But this event is not just about what the chefs create on plates. The works of 10 South African artists, including the likes of Anthea Delmotte, Ryan Hewett and Anton Smit, will also be auctioned off.
And all the proceeds from the dinner and auction will be donated to youth development charities – The Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and MAD (Make a Difference) Charity.
The theme is “sharing”, with each duo sharing a small space, although they don’t expect any clashes in the kitchen.
Rudi Liebenberg, of Planet Restaurant at the Mount Nelson Hotel, says the event is breaking new ground and comes from a desire by chefs to do something for underprivileged children.
The idea was about giving, and therefore sharing, and so they turned the notion into reality.
“It’s all about the giving, sharing, passing along theme,” says Liebenberg.
He will be paired with Christiaan Campbell, of Delaire, for the evening. And while they’ve never previously worked together, both have similar ideas about sustainability, and where food comes from.
Liebenberg says it was difficult trying to choose chefs who would work well together, because having 14 chefs in one room could potentially be ego-driven. The end result proved, however, that it was possible.
Peter Tempelhoff, of The Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort, says he’s looking forward to a fun event.
“It’s nice to work with other chefs and wine enthusiasts to do what we do, and what we love doing, for a good cause,” he says.
Tempelhoff will be paired with Bertus Basson, of Overture. The pair are good friends with very similar food philosophies. Their courses will be “the kind of thing that they like doing” – bold, quirky, playful and interactive. To plan their menu they both sat down with wines and let their imaginations do the rest of the planning.
Tempelhoff says that he enjoys bumping shoulders with other chefs, working towards one finished product. He also feels that art and food have a symbiotic relationship.
“I always say that food is the fastest lived form of art. You put in all that time and effort, put it out there, and in five minutes it’s gone. It almost doesn’t justify it, but it’s only good for a couple of minutes,” he says.
Jackie Cameron, of Hartford House near Mooi River, will team up with Reuben Riffel, who she says is “just a fantastic chap, besides his cooking ability”. Their menu combines Reuben and Jackie, Franschhoek and the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.
They’ve never worked in the kitchen together, but they “get along like a house on fire”, so they don’t foresee any problems.
“I think it’s wonderful that we’ve all got our own little restaurant,” Cameron says, adding that it is completely different from anything done before, making the event very special.
Chefs, Cameron says, are an industry of friends, thanks to their level of understanding of one another, especially the hours they work.
Chris Erasmus, of Pierneef at La Motte in Franschhoek, says “it’s about time” that an event like this was done, combining art and food.
If you look at the history of art, he says, you see that a lot of it involves sitting around a table and eating. Before Instagram, art documented meal times.
Erasmus will be paired with Darren Badenhorst, of Grande Provence. The two are close friends who have “played around” in the kitchen before, but only informally. Their theme is “back to basics”, and everything will be made from scratch – curing, pickling, preserving, right down to making their own vinegars. The theme will remain throughout, but the difference in the chefs’ styles will remain intact.
“I know his style very well, and he knows mine,” says Erasmus. “It’s not at all similar, but it’ll make it interesting.” - Weekend Argus
* For tickets and more information, go to www.chefswhoshare.com