Flavours to impress at the Coastal Living Bru Food and Wine Festival
Passion, great ingredients and inspired cooking is what it took pro chef Monique Naude from New York Restaurant & Bar and amateur chef Cassidy van de Heever to win the ‘Fleur du Cap So You Think You Can Cook Ballito Style’, hosted at La Montagne Resort in Ballito.
The tightly contested cooking competition was part of the Coastal Living Bru Food and Wine Festival, a fine wining and dining and quality fashion and lifestyle entertainment event (June 30- July 2) that ran concurrently with the international surfing contest, The Ballito Pro presented by Billabong.
The ‘Fleur du Cap So You Think You Can Cook Ballito Style paired together professional and amateur chefs to prepare a mouth-watering dish from mystery box ingredients. Teams had to cook a two-course meal to the theme, ‘liquid motion – evolution of epic’, as well as pair their dish with a Fleur de Cap wine, a new addition to this year’s culinary competition.
The panel of food critics judged the four participating team’s dishes on five requirements: hygiene, professional conduct, creativity, taste and presentation. It was Naude and Van de Heever’s winning dish of beurre blanc seafood trio for mains and their vanilla panna cotta infused with strawberry and a merlon strawberry reduction for dessert that sealed the deal for judges, Joani Mitchell, Genee’ Griffiths and Andrew Draper.
“We didn’t expect to win, we were actually gobsmacked!” exclaimed Pro chef Naude. “It is the first time we have both done something like this and we had an amazing experience. We always said to each other to stop being serious and just have fun.”
Amateur chef van de Heever was overwhelmed with the win and said, “We were hoping for seafood in the mystery box and were so happy to see it because Monique really enjoys cooking with it.”
The victorious team walked away with a range of amazing prizes including a Smeg appliance to the value of R20 000 and a marketing and publicity package from Caxton Magazines for the pro chef and a R5000 Hirsch voucher and cash prize of R10 000 for the amateur chef.
Not to miss out all the foodie action a talented group of budding young chefs, paired together with students from the International Hotel School, rustled up a delicious dish in the Fine Young Cooks Awards. The winners of the three night event were Kai Coates, Julie Blevin and Matthew Wocke.
Other highlights at the food and entertainment event included a restaurant, coffee and wine showcase, a wine auction, live entertainment, a fashion extravaganza by Simply Models and Kevin Ellis and the opportunity for festival goers to taste the best culinary delights that KwaZulu-Natal has to offer at the artisanal food and beverage market.