What do you get when you bring a bunch of talented illustrators and animators together in one space and give them the freedom to express themselves? A successful business that has done work for clients worldwide, that’s what. Am I Collective has done exactly this, under the leadership of founding member and good friend of Chefs Warehouse, Mark van Niekerk. If you’ve popped in at Chefs Warehouse, been to any of our classes or read this blog, you’ve seen the great food illustrations on the giant blackboard in our cooking studio, all done by members of Am I Collective. These are minor pieces of work for a creative team that has done projects for big brands like Nike, FIFA, Virgin, Coca Cola and ESPN, amongst others. They have however played a big role in bringing further creativity to Chefs Warehouse. A big thanks from all of us to Mark and his team. See their portfolio online at www.amicollective.com.
Archive for July, 2010
Known for his larger-than-life presence and personality, coal mining magnate, horse breeder and wine industry pioneer Graham Beck passed away earlier this week. He is most widely known for his eponymous wine brand, known for consistently producing one of the best Methode Cap Classique wines. This begun through his driving passion to produce the highest quality sparkling wine in South Africa. The business started on Madeba farm in Robertson, but expanded later with properties in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek as the portfolio and size of the business grew. The wines kept good company, being served at the inauguration of Nelson Mandela as President in 1994 and chosen by Barack Obama to celebrate his own inauguration in 2008. We salute a true maverick in Graham Beck. He might have moved on, but his legacy proudly survives with his family and every bottle of Graham Beck wine.
Tapas is no longer just a cuisine of the Spanish, but has been embraced the world over. The concept of small plates and small bites presents an easy way to taste more in a single seating, hence their popularity with food-lovers everywhere. But you know all this already. Based on that, we had some tapas boards made up. They turned out pretty awesome.
The perfect size to plate a few cheeses, meats and preserves, or a selection of individual tapas items, they’re great for entertaining. Designed by Cry|Sun exclusively for us, the timber board comes with a helpful sketch showing the various cuts of meat. Because we know you enjoy that type of thing.
Available now at Chefs Warehouse for R450 each.
We’re a big fan of Jamie Who?, the local food blog that gives the skinny on restaurants, food news, recipes, drinks and more. He was at Chefs Warehouse last night for Bizerca Bistro chef and owner Laurent Deslandes’ superb demonstration class. The Frenchman effortlessly whipped up some seriously impressive cuisine and guests were truly wowed. But don’t take our word for it, check out the great review on JamieWhoSA here.
Master baker Tim Faull started his Knead to Know baking course this week at Chefs Warehouse. At Tim’s first class, he took us through the difference between artisan baking and modern baking, the romance and skill involved and also how to make a sourdough starter. Liam christened his starter Tim Jnr., in honour of Tim himself. Tim Jnr. is bubbling away in the office right now, having just been fed (flour, yoghurt milk and apple juice).
To coincide with this baking focus, we’ve got some great baking accessories in the shop. If you want to make bread like a professional, get the same tools as the professional. Everything from stone-ground flour and trays to complete bread kits, we’ve got it. The bread making kits have the flour, yeast, seeds and everything else you need. They come in varieties that include: Italian ciabatta, baguette, cider bread, multiseed loaf, Portuguese, sourdough, spelt, wheat-free, all priced from R75 upwards. Pictured above: Terracotta baking stone – R180, Full-sized couche – R430, dough cutters – (various sizes ) R15 – R60, stainless steel sliding tray – R185 , bakers paddle R250, Teflon sheet – R105, Flour brush R205, bakers knife – R295 , rolling pin – R225, pastry brushes, R115/R150.
Liam has custom-designed the perfect Chef’s Jacket, now available at Chefs Warehouse. The consummate professional chef needs a jacket to match, and this is the one. Made from 100% cotton, each jacket is individually hand made. Features include hand-rolled buttons, air vents under the arm for ventilation, turn back cuffs and a small pocket on the sleeve for your tasting spoon.
These superb chef’s jackets are available in small, medium or large, and can be either be short-sleeved, or long. We can also embroider your name and/or restaurant brand where you’d like on each jacket. Available from Chefs Warehouse now at R550 per jacket.
Swedish-born sommelier Mia Mårtensson from the Winery of Good Hope will guide guests through the art of food and wine pairing in this fun evening, the first of our August classes. Together with 12 dishes prepared by Liam himself, Mia will take guests through 6 different varietals to explore the flavour dynamics, show the versatility of food and wine and provide a new perspective on the relationship between the two. The objective is to encourage one to build a broader understanding of the subject through combinations that really set off the wine and food partnership perfectly.
Mia is a qualified chef and sommelier (Restaurant Academy in Stockholm) that worked in Michelin-star restaurants in Europe for several years before heading to South Africa in 2005. Before joining the Winery of Good Hope she was the sommelier at the Relais & Chateau Grand Roche Hotel in Paarl for three years.
On the evening, Liam will provide recipes to go with dishes and will answer any questions regarding the food preparation. The class is on 4th of August from 18h30 – 21h30; cost is R650 per person. Seating is limited to 16 people to ensure an intimate and truly interactive food & wine experience. Please get in touch to reserve your place now!
Sometimes it’s madness at Chefs Warehouse, helping shoppers find the perfect gift, sourcing the perfect chef’s jacket and planning for a last-minute private dinner. We do always look forward to our guest chef classes, where we (and you) get to watch a professional come in and show us how to make some awesome dishes. Laurent Deslandes from Bizerca is next up, hosting a class next week Thursday when he’ll be showing off what his philosophy of cooking is all about.
Dishes on the menu include Seafood Soup with Prawn Agneli, Beef Fillet Tartare with Pommes Dauphine and Soft Centre Chestnut Pudding with Chocolate & Kahlua Sorbet. Wait, let’s just take a moment to let how delicious that sounds actually sink in. Done? Okay, good. Well, if you’d like to come to Chefs Warehouse and meet the charming Frenchman, taste his culinary creations and enjoy some fine wine while doing so, we suggest you book quickly!
Laurent’s class is on the 22nd July. Please email or call us for bookings or further information the class.
It’s winter, which means it’s a great time to get into some baking, something that requires a good quality kitchen machine like this one from Krups. Not only does this Expert 9000 Series have a seriously powerful mixer (1200W power) with 12 mixing speeds, but it also comes with a precise scale built into the machine. Four sensors help you calculate the exact weight (up to 5g) of ingredients in the bowl. Plus, a tare option allows you to weigh multiple ingredients added one after the other.
Yes, both heavy duty and smart. The motor comes with a 10-year warranty, and if you manage to break the solid 5-litre stainless steel mixing bowl then you deserve a medal. Naturally, it comes with all the extra attachments like the dough hook, beater, whisk and more. And aside from the blender, there are outlets for a meat mincer, can opener, citrus press and even a metal pastry kit. Pretty much everything you need to accomplish, this machine can help with. This all-in-one kitchen gem is available at Chefs Warehouse for R3920.
Yes, you might be wondering to yourself, “Why is that black truffle in a bowl of arborio rice?” Well, the answer is simple enough. If you place a truffle in a dish with rice and seal it for a few hours, the rice starts to take on the scent of the truffle. We’re talking about truffle rice here, correct. Oh, and you can do the same thing with eggs too, the scent from the truffles is strong enough to actually pass through the eggshells into the egg itself. Just a few simple ways you can use this magnificent fungus.
Black truffles are found just below the surface of the soil, sniffed out by dogs, though pigs were used in the old days, but apparently eat too many truffles, thereby defeating the purpose of using them. They can vary in size from 2cm in diameter to the size of a large orange, but as the “dynamite comes in small packages” saying goes, you really don’t need a lot of truffle to flavour something. They possess an incredibly pungent scent that chefs love to work with and anyone fortunate enough to taste will never forget. After flavouring the rice and eggs with truffles, Liam plans to let them sit in a reduced veal stock with Madeira and Port which he’ll turn into a gelatine that can be used to flavour many dishes.
Chefs Warehouse now has Tasmanian-grown truffles in stock. Yes, down under they have some seriously good truffles, made by Truffles Australias, who have a comprehensive site with plenty of truffle information. Truffles are going for R4,000 p/kg, with a minimum order of 300g (the one pictured here is 78g, about the size of a ladies fist). to order, simply call or email us and we can arrange them for you.
Sous vide is a cooking method aimed to preserve the natural integrity of ingredients by heating them at low temperatures for a sustained period. Foods can be cooked for long periods, over 24-hours sometimes, at specific temperatures. Food is vacuum-packed and placed in water baths to ensure when cooked it keeps its original appearance, doesn’t lose fat or juices and retains texture better than any other method. Embraced by the world’s top chefs at restaurants like El Bulli, The Fat Duck and The French Laundry, sous vide is quite a science, the machine used keeping an exact temperature to ensure perfect doneness.
Thomas Keller of The French Laundry and Per Se restaurants has produced a book that thoroughly explores the science of sous vide cooking. Aimed unmistakably at professional chefs, the book talks in detail about the benefits of sous vide, the controlled environment it creates and what this allows a chef to achieve. Adventurous home chefs might also find an entirely new chapter in food through the book, should they choose to purchase it and a sous vide machine.
Chefs Warehouse has also recently taken stock of the Grant sous vide range, the very same water baths and stirred heaters (pictured above) used in several of those restaurant kitchens mentioned above. Should you be a professional chef or adventurous home cook and wish to find out more about sous vide or these superb professional kitchen items, please do contact us.
First published in 1914, Le Repertoire de La Cuisine is a book you won’t find easily. It presents the fundamental elements of cookery, in alphabetical order and with 6,000 dishes covering everything. Yes, everything. As much a guidebook for chefs and restaurateurs, it can be a great resource for anyone with an interest in food and cooking. R380.
Charlie Trotter (an appropriate name for a chef if ever there was one) has been hailed the Best Chef in America, his eponymous Chicago restaurant has been named Best Restaurant In The World (Wine Spectator magazine) and he’s generally hailed as a genius by chefs, restaurateurs and anyone lucky enough to have eaten his cuisine. He’s published several books focused on his take on food, but the latest are slightly more practical, if a little philosophical. Lessons in Service, Lessons in Wine Service and Lesson in Excellence are three books where Trotter imparts his wisdom in an easily readable style. Filled with tips and anecdotes from his decades in the business, each book is informative, detailed and an interesting read. R285 each.
Props to local food and wine aficionado Michael Olivier for embracing the digital world and creating South Africa’s first comprehensive online food and drink magazine. Crush is a collection of food stories, wine recommendations, restaurant reviews, chef interviews and other goodies, all put together by the tireless Olivier. The concept takes a traditional magazine online, keeping a page-turning format but with far more capabilities through links, sliding and scrolling boxes and pop-up competitions.
The first issue includes pieces on La Colombe, Warwick wines and some superb recipes to see you through the week. Have a look at the magazine (which includes an interview with Liam, his thoughts on Cape Town and why he started Chefs Warehouse) here for yourself and get stuck into an engrossing interactive foodie read. Subscribe to Crush magazine at www.crushmagonline.com.
If you couldn’t make Liam’s 20-part Basic Techniques & Methods of Cookery course, but are keen to seriously hone your cooking skills, you might be interested in this: five intensive classes hosted by Liam where he’ll cover some of the essentials from his more extensive course. He’ll take participants through a wide variety of foods, giving insight into ingredients, methods and clever tips to ensure you can recreate the same quality at home.
The course is set to include content on stocks (fish, chicken, veal & mushroom), consommes, a variety of innovative sauces and dressings. It will also go through selecting and preparing fish & shellfish, as well as butchering techniques and making confit, ballotine and more using meat, poultry and game. Oh, and a selection of desserts, of course, including ice cream, sorbet and sweet sauces.
Participants will gain the skills and knowledge in just a few days to drastically improve their home cooking capabilities. The demonstration course runs over five consecutive mornings from 10am – 2pm, starting Monday, 23 August and ending on the Friday. Participants must attend all five classes.
The cost is R3,500 which, like all courses, includes wine pairings to go with Liam’s culinary creations. Participants will also receive comprehensive notes and recipes to take home.