We chatted to some local foodie royalty on the eve of this year’s hotly anticipated Good Food & Wine Show, which starts on Thursday.
What does it mean to you personally to participate in this year’s Good Food & Wine Show in Cape Town?
Annerie Mac Donald: It is a great honour to be part of a show like this. I feel that I will be able to encourage people to take part in the skills of cake decorating.
Christiaan Campbell: My excitement this year with the Good Food & Wine Show is that the focus is being placed on ethical farming ingredients and knowing where you food comes from. More than ever before there are exciting opportunities in the Cape for people to buy vegetables and animal products that are chemical and hormone free direct from farmers or their representatives. If we support these framers and producers we in effect take back control and responsibility for our wellbeing.
Sarah Graham: It’s an enormous honour for me to have been invited.
Grace Stevens: This is the first time that I’ve participated in the Good Food & Wine Show. It is a great honour to be alongside such industry leading chefs.
What can fans expect from you at the Show?
Annerie Mac Donald: To be professional, enthusiastic and promoting the wonder of food.
Christiaan Campbell: This year I am going to keep it really simple. We have acces to the most stunning produce her in the Cape and South Africa as a whole. So I am preparing dishes with potato gnocchi, wild pine ring mushrooms, a dish with lightly cured Green Fields Beef and baby radishes. The children will get to make really tasty popcorn with natural mouth watering flavourants, like roast chicken skin, herb and parmesan.
Sarah Graham: Very simple, but beautiful recipes that they can take home with them and cook easily for friends and family.
Grace Stevens: I will demonstrate my Flower Fairy from my book ‘Celebration Cakes’. Included in the demonstration will be how to make her delicate wings.
Tell us a little about where you are at with local cuisine at the moment. Anything in particular you are obsessed with?
Annerie Mac Donald: I feel very proud to be South African and proud of our national food. I love the diversity
Christiaan Campbell: My main focus currently is to bring awareness to home grown or locally produced vegetables and animal products that are grown “normally”. South African cuisine should be a reflection of our “terrior” in flavour, nourishment and beauty.
Sarah Graham: I love bunny chows! Bobotie and Malva Pudding, as well as Samp and Beans are other favourites of mine.
Grace Stevens: I love to cook traditional dishes for my family and friends. There is such an eclectic mix of flavours and dishes to choose from.
Foodie culture has really exploded across the globe in recent years. What do you attribute this heightened appreciation of food and flavours to?
Annerie Mac Donald: I am sure that the food programs on television and great cookbooks have an influence. Seeing celebrity chefs from all over the world is very inspiring.
Christiaan Campbell: The information highway has certainly helped bring awareness to a broader range of the global population. What is exciting about the Good Food & Wine Show is that at the hands-on workshops people can take that information and practically turn it into knowledge for themselves.
Sarah Graham: I suppose TV has had a lot to do with the boom in interest in food and cooking, and I think it’s a great thing. The more people that are preparing their own food at home, the better. It gives us an awareness of where our food comes from, and what goes into it that I think is invaluable. Also, cooking brings friends and families together and I think that is something to be treasured.
Grace Stevens: With the recession, more people are staying at home to eat and entertain. Food is not just about sustaining us, but now becoming a way to express ourselves, to stand out.
Do you actually have fun at these kinds of events, or is it all about keeping the attendees happy?
Christiaan Campbell: From past experience I have bitten of more than both myself and the attendees at the workshops can chew. This year I am keeping it simple, like making gnocchi with two basic ingredients. It has taken me twenty years to eventually reach a point where I feel I have developed a good understanding of this dish. And this is what I am going to share at the show.
Sarah Graham: Heaps of fun! That is half the point, I think. If the presenters aren’t having fun I don’t think the audience can.
Grace Stevens: I am fortunate to work in a field that I am passionate about, and fun comes with the territory. Sharing my passion creates such great joy in me, and events like this just magnify this joy.
Imagine a guilt free world where calories and fat content don’t affect us. Which decadent dish(esh) would you consume with gleeful abandon in such a scenario?
Annerie Mac Donald: Dessert, glorious dessert.
Christiaan Campbell: If you are eating the right foods sourced from the right places there is no need for any guilt. So based on this statement, everything.
Sarah Graham: Endless helpings of pasta, cheese, pastries, panna cotta and crême brulée.
Grace Stevens: My Vanilla Bean Sponge with passion fruit buttercream.
* Annerie MacDonald is a cake decorator and sugar art teacher and is also the chairlady of the South African Cake Decorators Guild for the Somerset West branch.
Christiaan Campbell, Executive Chef at Delaire Graff Estate, Stellenbosch, will be in action in the Real Food Theatre and the Little Children’s Theatre.
Grace Stevens is the founder and owner of Cupcakes by Design in Cape Town. Her book ‘Celebration Cakes: Decorating step by step with fondant’ was awarded the 2012 Gourmand World Cookbooks Awards for the best South African Dessert Book.
Sarah Graham is currently filming a 13-episode TV show based on her cookbook ‘bitten’, set in and around Cape Town. The show has begun airing on SABC 3 on Sundays at 3.30pm.