Bloemfontein was taken by storm when some of the finest chefs and restaurateurs in the city came together to bring out a magnificent night of good food and wine.

The chef’s Table is an event organized by the South African Chefs Association, Free State, to celebrate and honour some of the great chefs and restaurateurs that Bloemfontein has to offer. The five restaurants that were being celebrated that evening were: The Social Club, Warm Karoo, Seisoen, Jack and Jill as well as The Blue Gem Restaurant. Each restaurant was given an opportunity to show off their food and promote their business since 2020 has been a difficult year for hospitality businesses due to Covid-19. The chairperson of the South African Chefs Association in the Free State region, Deon Pastor, who is also the Executive chef of the Southern Sun Hotel in Bloemfontein, shared with the Bloemfontein Courant that the association wanted to promote chefs in Bloemfontein and their food whilst creating a renewed excitement for the industry. For the full Bloemfontein Courant article, click on Courant.

The event was hosted by the Blue Gem Restaurant and what a spectacular venue to host a fine dining event, with a five course meal prepared by some of Bloemfontein’s finest chefs. We cannot forget the wonderful wine that was paired with the food, which was sponsored by Winimark. One of the representatives of Winimark was part of the evening, Simone, explained each wine during each course and even took the time to interact with the guests; making the night very memorable and special. Simone even took the time to fill up my glass when I needed it. This is what you call true hospitality!

Lesley Jacobs who was representing the National Board of S.A Chefs, said during his speech that “food is a great way to bring people together, what better way to do this than bring together hard working chefs in this very difficult Covid period”.

As much as this was a sophisticated and elegant evening, it dawned on everyone when some of the chefs announced that they had only opened their doors just over a year ago and that they were able to survive the hardships of the industry brought on by Covid. At that point I think the guests knew that they were supporting not only the restaurants that were there, but the Bloemfontein Hospitality industry as a whole. I applaud each and every restaurant that kept their doors open during this very difficult time in the world.

At this point you must be wondering… Yena what was your role in all of this? Since we know you do not own a restaurant. I was very honoured to be the MC/ the host with the most for the first Chef’s Table event in Bloemfontein. Being part of such an amazing event that was honouring an industry that I am passionate about made me feel special and recognized. Firstly, a special thank you to the organizers and sponsors of the event for allowing me to be part of the event. Secondly, for pushing me out of my comfort zone, I am so used to being behind-the-scenes looking all rusty and dusty. Finally, for making me look absolutely fabulous that evening.

The menu for the evening comprised of:

Starter: Fillet, Parmesan and Fig topped flatbread with a Salsa Verde. Prepared by The Social Club (Chefs: Jamandi & Machiel Bekker and Pietre)

Second Course: Trout and Smoked fish mousse roulade. Prepared by Seisoen (Chefs: Maradine and Maritsa Whitehorn)

Third Course: Festive chicken Terrine Prepared by the Warm Karoo (Chefs: Isa Myburgh and Genevieve Pretorius)

Fourth Course: Jacks Blowout Burger. Prepared by Jack and Jill (Chef: Jill Nowers)

Dessert: Smoked dome dessert. Prepared by Blue Gem Restaurant (Chef: Andre van Staden)

For the next Chefs table, please keep your eyes out on social media, but rumour has it that the second Chef's Table will be on 1 March 2021. For the full list of sponsors/ the people that made the 8th of December a night to remember, here's a picture with all of their names and logos.

Ps: You are not born a great chef, hard work and determination makes you a great chef.



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