We Are Not One Story. We Are Africa.

We Are Africa 1

“If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.” – James A. Michener

Imagine the world as one film.

In my imagining, Woody Allen is directing. Perhaps your version is more Spielberg or Coppola, but for most of us, Africa’s role in this film is the same. And it is played by the same actors: Meryl Streep, Robert Redford, David Livingstone and Simba. Four characters to represent more than 50 countries and over a thousand languages. Hotel Rwanda, Out of Africa, The Lion King: those are the films the audience sees.

This year’s We Are Africa event in Cape Town gathered people from all over the world – the directors, the viewers and the actors themselves, so to speak – and called for a rewrite. A reimagining of the story told of Africa. It called for a story told not of but by those from Africa, of Africa, in Africa. For a broadening of our script, for the inclusion of the infinite tales, the truths, that span the continent – tales, truths, that can be told no better than by the people born on African soil. It demanded that we go beyond the single story, beyond the safari, to the humanity.

Not One Story

Africa. Not the film of… That is what we hope to share with you. In our space online and off. Here in our dispatches from the field and in the field itself – on Routes du Bonheur that tie some of the many destinations and experiences of Africa together with one golden thread.

The stories that arose from We Are Africa this month inspired with their courage – such as Levison Wood’s Walking the Nile – and excited with their flavour and diversity – at our pop-up Gastronomic Bar, for instance. Perched at the entrance to the event, our bar united chefs from all over Africa, from the coast of Hermanus to the banks of the Zambezi, allowing for that mixing of old tales and creation of new to emerge as they do on travels through Africa.

Below are some snapshots from the event. But remember, this is only one tale.


“We Are Africa. We Are Not One Story.”

The Collection

Laurent-Perrier

Waterford Wines

The Gastronomic Bar


Virgil Kahn
Head Chef at Delaire Graff‘s Indochine Restaurant

Delaire Graff

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We Are Africa


Ashley Moss
Head Chef at The Cellars-Hohenort

Chef Ashley Moss

Ashley Moss

Gastronomic Bar

Gastronomic Bar

Nespresso 6


Veronica Canha-Hibbert
Head Chef at Ellerman House

Ellerman House

Taste the World


Sungani Phiri
Head Chef at Royal Chundu

Gastronomic Bar

Royal Chundu Treats


Delia HarbottleThe Cellars-Hohenort
Chad Blows – Head Chef at The Marine

The Collection Chefs

Gastronomic Bar

We Are Africa

We Are Africa 2


Thank you to We Are Africa for hosting us, to the incredible Relais & Châteaux chefs from our hotels and lodges and to our partners – Waterford Wine Estate, Valrhona chocolate and Nespresso.

The Wine Rorschach Test – Delaire Graff Estate

Delaire Graff

Wine relieves us from our minds. This is my favourite of its attributes. Which probably says more about me than the wine itself. Such is the nature of this particular poison.

In the way that a Lionel Smit or Dylan Lewis speaks to its audience in a myriad of ways, so wine shows itself differently to different people. Whether looking at a sculpture on the lawns of Delaire Graff in the Cape Winelands or sipping Chardonnay on its verandah, what we read into the work gives us a little glimpse into ourselves. Wine is the window to the soul, you could say… Our preferred style of Rorschach test.

For Rylan Gentles, Head Sommelier of Delaire Graff Restaurant, it’s about the art and the pleasure of it all.

Delaire Graff

Rylan pours us a glass of his white reserve over a lunch of pan-seared cob, squid with hake and lemon mousse, tamarind gel, cauliflower puree, pumpkin and ginger gnocchi, at Delaire Graff one Autumn afternoon, and explains his art to us:

“To me wine is an art, it is special and I look at it as bottled poetry. Every bottle of wine tells its own story. It gives a sense of place and it is giving thought to the time, dedication and hard work that went into creating it which enhance the joy of each sip.

Each wine is different in its own way. There are so many wine styles and grape varieties which have their own distinct smell and taste. My favourite grape is chardonnay because of its versatility. It can be enjoyed with or without food, at lunch or dinner, with friends and family. From the delicate lighter styles to the more full and textured with luscious fruit and aromas, chardonnay is a wonderful cultivar to explore.

Wine is my passion and it’s made for pure enjoyment, bringing people together. Wine is a lifestyle and my favourite thing about is that you can never get bored. There is so much to learn and the wine world is evolving every day with new techniques, vintages and creativity of winemakers.”

Tell us in the comments section what your favourite thing about wine is, what it is that compels you in the search for the perfect bottle, and take a look at some images from our visit below.

Delaire Graff Estate

Delaire Graff Restaurant

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

Delaire Graff

The Mind of a Chef – Meet Delaire Graff’s Michael Deg

Head Chef of Delaire Graff Restaurant - Michael Deg

It is our vision at Relais & Châteaux Africa to inspire positive change in the world through cuisine, hospitality and our relentless pursuit of “l’art de vivre”…

It’s a philosophy shared by the people behind the Delaire Graff Estate in the Cape Winelands of South Africa, and a passion upheld, in particular, by the Delaire Graff Restaurant’s head chef, Michael Deg. 

Head Chef of Delaire Graff Restaurant Michael Deg in the estate greenhouse

We invite you behind the scenes of the Delaire Graff Restaurant, into the mind of one of the country’s top chefs, with the help of foodie photographer, Sam Linsell of Drizzel And Dip’s beautiful photographs of the estate.


Q&A with Michael Deg

 

WHAT DO YOU ENJOY MOST ABOUT BEING THE HEAD CHEF AT DELAIRE GRAFF RESTAURANT?

“Working with my wonderful team of 20 chefs, who all give their best and work hard, long hours. It really is special to see our brigade working during a busy service to one common goal.”

WHAT IS CURRENTLY ONE OF YOUR FAVOURITE DISHES THAT YOU ARE SERVING AT THE RESTAURANT?

“Our custard slice infused with toast, served with banana sorbet, praline mousse, caramelised popcorn and coconut crème. Our head pastry chef, Ándre Steyn, is a master of his craft and really comes up with magical desserts. It is a pleasure having someone of that calibre working with us.”

WHO IS YOUR CULINARY IDOL?

“Padraig Hayden, whom I worked for as Sous Chef in Dublin, Ireland. He not only taught me how to cook properly, he taught me how to work hard. As a head chef, he would never miss a service. He was always the first chef in the door and the last to leave. He also taught me that no job is too small. I try every day to bring this work ethic to my kitchen.”

WHAT CULINARY TRENDS DO YOU FORESEE BEING BIG IN 2015?

“Foraging is a trendy word these days: during mushroom season, my chefs love picking wild mushrooms and return with buckets full of them. I love nothing more than when one of the chefs comes to work with a big bag of freshly foraged nasturtium, a firm favourite of mine. Chefs will continue to strive for fresh and healthy cuisine, because at the end of the day, customers want natural products.”

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE THING TO COOK FOR YOURSELF AT HOME?

“Durban lamb curry with basmati rice, and poppadums with Mrs Ball’s chutney takes me home every time.”

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Michael Says…

“Like everything at Delaire Graff Estate, when I travel up the Estate driveway, I appreciate how green it looks. It flows throughout the Estate, from different scenery to different colours, everywhere you look. I take this inspiration onto the plates. There is nothing more relaxing than walking through the garden and picking herbs for the dinner guests after a long lunch service.

“Every morning, Jerry Gumunyu, our vegetable gardener extraordinaire, comes to us with a list of produce ready to be harvested: from tomatoes, green beans, artichokes, peppadews and courgettes, to a huge variety of salads and herbs. I like to use our estate vegetable garden and greenhouse as a reference for what is in season for the menu. In winter we have an entirely different crop to look forward to than in spring. When we see the first sign of broad beans, we know summer is around the corner. It’s so exciting to live with the seasons; to have such variety just outside the kitchen is a chef ’s dream.

“Beautifully presented dishes are very important. I like my plates to look as if they are flowing with natural colours; I always plate from left to right to represent the flowing motion of the garden. We use a lot of edible flowers from the Estate, which pop with colour and bring the dishes to life. We support local farmers. For example, most of our mushrooms come from Nouvelle Mushrooms located less than 10 kilometres away; our trout is farmed just outside Franschhoek; Ryan Boons from Paarl supplies our free-range meat; and we use Farmer Angus from Spier for our grass-fed beef sirloins. We use only South African produce. It wouldn’t make sense to buy scallops flown halfway round the world. We have wonderful produce on our doorstep, so we make use of it.”

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Visit Delaire Graff and experience the art of gastronomy at the hands of Michael Deg for yourself. Thank you to Sam Linsell of Drizzle And Dip for letting us share these beautiful images.

Have you dined at the Delaire Graff Restaurant? We’d love to know your thoughts…