Where Chefs Go for Inspiration. And Yes, It Involves Wine.

It is not simply the food or setting or wild animals that we remember fondly about our travels. It is not merely the dance of the nightjars or the twinkle of the stars. It is, very often, and quite prominently, that first meeting with the chef.

The hearty, fiery, passionate and pensive men and women who, like all artists, are constantly looking at life to see what they can soak up and put back into their art. The souls who speak, see, dream, feel and create food, and whose artistry in turn gives colour, taste, scent and texture to a journey, wherever in the world you find yourself.

The art to staying passionate and creative as a chef lies in inspiration, in continuing to learn and discover, in immersing yourself in the world, again and again.

We brought together 11 of our own chefs and one sommelier, from Relais & Châteaux hotels and lodges all over Africa, for a day of inspiration-seeking in the Constantia Wine Valley in Cape Town.

It’s safe to say that they found their muse. In each mouthful, each plating, each discussion between the vines and under the oaks, with our tribe of Africa’s top culinary minds:

Peter Tempelhoff and Ashley Moss, Greenhouse, The Cellars-Hohenort
Paul Nash, The Conservatory, The Cellars-Hohenort
John Roux, Esiweni Luxury Safari Lodge
Anna Ridgewell, Londolozi Private Game Reserve
Virgil Kahn, Indochine at Delaire Graff Estate
Pierre Van Zyl and Raymond Maarman, Zarafa Camp and Duba Plains Camp
Benjamin Maritim, Mara Plains Camp
Charles Hayward, Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat
Grant Daniels, and sommelier Manny Cabello, Ellerman House

Below is a look at this special day. Now, to see what deliciousness the new fodder will inspire…

 

First stop: Constantia Glen

Constantia Glen is a picturesque boutique wine estate, below Constantia Nek, just moments from the Cape Town city centre. 

Second stop: Beau Constantia

Beau Constantia is a boutique wine farm situated at the top of Constantia Nek overlooking False Bay.

Third stop: Open Door

 Open Door restaurant sits on the Constantia Uitsig farm, which dates back to 1685.

Final stop: Klein Constantia

Dating back to 1685, Klein Constantia is set amid ancient trees on the upper foothills of the Constantiaberg, and produces some of South Africa’s top wines, including one of the world’s best natural sweet wines, Vin de Constance.

To conclude the tour, we headed to The Cellars-Hohenort‘s Greenhouse restaurant for one of the finest dining experiences in South Africa. Images to follow in our next blog…

10 Questions with Camp Jabulani GM, Stefan du Toit

Part of Camp Jabulani’s new General Management team, together with wife Chantel, Stefan du Toit has been part of the herd for many years. He’s spent countless mornings with the lions out roaming in the golden light of an African sunrise, endless afternoons with the woodpeckers and rollers in flight, and hundreds of secret sunsets with the elephants big and small.

This is Camp Jabulani through his eyes.

10 Questions with Camp Jabulani General Manager, Stefan du Toit


Five things working at Camp Jabulani has taught you about yourself, life and love?

Interacting with people from across the world who has an interest in our wildlife is an amazing privilege. If you love what you do, what you do will never feel like work. I have a passion people and enjoy every moment I get to spend with guests.

How did your path lead you to Camp Jabulani?

When I finished University I needed to find a interim job before starting my next University course. I started working at the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, not long after starting at the centre I was asked whether I would like to join the team at Camp Jabulani. Needles to say I jumped at the opportunity and well I never really went back to University. I met my wife at the Centre, after working at Camp Jabulani for 5 years we decided we would like to spread our wings in the industry. We got an opportunity in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve which was amazing but not as amazing as the being able to come back to where it all started.

Favourite part about living in the bush and in particular, the Kapama Private Game Reserve?

There is no better way to wake in the middle of the night and hear the Camp Jabulani elephants rumble as they communicate with one another during the night.

A never forget moment from your time at Camp Jabulani?

One evening during an elephant walk we came over a little hill and startled a male white rhino. The rhino started running towards us, with the intention to investigate what had startled it. It happened so quickly, before we knew it Jabulani pushed me out of the way, challenging the rhino. The stand-off that lasted felt like a lifetime but in reality it was only few seconds. The male rhino then turned around and ran off. Jabulani turned towards it in an almost light-hearted way as if he is saying, “Come on, get a move on.”

How has your relationship with Africa and her wildlife changed while at the lodge?

Growing up in Africa one can very easily become complacent about the animals seen every day. Being a guide for a long time, I had the privilege to experience Africa through the eyes of my guests, with a fresh perspective every day.

What is it like to spend time with the Camp Jabulani elephants?

Having worked at Camp Jabulani for 5 years and then leaving, the one constant piece missing was the elephants. Being back at Camp Jabulani is almost as if I came home and love seeing the elephants. Needless to say I try to spend as much time with them as I can. Nothing can compare to spending time with such magnificent animals.

You favourite meal on the menu?

Chilled tomato and apple gazpacho soup.

Favourite time in the bush and the best way to start the day?

Early morning. The best way to start the day is by watching the elephants start their day as they walk out into the bush.

The best way to unwind on a day off?

Sitting at one of the most interesting birding spots on the reserve and trying to identify as many bird species as possible.

What unusual and unexpected things does your job entail?

Unclogging drains in the middle of the night always makes for an interesting evening.

To Protect and to Serve in the Wilderness of South Africa

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To protect and to serve – these words aren’t merely the dictum of US police departments. They’re what drive so many conservationists in Africa, fighting each day to conserve the Earth we call home.

They’re the words of special people like Adine Roode, Camp Jabulani lodge owner and elephant conservationist, and her team, who continue to inspire hope with their efforts to save the elephants and other endangered species of the continent in their special place in the Kapama Private Game Reserve in South Africa.

Following their adventures adds a wild spark to our days back home, in the city, as they remind us that there is always hope as long as individuals continue to, well, protect and conserve.

In Adine’s own words, here is an update on another successful introduction of an elephant orphan to the Camp Jabulani herd.