The Waterless Cooking Movement

You might have heard about it from Capetonians on the plane, because it’s all we can talk about. And rightly so. You might have come across the signs in the airport, in your hotel, in the city’s newspapers. That’s the weather for you. It may seem trifle, the stuff of small talk, but its effect is anything but.

Cape Town is in the midst of its worst drought in a century, meaning in just about anyone you meet here’s lifetime.

What is inspiring, though, is how the people of the city have taken to honouring nature and adapting to this endless summer. One such example is The Cellars-Hohenort in the Constantia Valley and their contribution to #WaterlessWednesdays.

Creative agency 140BBDO, and Radio SMILE 90.4FM recently ran a campaign called H2ZERO: a water-saving initiative where renowned local chefs were challenged to create a menu that uses absolutely zero water.

The hotel’s Group Executive Chef, Peter Tempelhoff and Greenhouse Head Chef, Ashley Moss contributed a dish Peter has called, “the best fish dish I have tasted… ever!” The dish even made it onto the menu at Greenhouse, with Peter offering to cook the dish for free. “Just send me a picture of your water bill and the dish is yours,” he told diners.

The aim of the challenge is to inspire locals to be more aware of daily water usage and to adopt weekly water-saving techniques in their own homes.

“We’re hoping that the Waterless Cooking challenges can become a movement in which people, and establishments alike, see that responding to a problem is not synonymous with sacrifice but instead, it can offer an exciting and prospective venture,” says BBDO Chief Creative Officer, Mike Schalit.

In Peter’s Words

Below, Peter talks about small changes with big impacts, stepping out of the kitchen and using ingredients that require little water to grow – reduce the demand, lessen the water, increase the difference.

Below, Ashley separates water from oil as he breaks down why saving water doesn’t start in the kitchen but actually when we source our ingredients.

From The Cellars-Hohenort’s blog, Tips for a Water-Wise Restaurant Kitchen, here are a few water-saving techniques from the kitchens of Greenhouse and The Conservatory.

After all… “What is the most important ingredient in the modern kitchen, salt? Perhaps it’s oil or even eggs? Or what is a kitchen without flour? Some say ‘time’ is without rival as an ingredient…” said Executive Chef, Peter Tempelhoff. “All pretty important ingredients and essential to all menus and kitchens, but after limiting the number of times that we turned the tap on and off each day, it was pretty clear, crystal clear in fact. Kitchens grind to a standstill without it, so preserving it in this H2O lean time is imperative to our industry and essentially our livelihood.”

Top Water-Saving Tips for Chefs

  1. Use melted ice bucket water to boil vegetables. At the end of service don’t throw out the water, use it for the gardens (provided there’s no salt in it).
  2. Ask your chefs to lather their hands with the tap off as this will save litres every day. Also, they can wash their hands with the plug in the sink; this stemmed water can be used to rinse with.
  3. Rinse the washed dishes in a bucket of water and not in a sink. Then, warm up the water and use it to mop the floor.
  4. Don’t use water to defrost foods. Take out the item in advance and let it defrost slowly in the fridge.
  5. Mop the kitchen floor only if food is spilled and only at the end of a service. Sweep the floor regularly to keep things neat.
  6. Keep small containers of water in the fridge to wash fruit and vegetables, discard at night by watering the garden.
  7. Steam food items rather than boil in water, where possible.
  8. Don’t rinse plates off individually, simply run a sink till the halfway mark and use this as rinsing water.
  9. Only run the dishwasher when there is a full load.
  10. Use half-consumed bottles of mineral water left over after service to water the garden.

10 Questions with 20 Degres’ Sud Maitre de Maison

The islands of the Indian Ocean hold a special allure… each one is different from the other, with a cuisine, landscape and history all of their own. We wanted to discover the island of Mauritius through the eyes of a local, not as visitors, but from someone who lives, loves and works on the island.

In our ten questions below, 20 Degres Sud‘s Maitre de Maison, Rackib Jeewoth gives us the glimpse we were looking for.

10 Questions with 20 Degres Sud Maitre de Maison, Rackib Jeewoth

1. What has working at 20 Degres Sud taught you about life, love and yourself?

I have grown up with the Establishment over my 24 years of employment with 20 Degres Sud. It has taught me that achievement of your goals can be reached with hard work and commitment.

2. How did your path lead to 20 Degres Sud?

I was born in Mauritius. After a first course in the Front Office in the 80’s , I started as Receptionist in a local Hotel. I then pursued a  Degree in hotel management and I was offered a career by Dubai Sheraton Hotel where I worked in the Room Division until 1992 and returned back to Mauritius. I restarted at 20 Degres Sud Hotel in 1993 and have gradually grown to take the position as Hotel Manager.

3. The best thing about island life and living and working in particular in Mauritius?

We have a good climate, polite people, and all the other advantages of living on an Island. As a professional, it is possible to lead a peaceful life here in Mauritius, while still working hard.

4. Favourite meal and drink on the menu at the hotel?

Drink: Cocktail Le voyageur. Starter: Lobster opened ravioli, cream spinach and cauliflower puree, bouillabaisse emulsion flavoured with curry leaves. Main course: Black crust half cooked tuna, tomato artichoke salsa with teriyaki espuma.

5. What makes 20 Degres Sud and the North Coast so special?

20  Degres Sud is proudly the only Relais & Châteaux on the Island and conveniently located at Grand Bay. The age limit of 12 years makes it a peaceful place to enjoy a quiet holiday. The Northern coast is known to be the most loved side of the island by travellers.

6. The best time of the year to visit 20 Degres Sud and why?

It’s convenient to travel between November and February for the best weather conditions. September to November is known as the autumn period with the blooming of  the Flamboyant trees. Nevertheless, our exclusiveness as a boutique Relais & Châteaux property, makes our piece of paradise attractive all year round.

7. How have the latest renovations changed the face of the hotel?

A  recent refreshing renovation in July 2017 has brought more functional comfort to our guests. As such, we are now concentrating on further upgrading planning to attend  a 5 Star rating in the near future.

8. What is your relationship with local producers and how do you try to support them through the hotel?

Our chef does his best every single day to make Mauritian products shine, with the help of the island’s passionate artisans. We source fresh sea products after early morning fishing and vegetables often produced specially for our chef’s cuisine. The restaurant also exhibits local artists, musicians and craftspeople every week.

9. Your favourite time of day here?

Morning time to meet all the guests at breakfast

10. Your ideal way to spend a day off?

I love to head out early for some jogging and to catch up on time with my family .

Ellerman House Takes To The Desert


“It is the unknown around the corner that turns my wheels.” — Heinz Stücke, German long-distance touring cyclist

In search of of the unknown, of the wild and wonderful of Africa, Paul Harris (Owner of Ellerman House in Cape Town) and daughter, Nicola Harris, joined this year’s Challenge4ACause in the Damaraland Desert of Namibia. Representing Ellerman House, they pedaled alongside many other faces of the Relais & Châteaux team.

Here is a glimpse at the experience through their eyes, as they travelled across one of the most inimitable and isolated wilderness areas in the world, for six days, covering 360 kilometres on mountain bikes, to raise funds for rhino conservation and other projects in Africa.

For more information about the challenge and charities involved, read our blogs: Great Things Are Done When Men & Mountains (& Deserts) Meet, and, A Wilderness Experience With Heart.

R&C: What was Challenge4ACause like as an experience?  

Paul: It was an amazing experience, with great people. No cell phones. No city lights, so the stars were like diamonds in the sky. Rugged terrain. Spectacular landscapes.

R&C: What were the highs 

Paul: Finishing without falling, the beer at the end of the ride, and being together around the fire at night.

R&C: And the lows?

Paul: The fear of falling along the way… what with the terrifying steep declines with rocks and sand.

For Nicola, it was a similarly amazing week. The highs for her were not having contact with the outside world, “being able to be completely present,” she said, as were the scenery, the night skies and the group of people. The lows were “the five hills in the last 5 km of day two, after spending seven hours on the bike in the scorching heat”.

Ah, so they are human, after all.