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Elemental ecosystem dining with Chef Greg Henderson

+ Included

Special price for group bookings of 4+

In a verdant furrow of the abundant Bot River valley an 80-year-old grove of Stone Pines stands sentry, overlooking the expanse of the 1000-hectare Wildekrans Wine Estate. Here, with birdsong in the air and the fragrant crush of pine needles underfoot, Chef Gregory Henderson and his foraging team will use the green-tinged quiet of the sun-dappled woodland as a backdrop to celebrate indigenous ingredients gathered in the vicinity. Some distance away, a tucked-away beach along the Whale Coast waits to become the setting of an oceanside repast, a wheat field undulates with the untold promise of a farmland feast, and a mountainside meadow anticipates a long table that will appear in its midst laden with surprising dishes of foraged origins. These are the settings of Chef Gregory’s newest Elementary Ecosystem Dining Experiences. We can’t wait – can you?

Highlights

  • Elementary dining showcasing ingredients in its natural environment
  • 6-course menu paired with Wildekrans Wines
  • Personal interaction with an award-winning chef
  • Immersive experiences in unexpected locations
  • Theatrical & interactive dining encounters
  • Informative presentations on edible ecosystems, botanicals & foraging

Overview

“Elementary dining is all about going back into nature to see, taste and experience heirloom ingredients in the spaces that shape them,” says Chef Gregory Henderson, the celebrated mind behind the multi-course, eco-inspired dining experiences that will take place in the context of four different landscapes in and around Wildekrans Boutique Wine Estate in Bot River.

 

Chef Greg was recently recognised for his contribution to the development of the South African culinary landscape when he was named Best Head Chef in Africa by the World Luxury Restaurant Awards 2018, for his work at Forage Restaurant on Wildekrans. An innovative eatery that takes pride in treading lightly on the earth, Forage (recently acknowledged as offering The Most Outstanding Sustainable Dining Experience by global publication Lux International Magazine) does not have a menu as such. Instead of bending nature to their will, the chef and his team take to the hills and valleys of the estate daily to tease out indigenous ingredients like wild garlic, buchu, and geranium that inspire their nimble foraged fare.

 

“As recently as the 1800s, the Khoi and San tribes that lived in the vicinity would fine-comb the foliage for their daily meals, and we were inspired by this sustainable way of living to create a dining experience that does the same. The weather and seasons determine what we will find, and this, combined with produce sourced from local artisans and producers, underpin our offering at Forage,” explains Chef Greg enthusiastically.

 

Not one to rest on his laurels, Chef Greg has now decided to invite diners to step away from the table and experience his unique brand of regional, indigenous cuisine that aims to preserve South African culinary heritage and culture by creating exceptional dining experiences that beautifully reflects the terroir and culture of the fairest Cape.

 

“We’ve decided to host a series of four elementary ecosystem lunches at four remote outdoor sites on the Overberg region. We will focus on Forest, Farmland, Mountain and Coast on four different occasions, showcasing South African history and heritage alongside the indigenous wild edible foods that occur naturally within each of these ecosystems – all paired with wines from Wildekrans Boutique Wine Estate,” says Chef Greg.

 

The entire point of these elementary experiences are to close the gaping chasm between the food on our plates and the spaces where it occurs naturally. From the moment you arrive at the meeting point on Wildekrans, the slow unravelling of ‘real life’ will begin. Ferried in an open-sided vehicle, you will be able to see and smell the landscape unfolding even before you arrive at your destination, where a single unity table will be set up in a natural furrow in the landscape.

 

As for the food itself? “While certain elements of the feast are in place ahead of time, much of it will be decided on the day according to what we find on our forage excursion,” explains Chef Greg. “Guests can also expect plenty of sensory surprises along the way. A log on the table may hide your first course when you sit down, or a rock-like shape may reveal itself to be an appetiser. We take a lot of pleasure in recreating the textures and shapes we encounter in nature, and this comes into play during these experiences. Our guests will also learn more about the foraged ingredients that feature throughout the feast, how it was gathered and everything that went into its creation.”

 

Photography | Bruce Boyd

Scheduled experiences:

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Stone Pine Story - 6 Oct '18

The first of these excursions will focus on the forest habitats on Wildekrans Estate and take place beneath a grove of 80-year-old Stone Pines on the farm itself. With this magnificent setting as his stage, Chef Greg will showcase the secret and shadowy aromas that permeate the forest.

 

“The forest ingredients include a lot of mushrooms, and perhaps a few truffles from a spot that I have been eyeing for a while. Pine sap and pine needle smoke will infuse the palate, with interesting textures like acorn bread and roasted chicory to punctuate the edible narrative. No matter what we end up serving, it will be theatrical and immersive,” enthuses Chef Greg.

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Whale Coast Tale - 13 Oct '18

For the Whale Coast experience, the unity table will be set up right on the beach, with the smells and sounds of the ocean as backdrop. The coastal dining tapestry will be woven from ethically sourced seafood ingredients and rock-picking finds.

 

“Think octopus, mussels, lipid, sea lettuce, dune spinach, veldkool and num num. However, just because we’re next to the ocean, it doesn’t mean we can’t serve pork. Did you know that the Kolbroek pig came to South Africa via a shipwreck that occurred off the coast of Cape Hangklip in 1778? The spotted pigs aboard the ship were rescued and the descendants of this original drove were recently classified as indigenous to Southern Africa. It’s stories like these, as much as the ingredients we forage, that inform our elementary dining experiences,” explains Chef Greg.

Details

  • Included
  • Not Included
  • Important Information
  • Itinerary
  • Transfers from Forage restaurant to the dining location & back
  • 6-course menu paired with Wildekrans Wines
  • Additional beverages
  • Gratuity
  • Transfers from your location to Wildekrans Wine Estate & back
  • This dining experience takes place outdoors and is weather-dependent??
  • Transfers to the dining destinations take place in an open vehicle along dirt roads.
  • You are going to be celebrating nature so dress in layers & comfortably and don’t forget a hat and sun cream.
  • 11:00 Arrival at Forage at Wildekrans Restaurant
  • 11:15 Freshen up & prepare for departure to the location
  • 11:30 Departure to the Stone Pine forest via farm tractor
  • 11:45 Welcome & introduction (drink and canapés served)
  • 12:00 Seated & first wine served
  • 12:10 First course served
  • 15:00 Last course served
  • 15:55 Prepare for departure back to Forage Restaurant
  • 16:30 Farewell & send-off

What eatsplorers are saying

“The weather and seasons determine what we will find, and this, combined with produce sourced from local artisans and producers, underpin our offering at Forage,”

Chef Greg
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Elemental ecosystem dining with Chef Greg Henderson

Elemental ecosystem dining with Chef Greg Henderson
Wildekrans Wine Estate