This year, Littlegig festival (2017) presented a delicious Chef-and-Farmer’s Tasting that paired four celebrated chefs who are changing the way we eat, with two farmers who are changing the way that we think about food.
One of the best parts of going to a festival where food isn’t merely a fringe benefit, but a bona fide vocal point, is that you are fed and watered almost constantly – and it’s not your stock standard beer-and-boerie festival fare either.
MEET THE TALENTED BLOKES THAT MADE THE CHEF-AND-FARMER GOODNESS HAPPEN
The Chef-and-Farmer’s Tasting featured the talents of international chef Rasmus Munk of Alchemist, Chris Erasmus of Foliage, Jason Lilley of Jason Bakery and PJ Vadas of The Hoghouse, all of whom made magic with the fresh produce supplied by farmers Angus McIntosh of Spier and Wayne Rademeyer of Buffalo Ridge.
Here’s why this team of heavy hitters should get you very excited:
Rasmus Munk is a 25-year old gastronomic prodigy who has surpassed molecular cuisine trailblazers like Heston Blumenthal and Ferran Adria with the trademark 45-course meals he serves at his Copenhagen restaurant, Alchemist.
Chris Erasmus trained Michelin-style in London. Formerly the head chef of Pierneef at la Motte (consistently a Top 10 restaurant when he was at its helm), Chris is now the chef/owner of Foliage, a forest-to-table restaurant in Franschhoek.
Spreading his baking talents between Jason’s Bakery, Bardough and Villains Old Ale House, Jason Lilley is the Mother City’s go-to guy for swoon-worthy baked goods of all shapes and sizes. This former head pastry chef of Pezula Resort Hotel in Knysna credits Markus Färbinger from Il de Pain as his baking mentor and has us in tears with his decadent Pasteis de Nata and featherlight doughssants (croissants shaped like doughnuts).
PJ Vadas not only owns the Hoghouse Barbecue Garage, situated in a brewery in Ndabeni, he is also the mastermind behind The Hoghouse Bakery & Café at Spier. But before all this, he won two Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant awards for The Roundhouse in Cape Town, worked at Roger Vergé’s famous restaurant Le Moulin de Mougins in France and, oh, you know, opened Gordon Ramsay’s first restaurant in New York.
Angus McIntosh, also known as Farmer Angus, is a passionate proponent of ‘regenerative agriculture’, which he puts into practice farming vegetables, vines, eggs, cattle, sheep and chickens at Spier Estate in Stellenbosch. His certified organic produce is currently used at some of the top restaurants in the country, and he is renowned in agricultural circles for his innovative ‘eggmobiles’ – large, airy trailers that are moved around the farm so chickens can roam the field freely in search of feed, while roosting and laying their eggs in complete safety.
Wayne Rademeyer of Buffalo Ridge, a former Johannesburg advocate, started farming water buffalo when his local restaurant explained that they couldn’t get a consistent supply of buffalo mozzarella from Europe. He put his knowledge of regulatory law to the test and managed to import a herd from Australia. Then he taught himself how to make mozzarella by attending the World Water Buffalo Congress in 2007 in Italy and travelling around the area, learning from local cheese-makers until he was able to reverse-engineer the product back home.
STOP BEING A TEASE – WHAT DID THEY SERVE?!
You guys, it was a feeding frenzy! Think Caprese focaccia with marinated beef tomatoes and fresh basil; sourdough sandwiches filled with whey brine pastrami and piccalilli; smoked pork belly buns with hoisin kimchi & pineapple; and seared aged beef sirloin with ale pickled onions, watercress and sesame-soy dressing. Oh, and just to step it up a notch – crayfish, lime and ginger koeksisters with charred corn and burnt cucumber salad, followed by buchu and wild dagga marshmallows, served with honeycomb, charcoal beetroot and hazelnut rocks.
This kind of thing is the reason why we are excited beyond measure to be promoting South Africa’s most innovative food and drinks experiences. Keep your eye on Eatsplorer Magazine in coming weeks and months as we share more behind-the-scenes info on delicious foodie events and keep you informed of all things local and lekker. Cheers!
Photography: Kleinjan Groenewald | Writing: Anna-Bet Stemmet