Farewell to 2018

I’m writing this with the sun shining and a real feeling of festivity in the air. Excitement too – at spending a week cooking up a storm for family, and then heading off on holiday together. I’m already excited about 2019. This year has been fulfilling, with the 2018 JHP Gourmet Guide™ being one of the winners in the author category of the 2018 international Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, and the 2019 guide being chosen to represent SA in the culinary travel category in the 2019 awards. Watch this space! We are also thrilled that the guides have sold out in many stores. As we were saddened to hear that so many magazine titles are closing, we were grateful to know that we are creating new opportunities with our Gourmet Guide seasonal online magazine. The summer edition is ready for you to download, print and enjoy – for free! Visit http://www.gourmetguide.co.za.

I know that a highlight of 2019 will be my working trip to Japan, meeting top chefs, interviewing them and reviewing their restaurants. In addition, I will be exploring the traditions, culture and some of the tourist attractions too. It is sure to be a life-changing experience, and I look forward to sharing it with you. In anticipation, I have been visiting some of the Japanese restaurants in Cape Town. A casual weeknight dinner at Tjing Tjing was filled with fabulous dishes that exploded with flavour.

Welcoming our son back to Cape Town at the One&Only Hotel in the V&A Waterfront was an exceptional experience. It started with a warm hello from Resort Manager Roberto Garrone, who has breathed new life into this landmark property. Sipping a glass of bubbles with the commanding view of the new terrace outside Nobu and Table Mountain on one side, and the spectacular African Christmas tree on the other, was a fitting start to a spectacular evening. We then ventured into Nobu to witness the magic created by two-plated chef Harold Hurtada and his team. Instead of choosing sushi, our plan, we ventured into the chef’s menu. It is seriously an inspiring adventure. From fish tacos to Canadian lobster, we savoured dishes that Harold is perfecting for his New Year menu.

Winding our way to Stanford for a wedding was a joyful ride, knowing that work is behind us for the year and that we have much to celebrate. An overnight stay at the beautifully appointed Manor House cottages is respite for the soul. We stayed in ‘pincushion’, and at the popular Stanford Manor Restaurant the next morning, we admired the art and setting before tucking into a scrumptious breakfast. Here warm and generous hospitality, in addition to top-class country cooking, beckons visitors from far and wide. Host and owner Elsabe Nauta makes every guest feel like family.

I hope that your festive season is a happy one. Thanks to our team, colleagues, friends and family for their ongoing support – may 2019 be our best year ever!

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