Food and Restaurant Digest #23, 14 July 2017 
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The Luxuries of Fine Dining

There seem to be an abundance of dining “styles” these days, including some new hybrids, like “fast fine” and “fast casual”, and older movements getting modern attention, like “nose-to”tail” and “farm-to-plate”. But what about good old-fashioned “fine dining”?
The website Fine Dining Lovers recently posed the question of what fine dining is to a group of celebrated chefs across the world, and their varied answers point to the fact that there is certainly nothing “old-fashioned” about it - at least not in the sense that there is a strict formula for how to provide it. One chef summed it up as being about “making people feel good”, while another mentioned providing diners with the “best experience” in a way that doesn’t have to be “formal”, “pretentious”, or “elegant”. Chef Mauro Colagreco (chef-patron of the 2 Michelin-starred restaurant Mirazur on the French Riviera) had perhaps the most poetic answer: "For me it’s a big question. It’s a place where you work with memory, with art. I think it’s a place where you find emotions, luxury – but new luxury. Once, to have a garden was common, something everyday, but today to eat something from the garden is a luxury. Luxury has changed."
Apart from the food on our plates, luxury has arguably also changed in terms of the spaces that we eat in, many of which used to signal the “fine” part of dining with their opulent décor - though perhaps none quite as extravagantly as the famous “Peacock Room” in the London home of Frederick Leyland, a shipowner and art collector in the nineteenth century, who agreed to let the artist James McNeill Whistler paint his dining room. He incidentally wasn't too happy with the results, which included patterns inspired by peacock plumage on every available surface! (The original is pictured left, below, and its restored version, on display at the Freer | Sackler Gallery in Washington, on the right.)

That’s not to say there aren’t still many charming, elegant and even beautiful spaces in which to enjoy dining in all sorts of “styles”. This week, Jean-Pierre visits Pierneef à La Motte in Franschhoek, named after South African landscape artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef. Head over to our website to see what he thought of the spaces, and of course the food. (And while you're there, don't forget to check out our series Story of a Plate, and column by on all things table-related, Table Manners.) 

Bon appétit! 
Bits and Bites
Milking it: Speaking of luxury, apparently milk is "more than an accompaniment to cereal", according to the world's first milk sommelier. Though given that the actual definition of a sommelier is a wine steward, and that he is not (yet) pouring milk in restaurants, we'll reserve judgment on this one.     

Food festivals for the rich: If you've got lots of money to spend, it seems the "in" thing to do is to use it to rub shoulders with celebrity chefs and other rich people at elite food festivals, where you might even get invited onto the stage by a real sommelier. 

Difficulties of the restaurant world: Two interesting reads on some of the difficulties people in professional kitchens face, often because of the relentless pressure of working in such high-stress environments. One recounts why a young chef changed his mind at the last minute about opening his dream restaurant, while the other profiles chef Sean Brock (whom some may remember from Mind of a Chef) who recently completely overhauled a hard-living lifestyle which was spinning out of control.

From Zimbabwe to Burgundy: In case you missed it, read the inspiring story of four Zimbabweans who climbed the ranks to become sommeliers
 at some of Cape Town's top spots (La Colombe, The Test Kitchen, Ellerman House and The Cape Grace), and who are now aiming to get to the World Wine Tasting Championships in Burgundy later this year
Local news and events   

Gauteng: Soon all will be revealed, when the winner of the 2017 Steakhunter Championships is announced at this year's awards ceremony on Tuesday 18th July at last year's winner, The Local Grill in Parktown North.

To celebrate Women's Month in August, The Cradle Boutique Hotel - in conjunction with leading Johannesburg wine outlet Wine Menu - is hosting the Cradle of Food & Wine Festival, featuring a tasting event that will be represented by some of the country's top women wine and gin makers. The one day event will take place on Saturday, August 19 from 11am-4pm and is open to the whole family. Full details here.

Cape Winelands: Congratulations to Bread and Wine Vineyard Restaurant in Franschhoek for being included in CNN's list of the most underrated restaurants in the world

And don't forget to follow Rossouw's on Facebook to keep up with these and other local events and specials.
Please share this newsletter with your food-loving friends, and feel free to email us with any queries, suggestions, or eating recommendations!
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