Saturday, December 29, 2012

Christmas at 15 on Orange Hotel 2012

Another year has passed me by as quick as a wink. I spent Christmas yet again at the hotel where we made our famous buffet for our guests.

The cold buffet with endless fish, seafood, charcuterie, salads, soups and cheese.

The dessert table filled with chocolate lollipops, mince pies, opera slice, tarts and trifles.

Festive duck liver parfait with cherries and puff pastry.

Salmon sashimi with all the trimmings.

Crab Cobb salad with Ranch Dressing

Huge oysters with Mignonette dressing, tabasco and lemon wedges

Myself and the team that made it happen : )
Merry Christmas 2012

Pictures and article copyright by Tamsyn Wells

Monday, November 26, 2012

Eat Out Winners 2012

The Awards took place yesterday the 25th of November at the Westin in Cape Town, being a chef myself, we all aim to work at a nominated or winning restaurant or of course be on the list ourselves. The restaurants are judged on very strict criteria judging all aspects, food, taste, presentation, service and ambience. The judges for the awards were Abigail Donnely and Bruce Palling a Wall Street food columnist as well as taking the online audience votes into account.

The Winners:
Margot Janse of the Tasting room took the Chef of the Year Award.
Luke Dale Roberts, Test Kitchen won best restaurant.
Service Excellence, Rust en Vrede
Alicia Wilkinson od Silwood Kitchen won the Lifetime achievement award.
Best Asian Restaurant, Saigon.
Best Italian Restaurant, Cafe Del Sol
Best Steakhouse, Carne SA
Best country Style, Fresh at Paul Cluver
Best Bistro, 9th Avenue Bistro
Boschendal Award, Green House at Babylonstoren
Taste Eat Out Bursary, Damien Stemmet

Top 10 Restaurants:
1. Test Kitchen
2. The Tasting Room
3. Jordan Restaurant
4. Overture
5. Rust en Vrede
6. DW Eleven-13
7. La Colombe
8. The Greenhouse
9. Terroir
10. Hartford house

If anybody would like to take me to any of these restaurants on this list, I will be a very happy girl, Book soon as they are all going to be very busy this season.

Go out and buy your new Eat Out magazine for 2013 and never wonder where to go eat again, I use it all year round.

Thank to New Media for the Photo's, Eat Out and The Food Network for partnering up and sponsoring these awards.

Article Copyright by Tamsyn Wells

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Eat Out DSTV Food Network Restaurant Awards

Eat out is launching in collaboration with the Eat Out Awards a full day conference with international guest speakers aimed at foodies, chefs, food crits, restauranteurs and bloggers. It will be held on Saturday the 24th of November 2012 at the Westin in Cape Town. The cost is R1000 for the day where Abigail Donnelly the Eat out Judge, Massimo Bottura of Osteria Fransescana the world's 5th best restaurant on the S.Pellegrino list, an Italian with three Michelin stars to his name. British food designer, Andrew Stellitano who uses all manner of food to create his food designs will teach you new techniques and fashion trends in food.

Local Speakers which include Luke Dale Roberts of Test Kitchen, Margot Janse of Le Quartier Francais, Reuben Riffel of Reubens, Giorgio Nava of Carne and Steven Maresch who will inspire you throughout the day taking home a new passion for cooking.

After listening to these amazing chefs, the following day on the 25th of November 2012 you may attend the Eat Out Restaurant Awards and possibly see some of these Local speakers win awards for their restaurants where they have hosted all of us at some time or another for our special events, birthday's or romantic dinner dates, join them to cheer on your favorite food spot. Tickets for this event are R1250 for the evening where you will be the first to hear who our top 10 will be for the year.

To buy tickets for the conference or the awards please contact:
 Julie Potgieter on
021 417 1257
or visit

Article copyright by Tamsyn Wells

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rafiki Foundation Dinner in Tanzania

I was invited to assist in the making of a six course dinner with canapes and matching wines in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania in aid of the Rafiki foundation who help orphaned children and widow's in need. David Grier from Miles for Smiles was the main host and chef for the evening, David has run many challenges across China, India, Madagascar and London raising money for children in need of cleft palate surgery changing their lives forever.

Our challenge started at the airport where we forgot one suitcase having had extra foods and chocolates as luggage which we could not find in Tanzania for the dinner distracted us. The challenge continued when we arrived at the restaurant hosting the dinner and it was still being built, no furniture, no plates and especially no ingredients yet.

The day before the function, the prep day where we set up the unused kitchen, wheeled and dealed to get our ingredients delivered in time for us to prepare this meal for 120 people in a kitchen, country and with staff we have never met or seen before, teaching the staff how we want everything prepared as the meal matched cuisines from all the countries David has run through.

On the function day we were faced with yet another challenge, a power failure and we had to climb 42 flights of stairs to the top of the building with all the chocolates and boxes in our arms, a searing temperature outside of 35 degrees, fridges off, generator broken and we still receiving deliveries of food, plates and tables but mainly no blenders and electrical kitchen equipment forcing us to hand chop instead of blend and using torches in the fridges made for a very interesting day, pressed for time and all the hiccups taking hours off the clock . In the end it all came together and went smooth creating a day we will all never forget.

 Canapes, coconut crumbed prawns with a saffron and basil coconut cream pipette

Tomato and mozzarella tian with basil and mint pesto

Tuna tartare in a cucumber boat with Kewpie mayo and nori

Lamb kofta with Raita

Cured beef fillet with mango and red onion salsa

First course, Confit and smoked duck salad with mango pearls and pickled vegetables.

Second course, Lobster Tom Yum Goong

Third course, Tandoori chicken filled with Indian spiced farce, black lentil dahl, vegetable samoosa and coriander chutney. This was followed by a coconut, pineapple and ginger lollipop with sparkling apple and fruit salsa to cleanse the palate.

Main Course, Roast Lamb rack, pea and butternut puree, potatoes parisienne and Rooibos Jus

Dessert, Rafiki chocolate pots with fresh berries

It was long and hard work in humid heat, beating the clock every minute but all worth it in the end. We worked with new and old chefs, made loads of new friends along the way and not to forget the treat at the end of the function an ice cold bottle of Moet and Chandon Champagne which we guzzled down at the end of the night.
Thanks to the Rafiki foundation, David Grier, Alettea Malan and the Akemi Team for a great weekend where we raised R1.5 million for the less fortunate kids.

Pictures and article copyright by Tamsyn Wells

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cafe Des Arts

A good friend of mine just introduced me to a little gem in Franschhoek called Cafe des Arts, this was previously owned by renowned cook Topsi Venter who was one of our mentors at the chef school where I studied as well as throughout my career. You will still find her popping in at the cafe on a regular basis.

Cosy, welcoming and vibey, I felt very at home in this rustic cafe situated amongst all the great restaurants in Franschhoek's gourmet valley, it's very down to earth with real food you just want to tuck your teeth into as well as the friendly couple who own the place, greet you and spend time with all the guests explaining how they came to purchase this wonderful place where you can also buy the artwork on the walls.

The menu changes daily and is written on a chalk board, 3 or 4 starters, 5 or 6 mains and 3 desserts had a good mix of everything from light to rich foods and although the linefish which looked so delicious as it whizzed past was sold out on the night I was very happy with my meal.

My starter was pickled fish on crostini with salad, crispy, sweet, sour with an addictive bite. A tasty local dish done well. R65

Another starter, Tomato and basil soup was very tasty, good bread and concentrated tomato flavours. R45

My main course, a smokey cooked to perfection Kassler chop with ratatouille and mustard mash. R95

Lamb's Liver with roast potatoes, bacon, baby onions and balsamic vinegar, this is one of their recommended dishes perfect balance of richness with the balsamic vinegar R70.

Sirloin Steak, mushroom sauce, mustard mash and salad, another recommendation for the evening also cooked perfect. R125

We all enjoyed ourselves,  left with full stomach's and felt like we had made new friends with the owner's Chris and Louise, I hope to see you soon to try out the chalkboard breakfast and lunch offerings.

Cafe des Arts
021-876 2952

Pictures and article copyright by Tamsyn Wells

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Pinotage on Tap

I attended this absolutely fun wine makers festival this weekend at the Diemersfontein wine Estate out in Wellington. It's called Pinotage on Tap and there really is wine on tap in large barrels dotted around the festival area.

There is flowing wine, live music and food outside in the sun on a large estate filled with life and colour, a great party to start off summer in Cape Town. This is also the estate's opportunity to launch the new vintage which went down a treat, very easy drinking and I will add it to my list of favorite wine's.

We were all given goodie bags with food tickets inside, waitresses walking around with bowl foods to keep you full while you wash everything down with wine, wine and more wine.

The best part of the event was when Good Luck played getting everybody on the dance floor jumping around to their fun upbeat songs, you will definitely be tapping your foot if you get the opportunity to see them live.

Loads of fun, I will be buying tickets next year for sure. R325pp included goodie bags, wine, live bands and games and takes place mid October so diarize this date for 2013.

Article and Pictures Copyright by Tamsyn Wells

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Dinner and dancing at Pigalle

It was one of my good friends birthday this weekend and she is always my most glamorous friend, dressed to the nine's so it was fitting for her to host her party at Pigalle with a dress up theme of 1920's pin up. Pigalle is one of the very few places where there is sit down dinner and dancing in Cape Town.

The birthday girl is also the owner of Absolute Collection a wedding and corporate event company so we were all spoilt with goodie bags filled with fun 1920's treats like red lipstick, feather boa's and black eyeliner, stationary on the table matched the theme and we entertained ourselves with Polaroid camera's capturing all the fun of the night.

We had a shortened A la Carte menu and my starter was a moreish plate of calamari, just enough garlic, lemon and butter with tender calamari, we both said we could just eat this all night and I could not resist mopping up the sauce with their very fresh baked bread. The other options were a Carpaccio and a Mussel pot.

For main course I chose the Beef Fillet with red wine jus, mashed potato, spinach and caramelized onions. This was although a standard beef dish that you could find in many restaurants around town, I could not complain about anything, all seasoned perfectly, cooked just as I asked and really tender and juicy. The other options were a plate of prawns which I would have loved to eat at home where you can get messy or Norwegian salmon with mashed sweet potato.

For dessert we were treated to a great birthday cake idea from Cakes by Wade which was a doughnut cake glued together with marshmallowy Italian meringue, just the perfect ending to the meal sweet and gooey, what more could a girl want, worked off by dancing to the live band and lots of laughs. Happy Birthday my friend.

Pictures and article copyright by Tamsyn Wells

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Win R300 from Spar for October fest

So it's spring, the summer sun is starting to shine, it's October which means lots of beer, food and social gathering's for October fest.
Spar has contacted me to give away a R300 voucher to use in any of their stores which is so exciting as it's my first give away on my blog.

Anybody may enter who frequents Spar stores nationwide, use your favorite Freshline ingredients to create a dish that you love to eat with an ice cold beer from your local Tops at Spar of course, for October fest. It may be a starter, main, dessert, Braai dish, snacks or tapas, the easier the better.  First "like" the Spar Facebook page and mine Olivia's Kitchen then just send the recipe to

I will announce the winner on World Food Day which is the 16th October 2012. I will also recreate the winning dish and provide the recipe on my blog.

Final entries must be in by the 12th October 2012 and you may enter as often as you wish.
Good Luck.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Healthy Heart Luncheon at Table Bay Hotel

I attended a Luncheon held by Good Housekeeping Magazine yesterday at the Table Bay Hotel promoting healthy living with talks on keeping your heart strong and a tasty healthy Lunch.

Think Red supported the event with Liezel van der Westhuizen as the entertaining hostess for the day.
I learnt firstly that a shocking 1 in 3 men and 1 in 4 women develop heart disease in their lives and they gave us tips to try prevent this from happening, mainly diet and exercise.
We were also given the opportunity to check our cholesterol, BMI and blood pressure then they use this information to calculate your hearts age, happily mine is 2 years younger than my actual age, I would prefer 10 years younger but it's great considering I used to smoke but gave up 6 years ago.

The menu was heart healthy too with a Peppered Ostrich Carpaccio topped with beetroot slices, pickled cucumber, shimeji mushrooms, fresh radish and balsamic caviar, dressed in a parsley olive oil.

Main course was grilled Blue nose, carrot and celeriac puree, warm quinoa salad with lots of herbs and a fennel and red onion slaw.

The dessert was spiced panna cotta with chopped up pear inside, red wine poached pears, berry coulis and a chocolate heart.

Vital brands also launched their flavoured rice cakes which come in 4 addictive flavours which they cleverly used as welcome canape's topped with guacamole and goats cheese and tomato.

The room and guest's were all decked out in red and our gift bag was amazing it must have weighed about 6kg which was so much fun to unpack when I went home.

Very interesting outing which highlighted the importance of healthy eating and living! Thank you to Flora for the big tub of margarine too

Article and pictures copyright by Tamsyn Wells