For the second consecutive year, Brookdale Estate received the coveted Tim Atkin nod for its Chenin Blancs. Both wines in the stable scored above 90 in the 2021 report on South African wines, compiled by the renowned British Master of Wine, wine judge and commentator.
Flagship Brookdale Chenin Blanc 2019 retains a solid rating of 93 for the same vintage judged by Tim Atkin in 2020. It was however the Brookdale Mason Road Chenin Blanc which made great strides this year, the 2020 vintage having broken through the 90’s bar to walk away with a score of 91, improving last year’s score of 88 for the previous vintage (2019).
Brookdale is a very young estate, and winemaker Kiara Scott and her team is working hard at innovation and improving each vintage. A true Cinderella story, the farm was once overgrown and underused. The Rudd family, originally from the United Kingdom, recognised the potential of the property and acquired the 67-hectare estate in 2015. Their vision was to create a world-class country estate producing fine wines, starting with a single block of old-vine Chenin Blanc, currently estimated to be about 36 years old, which was saved to become the maiden release in 2017. New vineyards were planted on the estate, including more Chenin Blanc which has once again proved that it thrives in this terroir, set above Paarl against the dramatic backdrop of the Klein Drakenstein mountains.
The Marine Hotel in Hermanus has appointed Rudolph Blaauw as Executive Chef to oversee all culinary operations, including the famed restaurants Origins and The Pavilion. The Marine, a member of The Liz McGrath Collection, is one of South Africa’s most spectacular seaside hotels and is a proud member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World.
Chef Rudi brings with him extensive experience gained at two Relais & Châteaux properties, including five years as Executive Sous Chef at Delaire Graff Estate’s famed Indochine Restaurant in the Cape Winelands. During his most recent tenure as Executive Chef at Ellerman House in Cape Town, he worked alongside his mentor, Relais & Châteuax Grand Chef Peter Templehoff. Prior to Ellerman House, Templehoff raised the culinary bar at The Liz McGrath Collection during eleven years as Executive Chef at the award-winning Greenhouse at The Cellars Hohenort, sister property to The Marine and The Plettenberg.
From an early age Rudi Blaauw learned the tricks of the trade from his father, who also was a professional chef. The young apprentice cook completed his training at what was then known as The Mountain Manor Hotel in Franschhoek, now Le Franschhoek. During the past 20 years as a chef, he also gained valuable international experience working as a private chef in Qatar and the UK. When asked about his food philosophy, it’s an easy answer for this Chef who concentrates on the quality of the produce, letting that shine and believing that creativity will follow.
At The Marine’s Origins Restaurant, Chef Rudi has introduced a new a la carte menu, which includes what Chef Rudi describes as ‘everyday’ favourites that showcase local flavours. ‘My new menu is inspired by our suppliers and the local produce. I like to have stories attached to dishes and create a menu that’s exciting for diners, but also for our chef team too, encouraging them to experiment with flavours and learn new techniques.’
Paying homage to its seaside location, The Marine likes to support ethical fishing and buy from local fishermen who catch fish by the line. Starters focus on fresh seafood, followed by a section dedicated to a variety of interesting and healthy salads. Main courses are divided into specialties from ‘The Sea’ and ‘The Land,’ with dishes highlighting the produce of the Overberg.
Rounding off the menu is a selection of mouth-watering desserts, including the Chef’s personal favourite – Wesley’s Fynbos Canelés de Bordeaux with Madagascar vanilla ice cream and gummi bears of the region.
‘The idea behind our canelé dessert is for our guests to prepare the palate and enjoy a small honey tasting before they indulge in the dessert. The honey that we use is supplied by Wesley Abrahams, our very own Sous Chef in the kitchen, a beekeeper in his spare time, who oversees the honey production from start to the final product. The ‘honey gummi bears’ are created by using three different types of honey, from different regions. It starts with the multi-floral honey from Betty’s Bay, then Blue Gum honey from Stanford, and our favourite – fynbos honey from the Hemel-en- Aarde Valley. It brings a distinctive and delicious, playful element to this small French pastry as a showstopper dish with an intriguing element of local storytelling to it.’
The Marine has ongoing special offers and themed evenings that are popular with locals and visitors alike, including fresh Fish & Chips Fridays, Roasting Sundays, and Food & Wine pairing events to showcase the wines of the region. Believing firmly that the time to support local is now, Chef Blaauw invites patrons to enjoy his expertly prepared menu of ‘simple pleasures’. This celebration of the produce and talented artisans of the area comes together perfectly in a menu centred around the origins of fine food.
Kyle Macaskill has been promoted to Head Chef at Plettenberg Bay’s landmark boutique hotel, The Plettenberg. With 16 years of solid industry experience to his name, of which the last eleven years was in the kitchens of sister property The Cellars-Hohenort, this appointment, his first as head chef, demonstrates the excellent scope for career opportunities and progression within The Liz McGrath Collection.
Macaskill trained at the South African Chefs Academy and completed an Advanced Diploma in Culinary Arts under Garth Stroebel and Paul Hartmann. His first four years of work experience was notched up in other leading fine dining restaurants in Cape Town, including The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa, where he worked as Chef de Partie. This was followed by a stint as Head Pastry Chef at Bruce Robertson’s fine dining restaurant The Showroom, and Senior Pastry Chef at Mike Bassett’s Myoga restaurant at the Vineyard Hotel.
His tenure with the Liz McGrath Collection kicked off in 2010 with his appointment as Junior Pastry Chef at The Cellars-Hohenort. After a short while he progressed to Head of Pastry at the hotel’s famed restaurant, The Conservatory, and over the years, he worked his way up to Junior Sous Chef and then Senior Sous Chef, a position he held for the past three years.
Macaskill says he is dedicated to his craft and finds it deeply satisfying to create art on a plate. ‘I enjoy experimenting with food and my aim is to execute the perfect marriage of flavours, using local produce to create dishes that will entice the diner’s senses. From sight to smell to taste, I like to create a memorable experience for the diner, leaving them wanting to come back for more.’
New items on the menu at The Plettenberg include Chef Kyle’s Klein Karoo springbok loin with fynbos cream potatoes, red cabbage marmalade, slow-roasted baby tomatoes, field mushrooms, string beans and a port reduction. He predicts that his new Sesame-encrusted Norwegian salmon is destined to become a signature dish too, served with black garlic risotto, citrus rocket salad, umami beans and an orange-teriyaki reduction.
The Restaurant at The Plettenberg is renowned for its ocean bounty, drawing inspiration from the rich marine life that can be found in Plettenberg Bay. The indoor dining section offers beautiful views of the pool and ocean, while the outdoor terrace is perfect for alfresco dinners, with mesmerising ocean vistas – especially at sunset.