Meeting George Calombaris at the Good Food and Wine Show 2016

This year, hands down, was the best Cape Town Good Food and Wine Show EVER! Without question, the show was way bigger, better, tastier and for the first time EVER, I went back for day 2. Usually I visit for 2 – 3 hours and leave. This year, not the case. Here’s what we got up to:

This year the Good Food and Wine Show had a number of exhibition halls opened for the event. I could see all the way down the CTICC, with the Chef’s Theatre at the top on the left (when you enter) to a wine section on the right. In between were dozens of food stalls, activations, installations, product displays, food stalls, wine stalls and general foodie happiness! Here are my top 5 improvements of the Good Food and Wine Show this year:

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TOP 5 IMPROVEMENTS OF THE GOOD FOOD & WINE SHOW 2016

Seating

I’ve gotta be honest; I have almost never stayed long enough at the GFWS to need seating. I’m sure I’ve eaten the odd snack here and there over the years, but all ‘n all, I can’t say this was ever a major problem for me. Now that I’ve attended the 2016 version of the Good Food and Wine Show I 100% understand why they increased the seating.

We were there from 11am to 6pm on the Saturday and 2pm to 6pm on the Sunday and needed to sit down! And not only did they improve the seating, they improved HOW they did them. This year they had plant boxes and blankets as seats as well as a pop up cinema (for kids and parents to enjoy with food movies on like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and wooden tables and chairs for those visiting the show. I could always find somewhere to sit and it was appreciated.

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Open Chef’s Theatre

This was the best idea they could have ever come up with! Over recent years, tickets to some of the world’s most famous chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Heston Blumenthal and George Calombaris was exclusively available to those who had the extra R600 to drop on their shows. While I understand the GFWS probably have to pay a fortune for these chefs to visit, relying on the odd 100 people, who attend the exclusive viewing, to fit the bill may not have been the best idea. This year the chef’s theater was totally open and fans could watch the demonstrations from as far back as they could squeeze in. I managed to catch George from Masterchef and Siba from Siba’s Table (Food Network).

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Activations

This year the GFWS had SO many more activations; ways for visitors to engage with food and explore all that is wonderful about food. A really fun and interesting one was the Wine Connoisseur wall, where you could squish a rubber pump which would bubble the wine and you could take a whiff of the scent to find the suggested flavours such as violets, guava, asparagus, etc in the wine. Fun!

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Cooking With Chefs

This year, if you were quick and eager enough, you could be one of 24 people to cook with a star chef. And I think it was for free! Cooking with master Australian pastry chef, Adriano Zumbo or George Calomabaris (Masterchef Australia) was a total privilege and joy for all who partook, I’m sure!

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Adriano Zumbo

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This included buying a slice of cake from the biggest cake in South Africa – a HUGE rhino! The funds going to rhino conservation, of course. This WHOLE thing is made of cake!

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Presentations

This year the presentations were on another level. Not only was the Chef’s Theatre open, but there was a Chef’s Table where tickets could be booked, before the event, for visitors to have food cooked by the celebrity chefs. What an awesome idea! I wish I had known about this (I think it’s a new feature and I just didn’t ‘get’ that you could have food cooked for you by the masters!) as I would have loved to have food cooked by George Calombaris.

Chef’s Table

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Eat Well

Here is Wayne Oberholzer, South Africa’s best barista, teaching people how to improve their coffee-making.

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Short Chef Skinny Chef

These are Master Chef South African contestant Siphokasi Mdlankomo and Claire Allen. This woman joined them and definitely seemed drunk! The cooks were so professional and just kept on doing their thing, I felt quite sorry for them cause this lady was dronk! Here she is trying to steal the cooking wine! Maybe she’s a comedian?! :O

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Baking Competition

There was also a baking competition this year with beautiful cakes on display. This was my favourite:

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Albany Presentation and Bread Stand

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Enough Food and Enough Wine

Now this might seem like a ‘duh’ or obvious thing to say, but over the years gone by I have actually found the food stalls a bit limiting. Yes, I DO want 3 ice cream stands, 3 pizza stands, 3 burger stands. I want to try all the food and then discover which one I like best. I want to be able to choose between different brands and not just rely on one or two. This year there was TONS of food at the Good Food and Wine Show. TONS! And I had SO many testers and bought so many things!

Outside Bar and Smoking Section

This makes the most sense to me. People still want to smoke these days and why make them stand outside a back door arbing in an alley way? The GFWS had an outside bar with liquor visitors could buy, seats and a designated smoking section. This way people who enjoy the day, have a bit of a party if they wanted to and enjoy the event even more since it was on until 10pm that night. Hashtag, DAYDRINKING!

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Food Trucks

This year the GFWS had food trucks INSIDE the hall. My absolutely favourite was the Jack Rabbit burgers, DDAAAYYMMMNNN DANIEL! This stuff is good! I had 2 – one on Saturday and one of Sunday and I’ve been thinking of them ever since. Funnily, they burgers were cooked well done (I usually prefer medium) but they were still so juicey. With a touch of truffel in the mayo, cheese, caramalised beef, they were sublime! I loved them! (I have to be honest and say I didn’t try any of the other trucks, so this is a biased favourite 😉 )

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Wine Stalls

All the wine stands were at the far end of the hall and this was good as there were less children around. That sounds like a mean things to say, but what I mean is that I actually think it was a more respectful presentation. Why must kids hang around a wine stand that’s next to an ice cream stand?! And adults who don’t have kids, who want to enjoy a few toots in the afternoon without screaming, could do so in the wine prominent area. It’s by no means a ‘bar’, but I think having all the alcohol together meant that people could taste a few and move on – or stay in the area if they wanted to without impacting people who weren’t there for the wines. Many South Africans don’t drink and I think this was a more delicate way to present alcohol in a mixed audience.

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Desserts

This year there were lots and lots of desserts of all sorts – from fudge to gelato to cakes, what a dream!

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My favourite was the Master Fudge, YUM!

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New Food Products

I enjoy learning what new releases big brands have and I enjoy learning about smaller food companies like hand ground flour! This is exactly the format for this type of thing and I enjoyed learning about old and new food.

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So Much Food!

This year there REALLY was SO MUCH FOOD! From Dutch croquets to biltong, there was something for everyone and it all looked divine!

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In Closing…

With this year’s much bigger format, personally I think R120 is dirt cheap for the ticket. I think they could easily charge R200 as there was SO much to see, SO much to do and the Chef’s theatre was open! If the R200 allows you to come in on both days, I think it’s a fair price to pay. Thanks for having us GFWS, I hope next year is as good as this year 🙂

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