Peter Tempelhoff, Executive Chef of Greenhouse in Constantia, chose an OmniBlend blender for his restaurant kitchen, and we chatted to him to hear what makes it the right blender for him as a chef, and about how he keeps his team motivated to run a world-class kitchen.
Having been in the forefront of fine dining in South Africa for many years, Peter Tempelhoff hardly needs any further introduction. Peter’s career started 20 years ago, and since has earned many accolades and has worked in some of the best kitchens in the world. He is currently the Executive Chef for The Collection by Liz McGrath, comprising a trio of 5-star Relais and Châteaux hotels (The Marine, The Cellars Hohenort Hotel and The Plettenberg), with four restaurants across these properties. The most acclaimed of these is Greenhouse at The Cellars Hohenort, which has just been nominated again as South Africa’s top restaurant as part of the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards.
Peter has been using his OmniBlend I – 1.5ltr blender for a year, and shares what he thinks sets OmniBlend blenders apart: “I love the OmniBlend, as it does exactly what I need. It allows me to fully control the speed, where some other brands have all kinds of programs that I don’t want to use, or 1 single speed. It’s much better value too: jugs of other brands come at the same price as the OmniBlend blender, and with the OmniBlend you don’t have to replace the full jug if only the bearing goes. I’ve been using them for a year now and I won’t go back - they blend bloody well, and that’s all you need in a blender.”
If you’ve been lucky to visit Greenhouse, you’ll know that the menu is ingenious, and Peter tells us that he and his team are drawing their inspiration from nature, nurture, culture, and contemporaries. As simple as that may sound, each of the dishes of the tasting menu showcase talent, dedication and effort to present the most beautiful plates with an array of flavours and textures. We were blown away by the Mozambican Prawn that is steamed at your table while you’re watching, and served with a Dill Mayonnaise, Fresh Coconut, Lime & Crispy Chicken Skin. It’s the components of dishes that Peter is using the blender for, such as a puree or a pesto, and even for grinding fish or chicken for a smooth sausage.
When you opt for the wine pairing with the tasting menu, you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy top class wines from some of the less obvious wineries in the Western Cape, all carefully paired with each dish. One creative sidestep is made with the bread platter (a mielie bread with popcorn butter and bacon brioche with banana cream) that is paired with a Devil’s Peak Brewery craft beer.
The team is what completes the dining experience at Greenhouse, being incredibly knowledgeable and professional, yet warm and welcoming. Observing Peter Tempelhoff on the job, you notice how respectful and constructive he is in leading the team. So what’s his secret in leading a team? “I find that I get better results and that I have a lower staff turnover when the kitchens are calm learning environments,” Peter explains. “If you want great staff you have to continually train, inspire and encourage - it is just the way it goes as not everyone sees your company the way you do, it’s up to you to show them. Once your team sees you are willing to teach them, and give them the personal time, they will make an effort.”
As one would expect, a restaurant at this level is always striving for perfection, and the menu is constantly evolving. The current menu can be found on their website.
Whoever thought that Banting was a hype, soon to be replaced with just another diet, has probably missed its long-term health benefits. Banting for many is a diet that has resulted in incredible weight-loss stories for many that started the journey.
Most importantly though, what Gail Van Niekerk of Banting Blvd stresses, is that there’s so much scientific research about carbs and its relation to the development of diabetes type 2. In South Africa, the diabetes rates are alarming as so many of us have developed diabetes type 2 already, or are at risk of developing it, and therefore it’s critical that we come with alternatives.
That’s what’s Banting Blvd has been doing, developing a range of LCHF (low carb high fat) products, for home use to bake or add to breakfasts, salads, soups, and pastes. It’s been an exciting journey for Gail Van Niekerk, who’s been joined by her daughter Lizanne Van Niekerk who is responsible for the branding and strategy. The Boulevard symbolises how healthy eating isn’t a quick fix but rather a long term journey. Banting is about reducing the after-meal blood glucose spikes that in the long-term increase the risk of developing diabetes, so it’s about keeping your glucose level balanced, on the boulevard.
The Banting Blvd range consists of premixes for breads, breakfasts and treats, flours, seeds, and a few other LCHF basics. Banting Blvd has tried out different methods to optimise their production process, to keep the products as pure as possible without the need for additives. Gail Van Niekerk: “The OmniBlend blenders grind the nuts for the premixes better than any other grinder that we’ve tried, and contrary to the large industrial mills, we don’t need anti-caking agents when we grind in the OmniBlend.”
Apart from the Banting Blvd range that can be purchased online through their website, a highly nutritional range has been developed as an alternative for traditional staple foods. This HEBA (healthy banting) pap, is a good source of protein, high in dietary fibre, low in sodium, grain and gluten free with no added sugar, and this means you can eat less and stay fuller for longer. The HEBA pap was developed to combat poor nutrition, as it can replace maize meal, wheat flour and rice which have lower nutritional value. HEBA contains a mix of ground seeds and coconut flour and is much lower in carbohydrates when compared to common staple foods. It is available at R29 a pack, and can be used to make bread, porridge and krummelpap. Banting Blvd is working alongside the Noakes Foundation in the community outreach around this product, educating communities in low-income areas on healthy eating through the Eat Better South Africa! Programme.
How revolutionary HEBA is, became apparent in August this year, when HEBA received 1st place for Most Innovative Ingredient at the Global Food Industry Awards. The award was presented by the International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST) which represents over 300 000 members across 65 countries making it the world voice of the industry. “It’s incredible to think that a low-carb, basic product is receiving international recognition,” says Gail van Niekerk, product developer and owner of Banting Blvd.
HEBA was developed with personal identity in mind stemming from South Africa’s rich diversity of tradition, ethnicity, culture and religion. “For individuals suffering from conditions such as diabetes or obesity, healthy lifestyles can’t be a luxury,” explains Gail. “Diets most often unravel at social occasions and celebrations where food is central,” says Lizanne van Niekerk, who conceptualised HEBA, “Our dream was that HEBA, and all our Banting Blvd products, would allow people to stay true to their identity and participate in social situations without ever having to compromise their health.”
A portion of all Banting Blvd products sold (all of which in the Real Meal Revolution’s green list), will assist Eat Better South Africa! Programmes.
The Tables at Nitida is an all year round favorite, for it’s big lawn where kids can play till they drop, and a cosy fireplace in winter to warm up and escape the winter chill. In a relaxed setting, The Tables makes for the ideal restaurant to bring your family, or host birthday parties and baby showers. Where The Tables sets itself apart from the crowd, is that while being a family restaurant, it doesn’t take shortcuts on the menu. An original menu that changes every season boast dishes that will appeal to foodies, and that’s where The Tables is hitting the sweet spot of offering a creative tasty meal in a relaxed ambiance.
The woman behind the creative menu is Shani Kleynhans. Shani grew up in a small town in the beautiful Baviaanskloof in the Eastern Cape. She always dreamed of being a chef, and is making her childhood dream a reality at The Tables. After having travelled around the world for a year, she joined Three Fat Fish in Jeffrey’s Bay to study in-house under Brent Mills, who taught her the tricks of the trade. She counts Heston Blumenthal amongst her favorite chefs, and describes her passion for food as her way to travel the world whilst being in her own kitchen.
We asked Shani a few questions to get to know her better:
Which flavours did you pick up on your travels that you love using in your dishes now?
In general I just love bringing together something that people know traditionally how to eat, and then adding something they would never expect from a meal to compliment it.
Have you been experimenting a lot with flavours recently?
We are in the process of changing our menu to our new winter menu from end April for beginning May 2016, so definitely a whole lot of exciting flavours and combinations to look forward to!
Your restaurant is popular with families. What’s your trick to make kids love their food?
We are indeed a firm family favorite with many, I think the trick here is our lovely big lawn next to us, kids run all their energy out on the lawn, and then are hungry and ready to eat up all their food, while mom and dad can just sit back and relax and enjoy a lovely glass of wine and a great meal :-)
What is your favorite food & Nitida wine pairing?
With our new winter menu, many of the hearty dishes we are planning the make will pair greatly with the Nitida wines, you have to come and see what we up to and enjoy for yourself :-)
Many of our OmniBlend customers are foodies themselves; would you be willing to share with them how you prepare your meals?
Customers are welcome on the day if they enjoyed something, to ask how it was made, I’m happy to share so that they can go and try and make it at home. Our Nitida cellar is just around the corner from us, they can grab a nice bottle of wine to go with that :-)
What are you using the OmniBlend for?
We use the OmniBlend for making our salad dressings, purees, pestos etc, and it really does work great for that. Then we also use it for milkshakes and cocktails. It’s an all-rounder!
What is your experience with the OmniBlend so far?
OmniBlend is a really good, high quality product, it’s strong and durable, and the after sales service you get from OmniBlend is great no matter how old or new your blender is, their service is always prompt and good.
Bread & Wine, a name as pure and down to earth as its chef longtime chef Neil Jewell. Behind the simple name goes one of Franschhoek’s favorite restaurants, with an ever changing menu of creative dishes and daring flavours. The combinations of ingredients of the dishes reveal that despite it being hard work, Neil Jewell hasn’t lost any of his great passion for cooking, driving the success of the restaurant.
Seventeen years ago, Neil arrived in South Africa with his wife Tina. Tired of the fast-paced life in London, they decided to travel and eventually settled in Franschhoek. Driven by passion and his love for food, he remembers the aroma of the fresh herbs being delivered to his kitchen from just down the road that made him realise he’d found the right spot. Neil loves South African flavours, which he describes as big, bold and fresh. It provides for a great playing ground to experiment with flavours and different ingredients. A new dish on the Bread & Wine menu that is not to be missed is the risotto of patty pan, almond and mint.
Behind the beautifully plated dishes goes real craftsmanship, and the use of fresh local ingredients. In the kitchen Neil’s OmniBlend is a great helper. He’s applying the blender to prepare Caesar salad dressing, sweet potato red curry, salt baked kohlrabi puree, parsley puree, mebos and carrot chutney, fermented red cabbage gel, popcorn dust, grinding seeds for breads, smoked almond puree, gazpacho… “She works hard!”, he adds, speaking fondly of his blender. Where most blenders process high volumes of smoothies and iced coffees, Neil’s OmniBlend has even been used to make a Trout Boudin Blanc, which turned out to be a winner!
One thing he hasn’t tried as yet, is to use the OmniBlend to create a drink with Môreson's Miss Molly Bubbly, the bubbly with the same passion for life, so we gave that a try. Check this classic Bellini with the Môreson Miss Molly Bubbly.
A real classic, this Bellini cocktail was invented in 1948, in Harry’s Bar in Venice. As the story goes, Giuseppe Cipriani, the owner of Harry’s Bar, was inspired by the 15th century Venetian painter Giovanni Bellini. The pink drink reminded him of the color of a saint's toga in a painting by Italian Renaissance artist, so Cipriani named the cocktail in honor of the painter.
Where some cocktails can leave you confused about what you’re actually drinking, this Bellini is a combination of pure peach puree and sparkling wine. We’re using the Miss Molly Bubbly for its delicate flavor. It matches the sweetness of the peach perfectly, without overpowering, and creates deliciously soft sweet cocktail.
To serve: champagne glasses
Add the peaches to your OmniBlend, and blend on low to a smooth puree.
Add a tablespoon of the puree to a champagne glass and poor the the Miss Molly on top, while stirring slowly. You should ideally have one third peach purée to two thirds Miss Molly.
Elegant, scented and gently sparkling, a good bellini is a fine drink. This cocktail would certainly do well on a special occasion breakfast, or you could serve as a pre-dinner drink.
Tim Spence is the man behind Long Street’s popular smoothie and juice bar, Orchard. He shared his thoughts on the “workhorses” that are integral to his business and why they are a good investment for any household.
If Orchard were a smoothie, what would it contain?
Orchard is such an abundance of flavours and nutrition so it's difficult to narrow it down to one smoothie. Our new smoothie the Willy Wonka (activated charcoal, raw cacao, cashews, organic peanut butter, avocado, lucuma, vanilla, signature nutmilk, hemp protein, coconut blossom, cinnamon) is pretty rad.
What has your experience using OmniBlend been like?
It's been a wonderful thus far. The machines are real workhorses. Jan (the distributor of Omniblend in SA) is a pleasure to deal with - he's incredibly helpful and efficient, which makes the experience of owning an Omniblend that much better.
Would you recommend the Omniblend to someone looking to purchase a blender for their home and why?
Yes, certainly. The blenders are the best value for money on the market and are commercial quality. Many low- end blenders run into all sorts of problems. The OmniBlend is durable and a great 'health' investment for any household.