Locally sourced ingredients are great for the local economy, great for the environment, and great quality.

South Africa has a rich variety of ingredients, including indigenous herbs, spices, and vegetables that are not found anywhere else in the world and that was evident at the inaugural Harvesting Heritage Culinary Competition that was held on May 27 at Brooklyn Bridge in Pretoria.

The competition, supported by Nederburg and established with two non-profit organisations and the South African Chefs’ Association, was conceived to bring indigenous ingredients back to the front and centre of professional hospitality and home cooking.

Ten chefs, all based in Gauteng, were each tasked to create a dish featuring some of these and other local ingredients in novel and interesting ways.

While a panel of accredited chefs judged the competing dishes based on their flavour, integration with other ingredients, originality, and overall presentation, members of the public who attended the culinary dinner, where the same ten dishes were served, chose their favourite dish of the day.

Chef and restaurateur Wandile Mabaso, who was declared the winner by the professional panel, made beef shin biltong mousse, with mopane textures, pumpkin and rosemary purée, eggplant, and bone marrow caviare, beef jus smoked in impepho, cabbage chutney, and caramelised onion. Mabaso also earned the award for the best prime cut dish.

The people’s favourite dish was created by Mzwandile Mnyayisa. It was slow-braised BBQ brisket, jugo bean cassoulet, and sautéed morogo, served on cilantro or coriander flatbread.

Meanwhile, Andile Somdaka achieved the award for best offal dish with his beef tallow pastry filled with sweet lerotse pudding. Best plating went to Napo Ramaili and Themba Chauke.

Senior marketing spokesperson for Nederburg Jackie Olivier said creating the competition was a way to highlight the ingredients, their nutritional value, and their versatility, both to the professional chef community and to home cooks.

“The event also gives credit to the supplier growers, who have found ways to earn a living and feed themselves, their families, and their communities. And, through the awareness generated by the competition, we see potential new markets emerging for them as far afield as Gauteng.

“The judges were thrilled with the talent and inventiveness of all the competitors. They’ve shown how delicious our indigenous flavours are and why we need to celebrate them,” said Olivier.

You can read the latest IOL Food digimag here.

2023-06-07T07:39:40Z dg43tfdfdgfd