Superhero Chefs Saving The Valley
Woolworths TASTE|September 2020
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Superhero Chefs Saving The Valley
Tourism and hospitality are the lifeblood of Franschhoek. When COVID-19 hit, chefs and restaurants turned their hands to a new kind of cooking – a project that needed to feed an entire valley

“WHEN LOCKDOWN STARTED, Chris Erasmus [of Foliage] and Darren Badenhorst [of Le Coin Français] sent out a call on the Franschhoek chefs WhatsApp group. “They said ‘Let’s cook for the community’,” says Margot Janse. Margot is the former executive chef of Le Quartier Français and The Tasting Room, who now runs school feeding scheme Isabelo, Feeding Hungry Minds, in the valley. With schools closed, she directed her efforts towards feeding the community as a whole.

With the chefs on board to help, she contacted a local veg supplier and asked for any surplus they could donate. “This huge truck arrived at 2 pm, and I joked, what if it’s full.” It was indeed. “We cleared out the tables of Darren’s restaurant and just piled it in there. There were tons, half a ton, of some things.” Another call went out on the WhatsApp group: “Now we really need hands!”

Epice, Foliage, Le Coin Français and Maison all opened their kitchens, and dozens of chefs and restaurant staff volunteered. The team put its fine-dining skills to good use to make delicious food using basic ingredients. Large donations of veg, meat and bread helped, and Margot began negotiating for affordable maize meal and other starches. For the first time in years, Bisto made it into these restaurant kitchens.

By early May, some 34 000 kilograms of food had been processed.

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September 2020