Delish Sisters from Salt Rock

COOKED is a warm-hearted book about foodies and food. And all funds raised from its sales are for a good cause, writes Ingrid Shevlin

As its editor admits, COOKED in South Africa is not a traditional recipe book. Instead it documents the early food memories and food journeys of a range of foodies from the Cape, KZN and Gauteng, with recipes almost a secondary objective. And, while well-established chefs have been interviewed, the stories of artisanal bakers, food truckers, pastry chefs, caterers and market stall holders are also told.
I like that as often the most interesting stories come from those a little further down in the food chain. And I like the eclectic collection recipes too, as they represent the personal favourites of each contributor. Something close to their hearts – or stomachs!
I bought the book a few months back on impulse even though it was R500. Partly because I liked the KZN contributions and the stunning photography, and partly because it’s a fund-raising project initiated by Wish Upon A Star, a charity devoted to helping disadvantaged children living with disabilities. What better cause could there be?
Inevitably, KZN has the smallest section, but what a colourful bunch of foodies they are.


Crusted venison, one of chef Dylan Smith’s works of art

Chocolate and orange duck breast

The Cellar
Honeywood, 32 Abelia Crescent, Sea Park
Call: 039 695 1036
Open: Tuesday to Saturday lunch and dinner

Dylan Smith is creating fabulous flavours at The Cellar. Frank Chemaly is impressed.

A good friend and I decided we needed to get away from it all. And so we went on a little road trip and spent a few days down the South Coast… exploring, relaxing and, yes obviously, eating. We were far away from truculent teens, demanding parents, creaking plumbing and rotting balustrades that seem to fill everyday life.
I had wanted to go back to The Cellar. I was impressed the last time I ate there and another friend fed me with recent good reports.
Chef Dylan Smith is certainly a talented man and his restaurant is one of the few fine dining experiences on the South Coast.


Succulent chickens sizzling in the rotisserie

Delicious mussels

16 Chartwell Drive, Granada Square, Umhlanga
Call: 082 688 1310
Open: Noon-10pm daily. Cocktail hour 4pm-6pm weekdays

Frank Chemaly and a friend reminiscence over tapas and more at Pintxada. This review first appeared in the Independent on Saturday

A foodie friend wanted to tell me about her holiday to Spain and all the delicious tapas options she’d had there. So we decided to meet at Umhlanga’s very own tapas bar for lunch. To get us in the mood.
Pintxada is a stylish restaurant with distinct dining areas. You enter past the rotisserie with the cooking birds making a tempting statement. The front tables spill out onto the piazza, very European in style, while the bar is a meeting place for many locals. Cocktail hour in the late afternoons is always a hit in the village. In the back, the dining is more formal and intimate, but you can still be part of the vibe and scene.


Ukrainian architect Dinara Kasko uses her design skills to make edible art (pictured below). And it started with a 3-D printer. This is an edited version a story first published in The Independent, London on June 15. Find useful links at the bottom of the story.

There can be few artisans as original as Dinara Kasko. A Ukrainian architect who originally studied the geometry of buildings and furniture, Dinara embarked on an ambitious mid-career change when she decided to apply the things she’d learnt at university to baking cakes.
“I’ve only been baking for five years,” she says. “I just started out making ordinary cakes, but then I thought, why not try to do something new and special?


Reception area at Vasco’s Restaurant with a reception desk modelled on a Zulu pot

All you can eat seafood at Vasco’s Restaurant, which is prepared to your personal pleasure

Ingredients to build your own perfect salad

Vasco’s Restaurant
Hilton Hotel
12-14 Walnut Road, Durban
Call 031-336-8100

The Hilton hotel has relaunched its buffet restaurant and invites diners to go on an adventure with both local and international flavours writes Ingrid Shevlin

Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama may have had only the briefest contact with Durban, but it was enough to inspire Vasco’s, the new restaurant at the Hilton Hotel in Durban.
According to a local tourist internet site, the explorer took one look at the dense Mangrove swamps surrounding Durban’s bay, named the bay “Terra do Natal”, (Christmas Country) and promptly left, having already established a good enough port at Maputo.
But I suppose you could say the restaurant’s food is designed to be as adventurous as the explorer himself and to celebrate the wonderful fusion of Durban’s cultures as well as the best of South African and international contemporary cooking.
Basically, Vasco’s is a buffet restaurant that includes an on-the-spot tandoori oven and a live cooking station. There’s also a limited al a carte menu.
The theme of the all-you-can-eat buffet changes nightly. On Friday, the night we were there as guests of the Hilton hotel, it was seafood. On Saturdays it’s curries while the terrace sometimes hosts braai evenings.
Most people love buffets because it’s easy eating – you can choose with your eyes – it’s a relatively cheap way to eat, you have access to many different dishes and flavours and there is no limit to how much you can eat.
I personally prefer to eat al a carte because I find the range of choice at buffets somewhat daunting and because the food sometimes hangs around a bit, curling at the edges. .