We are proud to be hosting this event on our farm next weekend!
The 1st of February sees the inaugural Convivium festival being hosted in South Africa. Drawing on inspiration from MAD Symposium, Cook It Raw, Terra Madre etc. The event is conceptualized by Wesley Randles (head chef at The Pot Luck Club) and Andy Fenner (owner of Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants), the event aims to showcase food, chefs and producers in the most primal way possible.
“The way to do this is to close the gap between the end product (a meal) and the starting point (the earth and the animal),” explains Fenner. Together with Randles, the pair have hooked in some of the most celebrated chefs in the country. Luke Dale-Roberts, PJ Vadas, Markus Farbinger, Liam Tomlin and George Jardine are some of the high profile names you can expect to see cooking on the day. But the entire experience is about more than a good meal. Fenner explains that “by stripping out the frills and unnecessary bullshit that sterile cooking environments can lead to, this is a stage for real collaboration, real inspiration and real connection.” Randles adds “we want to create a feeling of camaraderie amongst local chefs. This is a stage to share ideas and to share the common love of our craft.”
The main theme of the event is to shine light on producers and to get attendees interacting with each other and the participating chefs. The chosen chefs have been curated because of strong, clearly identifiable food philosophies. Being a good chef is not what this day is about. Well…it’s not only what this day is about. This day is about a movement. It is about getting back in touch with what cooking actually means. Common problems and concurs of the industry will be addressed in discussions throughout the day. Along with the participating chefs and producers, Fenner and Randles want to explore various topics in the form of informal interactions. Topics include:
What are we doing to the earth and ourselves? We cannot continue to over-consume the way we are. Serious issues need to be looked at like nutrition, overfishing, battery farming etc. but there is also a creative energy that comes from being outside, in touch with nature and ingredients. Experts need to champion sustainable local ingredients, with a big focus on edible plants and herbs. Wastage and over consumption can be addressed too.
Continuing the idea of exploring fynbos and herbs, we need to explore various techniques on how to best utilise them. By looking backwards we can look forwards and develop as chefs and producers. There are various ingredients, meat prep techniques and cuts that have been forgotten that need to be re-introduced. We need to celebrate South African produce and culture by drawing a clear line in the sand of how we want to prepare food. And how we want to serve and eat it.
There are no airs and graces at Convivium. This is a day for chefs to share knowledge, as much as they share food. And wine. Kitchens have a way of becoming isolated environments, working as closed entities. But we need to look around. We need to feed off each other’s ideas sometimes. Chefs who say they aren’t bothered with what other chefs are cooking are a dying breed. There is nothing wrong with learning from one another and taking ideas TO MAKE THEM YOUR OWN. Inspiration is everywhere if you know where to look – this day just makes it that much easier to see.
Let’s not overlook this. The day promises to be a whole lot of fun. This is a time to open a great bottle of wine and raise a glass to each other. This day builds the community by bringing farmers, butchers, fishermen, chefs, winemakers, brewers and bakers together. This can be a brutal industry, but we have all chosen it. And we have all done that because we love it. Let’s recognise each other’s efforts. By first recognising each other.
The day’s events include:
8.00: Pick up from Franky Fenner Meat Merchants, Church Street, Cape Town
9.15: Arrival at Badenhorst Family Wines, Kalmoesfontein
9.30: Meet & Greet
Coffee & pastries from Jasons, Espresso Lab and Rosetta
Cured meats from Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants
10.30: Jorgensen’s Distillery gin tasting
12.00: Spending time interacting with chefs and producers while they prepare for the banquette
14.00: Chefs, producers & guests sit down together to enjoy the feast – with Swartland wines!
17.30: Pick up from Kalmoesfontein
18.45: Return to Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants
Luke Dale-Roberts, George Jardine, Franck Dangereux, Liam Tomlin. These chefs will oversee a lot of the cooking and will cook dishes to compliment pre-planned courses. These are dishes created off the cuff, and will be done by arriving and drawing inspiration from the “pantry”. Tables of herbs, baskets of fruit, Adi’s vegetable garden, a side of pork, a whole forequarter, sausage casings and grinders, fresh oysters, edible plants etc. to be displayed for chefs to make use of.
Vanessa Marx & Kobus Van Der Merwe. Team one.
Markus Farbinger, Liezie Mulder & PJ Vadas. Team two.
Jason Lilley & Ivor Jones. Team 3.
Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants
Buffalo Ridge Mozzarella
Swartland Independent Wine Producers
Werner Karg (farmer at Oak Valley)
The day, including transport (optional), food and drinks is R1500 per head
Please RSVP and send proof of payment to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday the 21st of January in order to secure your place. There are only 7 seats still available.