Friday, August 7, 2015

Wellington Quest for the Best 2015

What is Quest for the Best?
“Quest for the Best” is a competition initiated for Wellington by Wellington, celebrating the wine district’s quest to showcase the overall quality and diversity of the Wine of Origin Wellington (WOW).
Top 10 wines for 2015

Our team at Au'de Hex had the privilege to cater for this amazing Awards Ceremony of 42 people.
I was beyond excited: This was my first ever food and wine pairing ... and yes I know I said that Valentine Day's five course menu was my first and propably the highlight of 2015 for me... Quest for the best came a very close second place.
Au'de Hex beautiful table settings

Growing up in this beautiful valley of  Wellington surrounded by our beautiful mountains and vineyards naturally my favorite alcholic beverage is wine. But nosing flavors in wine and pairing it with food was a challenge of epic proportions.
With the help of good friend and wine expert +Janine Eybers and +Pierre Bester I had great success in identifying flavors and tastes in the top 10 wines and successfully created a menu that made me so excited I hardly slept for three days.

District of Wellington

Here is the list of the top 10 wines in Wellington for 2015:

  • Bosman Family Vineyards – Bosman Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
  • D Retief & Seun – Welvanpas Pinotage 2012
  • Diemersfontein Wines – Diemersfontein Reserve Collection Malbec 2013
  • Diemersfontein Wines – Diemersfontein Summer’s Lease 2013
  • Diemersfontein Wines – Diemersfontein Black Berry Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
  • Dunstone Wines - Dunstone Shiraz 2013
  • Wellington Wines – La Cave MCC 2011
  • Wellington Wines – La Cave Cape Blend 2013
  • Wellington Wines – La Cave Pinotage 2014
  • Wellington Wines – La Cave Chenin Blanc 2014

  • Congratulations

    With only La Cave Chenin Blanc 2014 as a white wine and La Cave MCC 2011 as a sparkling wine I decided to serve these two exquisite wines with the Canape's.
    Pairing the MCC with the richness of salmon, a slight nuttyness from sesame seeds and a sharpness from a lemon aioli worked beautifully.
    The Chenin with a slight woody nose went well with the rich earthiness from chicken liver pate served on a crostini and a slightly sour Sundried Tomato Pesto Risotto Croquette.

    Sesame Crusted Salmon with a Lemon Aioli
    Chicken Liver Pate served on Crostini and Sundried Tomato Risotto Croquettes
    As Pinotage is a red wine grape with a South African signature I really wanted to make Welvanpas Pinotage 2012 and La Cave Pinotage 2014 the star of the starter.
    I decided to pair it with a mixture of white meat.
    A Pork and Chicken Terrine served with Balsamic Beetroot and a Coffee Pinotage Jus.
    While the fatiness of the bacon wrapped around the terrine will cut through the tannins in the pinotage it will compliment with the coffee jus and the earthiness from the beetroot.

    Chicken, Pork and Bacon Terrine served with Balsamic Beetroot and Coffee Jus
    As for the mains, I decided to go with the Bosmans Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 and Diemersfontein Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. Even before tasting the Bosmans Cabernet Sauvignon I knew it's going to be a good wine and I was not dissapointed.
    With a strong smokey and stoned fruit nose with spices like cloves and nutmeg a simple but flavorsome dish sprang to mind.
    Grilled Duck Breast served on Chinese Broccoli with a Red Wine Jus, Sweet Potato and Turnip Dauphinoise  and Traditional spiced Quince.
    The grill gave the protein a smokey taste, the broccoli created texture and freshness while the sweet potato and turnip created a tangy sweet earthiness and the quince simply tied the whole dish together.
    I have never had the opportunity to cook duck breast  for a function. I was beyond nervous. Not just for the pairing but the cooking and getting it exactly perferct...And perfect it was;-)

    Grilled Duck Breast served on Chinese Broccoli with Red Wine Jus, Sweet Potato and Turnip Dauphinoise and Traditional Spiced Quince

    For dessert the Dunstone Shiraz made me go back to South African roots of vanilla and spices.
    Milktart Springrolls served with an Eggnog Ice Cream.
    The cinnamon and nutmeg flavors of milktart with the cruch from the springroll worked well and to add some more spice I made an American Classic into an Ice Cream.

    Milktart Springrolls served with Eggnog Ice Cream

    One week later and as I look back at The Quest for The Best I am still proud with a tremendous feeling of achievement. And that's a feeling that will take me some time to shake off.
    I want to thank my awesone team and front of house for a fantastic service.  
    My awesome team: Rene, Marisha and Jennaylin

    Too Anchen for your last and best function, thanks for all you support and friendliness, I'll miss you!

    A big thank you to Maritha, our fantastic photographer from Something New Photography, whom captured special moments in and around the kitchen at Au'de Hex.

    Bon Appetit



    Wednesday, February 25, 2015


    Ah February, the second month of the year ... the month to celebrate love ... the shortest month of the year ... the month when the East Celebrates their New Year ... for me February 2015 is definitely the highlight of my cooking year.
    For the first time since being a chef, I created my own five course menu, with pallet cleansers between each course while complimenting each finished dish. Being able to cook this menu, single handed for 26 patrons was a dream come true and a proud accomplishment.

    Initially I wanted to do the same as always, make an a la carte menu, but after a brainstorming session around good food and wine with loyal friends Wilma and +Len Nowers, they helped me realize that Valentine's day should not be of choices.  People want to be taken on a gastronomic adventure of good flavors, good wine,fantastic atmosphere and good service...and at Au'de Hex Boutique Hotel and Restaurant we have all those boxes ticked:-)

    My week started off with intense planning, ordering and prepping.
    Excitement was in the air.
    My best South African/Taiwan friend, +Charl Toua  popped round for a braai on the Thursday evening and although the evening got away from me...I was back in the kitchen early Friday morning working hard to get everything ready for Valentine's Day.

    I had an early start on Saturday morning and appreciated the beautiful surroundings with a spectacular sunrise.

    Sunrise at Au'de Hex

    The Hotel was fully booked with couples taking time out to visit our beautiful town and enjoying a romantic weekend break.
    It was a busy morning in the kitchen, all 20 hotel guests had to be fed for breakfast and the small matter of 30 patrons for a kitchen tea all while still making last minute sorbets, rolling and folding puff pastry and blending up Tomato soup.

    The evening came rushing up and I was dressed, pressed and ready to impress in my Green Au'de Hex Uniform.
    All the tables was set and the waiters served all the guests pretty pink pre-drinks.

    First course was ready for serving and looked and tasted amazing.
    Cold Tomato Soup with a drizzle of basil oil and a Buffalo Mozzarella Toastie


    The soup was followed by a Mango Sorbet.

    Second course was my absolute favorite, it's colors just stood out on the plate and the amazing combination and balance of flavors made my knees weak.

     Chermoula-wrapped Linefish with Tequila-flamed Paw-Paw
    The fish course was complemented with a red grape sorbet.
    The third course I was excited for the opportunity to play around with Asian flavors and showcase what I have learned and enjoyed eating during my stay in Taiwan.
    Ginger Pork dumplings served with a Spicy Peanut Dipping Sauce
    We followed up with a Litchi Sorbet, cutting gently through the spiciness of the pork course.
    The meat and fourth course was a very French inspired dish and I was very drawn to the name of the dish: Grillé Poussin Breasts, Pâté de foie gras.

    Roasted Chicken Breasts, stuffed with duck Liver Pâte, served with Oyster Mushrooms and Lime and Wholegrain Mustard Dressing
    The final sorbet was a gooseberry sorbet and the tartness of the sorbet worked well after a very rich meaty course.

    Sorbets from left to right: Mango, Grape, Litchi and Gooseberry

    Dessert was the final course. I was very impressed with the combinations of the whole dish and how every element complimented each other.

    Baby Apple Tartlet served with a slice of Mature Cheddar Cheese and a shot of Laborie Alambic Brandy
    A very happy, relieved and proud Chef
    Magic Moments 14 February 2015
    As I mentioned earlier, this will probably be my cooking highlight for 2015 and I will look back in all my years to come and be proud of how this menu and food looked and tasted.
    I want to thank the whole team at Au'de Hex from front of house to my fabulous Kitchen team. A big shout out to manager +Janine Eybers for always being calm and in control.
    A very big thank you to our very talented up and coming photographer, Marié Bester for taking all the beautiful pictures showcased in this blog post.
    Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoyed the glimpse into the kitchen where I spend most of my waking hours doing what I love.
    Lots of cooking Love

    Sunday, September 14, 2014

    30 Dae Later

    Een maand in die kombuis het gekom en gegaan...en ek vra myself af: Kan dit wees?? Soos die Ingelse sê: "Time flies when you're having fun."

    Soos ek genoem het in die vorige blog skrywe het ons by Au'de Vine 'n 60ste Verjaarsdag onbyt wat opkom. Dit was die ideale dag vir partytjie hou: Lente was duidelik in die lug, die gaste was jolig en opgedollie en die kombuis was besig om te KOOK!!

    Perfekte Lente dag, waar gesiggies pronk in die sonlig.

    Als wat jy nodige het vir 'n heerlike ontbyt.

    Ontbyt was net 'n voorsmakie vir die opwindende dag wat voorlê...Au'de Hex boutique Hotel het 8 gaste vir "Create a Plate" die Saterdag aand gehad en ons as kombuis het geleentheid gehad om 'n A la Carte spyskaart aan hulle te bied en voor te berei. Alles in Engels natuurlik. My senuwees was gedaan om mondelings voor die gaste deur die spyskaart te gaan...MAAR ek het dit gedoen en na die voorgereg het dit soos die mees natuurlikste ding gevoel om oor die disse wat ek met liefde en sorg geskep en voorberei het te praat.
    My Trots op Papier

    In die oomblik tydens die spyskaart aanbieding.

    Voorgereg keuses: Ravioli bo en Risotto onder

    Hoofgereg keuses: Salmon links en Steak regs

    Nagereg keuses: Fondant links en Brûleé regs

    Tussen my en my ander 2 linker hande by Au'de Hex, Jeanine en Blanche het ons geraai watter van die disse gaan die mees gewildste wees. Soos met alles moes ek my innerlike gevoel vertrou het, maar omdat die groep net uit dames bestaan het kon ek nie regtig my vinger op die top disse plaas nie. Blanche was die naaste aan reg en ek wil van die geleentheid gebruik maak om dankie te sê dat sy my altyd so getrou en kalm in die kombuis kom uithelp.
    Dankbaar vir Jeanine, want sy is my steun pilaar vir wanneer ek so bietjie stoom moet afblaas.

    Ek en Jeanine

    Die hele tjerrie op die koek was die geleentheid om saam met Mariette Crafford, bekende Suid-Afrikaanse kos skrywer en kenner te kook. Haar plig was om die volgende dag die dames te bekoor met 'n "hands on" kook sessie.
    Dit was n absolute voorreg om haar te ontmoet en in suiwer Afrikaans te kook en te praat.

    Pret in die kombuis saam met Mariette Crafford

    Vir een maand het ek absoluut net soveel pret in en om die kombuis gehad...ek kan nie wag vir die volgende 30 dae nie. Funksies en troues is besig om op te tel, en dit bring my meer vreugde as ooit.

    Dankie vir die lees, dankie vir die ondersteuning en die van julle wat saam eet...Geseënd is julle!!

    Groete en Liefde

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

    Will the Chef jacket still fit??

    Arriving back in Cape Town South Africa, the beautiful town of Wellington to be precise, I was determined to hit the ground running...My behind was itching to get back in a kitchen and I wasted no time.

    Three days after landing I went for my first interview at Majeka House in Stellenbosch. This 5star Guesthouse is rated under South Africa's top ten 5star hotels. Although I'm not qualified in pastry I was very honored to be invited to an interview for a pastry chef position. The interview with Head Chef Tanya Kruger included a cook-off of baking, naturally. I will only add that I failed at providing the WoW factor on any of my two dishes.
    Which led to me not getting the job as the pastry chef at Majeka House.
    I felt disappointed, only because my two dishes lacked in enthusiasm and creativity.

    Enterance to Majeka House 

    It was back to the drawing board for me. I went back to basics and started studying basic recipes and cooking methods and how you can adapt them to create a magical dish on a plate and on the palate.
    Lucky for me my next interview was only two days later at the new and beautiful Boutique Hotel and Restaurant on the Au'de Hex Farm, a stones throw from where I live and used to work at Twist Some More.

    View of the Au'de Hex jetty with magnificent Lemietberg mountain range.

    Stop in your tracks Sunrise...everyday when it's not raining.

    It is a Head Chef position, which includes all menu planning and costing which will be very new to me, but who doesn't like a challenge, and I believed that this job will be perfect for me helping the creative juices to flow and to get my career back on track.
    The first step on the premises and it's surroundings took my breath amazes me how even after growing up in this beautiful town it just gets better and more breathtaking.

    View of the Hotel and garden from the kitchen.

    Three days later I received the call: " We have decided on you, Mariza to be our Chef at Au'd Hex and will be delighted if you could join our team."
    I was so happy I felt like being an acrobat for a minute...but only for a minute.

    I was honored to start at Au'de Vine restaurant, leading the kitchen for the French inspired restaurant and hotel to bigger and better things.
    Au'de Hex is known for a place where TIME STANDS STILL, AND YOU CAN SMELL THE ROSES.
    I can simply not argue with that.

    During my first week I have been flying high like a kite.
    -I have been creating and costing new menus,
    -Making old, reliable and trusted favorite dishes
    Good Old Fashioned Eggs Benedict.
    Chocolate and vanilla Baked Cheese Cake

    -I had my first function of 56 patrons.
    Doing what I love most...functions.

    -and I baked my favorite cake, A Carrot Cake.

    I have an fantastic second week lined up.
    A breakfast function awaits me on Saturday morning ... my hard work in menu planning, costing and ordering will all be put on paper with a NEW menu launch on Saturday 30 August 2014.

    To all interested in my Culinary journey at Au'de Hex, hold thumbs all goes well for the build up to the new menu and stay tuned for more photo's and kitchen stories.
    A big Thank you to friends who has visited me at restaurant: Len, Wilma, Stephen, Sam and you guys.

    Happy to say: The chef Jacket still fits perfectly...
    Cooking love