French Say 'Magnifique' to Chef Shaun Schoeman's Kaapse Kos, in Calais

Monday, 4 November, 2013
Solms-Delta Wine Estate
Shaun Schoeman, the Executive Chef at Solms-Delta Wine Estate's Fyndraai Restaurant, recently returned from a week in Calais, France as Chef in Residence in France South Africa Seasons 2013.
Schoeman was warmly welcomed by the French, as part of the cultural partnership programme between the two countries. Over the weekend of 18 – 20 October, he cooked three four-course meals for approximately 110 guests each at the Restaurant Les Grandes Tables du Channel in Calais, a centre for the arts that was once an abattoir.

The menu for the three meals was:
  • Amuse Bouche: Marinated, pan-fried crocodile masala with wild sage, served on Cape-style breyani
  • Starter: Baked hake with lemon pelargonium crust and toasted almonds, served with rich carrot custard, and potato and hake brandade
  • Main: Braised venison leg with buttered cabbage, wild rosemary roasted butternut and root vegetables, with a citrus buchu sauce
  • Dessert: Milk tart with vanilla ice cream, gingered fruit salad and Cape Malay koeksister
"I chose a simple menu that would allow me to concentrate on the flavours and really showcase authentic South African cuisine," said Schoeman. "The guests kept saying 'Magnifique!', and were so enthusiastic about the food. It was very gratifying as I want so much to make people more aware of South African food, both at home and abroad. And, the help I had in the kitchen was top-notch – the restaurant's chefs were hands-on and keen to learn."

Schoeman also held a demonstration of South African cuisine for 20 guests, for whom he cooked lamb and tomato bredie, traditional bobotie, breyani and Cape Malay fish masala.

A highlight of the trip for Schoeman was a visit with Les Grandes Tables du Channel Chef Alain Moitel to the Calais market. "It was every chef's dream, with 40 metre shelves filled with cheeses, fresh scallops in their shells and wonderful lamb, fish and spices," he said.

Schoeman is one of three South African chefs chosen to bring a South African gastronomic experience to France in 2013. In September, Christiaan Campbell, Executive Chef at Delaire Graff Estate was featured as Chef in Residence in Marseilles, and in November, Durban-based Nompumelelo Mqwebu of Africa Meets European Cuisine will visit Paris as Chef in Residence.

Last year, South Africa hosted Seasons 2012, which showcased French arts and culture through a variety of events. This year, France is the host country, and the Three Residences of the Chefs is just one component of a multi-faceted cultural exchange programme.