Lifestyle / Food And Drink

Wendy Nyoni
3 minute read
28 Sep 2015
12:01 pm

A bite of Christmas in September

Wendy Nyoni

It’s not every day that you not only get to taste delicious food but that it is made by some of the country’s most talented chefs.

Tsogo Sun recently hosted a unique food-tasting experience with a Christmas theme in anticipation of the high demand for festive fare over the Christmas holidays.

The event was meant to show off Tsogo Sun’s best chefs and create a platform for customer-chef interaction.

An invitation was open to the media and other influential guests. Ultimately the experience provided an opportunity for interesting dialogue between the media and the chefs who are usually tucked behind kitchen doors.

Yummy Pork belly platter by Garth Shnier

Yummy pork belly platter by Garth Shnier | Picture: Supplied

The Chefs

A total of nine Tsogo Sun chefs were chosen and tasked with putting together creative festive meals. The chefs included Kenneth Ngubane – executive chef of Jenda at Montecasino; Garth Shnier – executive chef of San Restaurant & Deck at Sandton Sun and host of the media lunch; Clinton Bonhomme – executive sous chef of Lingela and all Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani restaurants; Preshanthan Pillay – executive chef of Back O’ The Moon Restaurant at Gold Reef City; Jade Sullaphen – executive chef of Punchinello’s at Southern Sun Montecasino; Deena Naidoo – executive chef of Montecasino’s Aarya restaurant; Prenolan Naidoo – executive sous chef of The Grill Jichanaat Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani; Phil de Villiers – executive chef of Level Four restaurant at 54 on Bath; and Tarryn Coetzee – executive sous chef of Lucé at Southern Sun Hyde Park.

“We let the chefs come up with unique ideas of how they celebrate Christmas, which they then worked directly into their meals,” said Tsogo Sun general communications manager Priya Naidoo.

The Venue

The #FestiveFeast was hosted at the beautiful San restaurant and deck at Sandton Sun. San restaurant is one of those spaces with a winning combination of an instant calming feel when you walk through the doors and a deck with a breathtaking view.

The Food

An incredibly decorative menu left us spoilt for choice. In attendance I was prepared with one giant appetite and one giant camera to document the festivity.

The chefs have this strange ability to make you laugh yourself into hunger. WATCH:


Imagine having five starters, six main courses and more tthan five different desserts to choose from all in a space of two hours. Needless to say, a piece of every meal made it (happily) into my mouth.

Virgin cocktails, South African wine and French champagne were the main quenchers of the day. The tea cocktail is worth a mention as a favourite of mine. A must-taste for tea lovers who are worried about withdrawal symptoms when summer hits.

Tasty Tea Cocktails | Picture by: Wendy Nyoni

Tasty tea cocktails |
Picture by: Wendy Nyoni

Choosing food favourites was close to impossible but if it boils down to creativity and festive-taste, I will have to go with the adorable (and equally delicious) bunny chows by Chef Deena Naidoo and the Norwegian salmon starter by Chef Clinton Bonhomme.

Tiny Bunny Chows by Chef Deena Naidoo | Picture: Supplied

Tiny bunny chows | Picture: Supplied

The bunny chows were the perfect amount of creamy, sweet and hot, while the presentation definitely Instagram-worthy.

Norwegian Salmon | Picture: Supplied

Norwegian salmon | Picture: Supplied

Norwegian salmon complimented with honey-roasted beetroot – a tart and sweet ‘dance on your tongue’ mixture.

Christmas pudding | Picture: Supplied

Christmas pudding | Picture: Supplied

“We’re extremely proud of how far Tsogo Sun has come over the last few years with the overall quality of its food & beverage offering,” says Kevin Page, Food & Beverage Director of Tsogo Sun.

“We have assumed custodianship of the food & beverage business within the group and we are ensuring that it is a critical delivery factor in the overall hospitality environment; after all, it employs a third of our workforce,” he adds.

Mince pies | Picture: Supplied

Mince pies | Picture: Supplied

As for presents under the tree as per Christmas tradition, the dessert experience was all I wanted from Santa this year.

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