Burgers & Hip Hop. Cape Town.

Burgers & Hip Hop


What are you doing this Saturday?

“The wife and I are heading out to the winelands to…”


Wrong answer.

“There’s a really cool bar opening at…”


Wrong answer.

“Netflix and chill on…”


Wrong answer.

Stop being silly now.

What you’re doing this Saturday is coming on down to Shortmarket Street, to eat some burgers and listen to hip hop. Take out your diary, write it in there. Lean back and smile that smug smile. You’re allowed to now. You’ve done well sport.

A simple concept that originally began in Berlin, this festival is pretty basic. It’s very basic, in fact. People dig burgers. People dig hip hop. Let’s combine the two. And so they did. The runaway success in Berlin led to outings in Zurich, Paris and more. And now it’s our turn.

Saturday sees the gorgeous Mother City taking centre stage, with six of our best chefs slinging their own interpretations of the iconic hamburger. Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants is privileged to have been chosen as the exclusive meat supplier for the event, and we’ll be joining an all star cast of sponsors, including Puma, And Union and Red Bull Studios. The event has been pulled together by the good people over at The House of Machines and, true to their nature, they have not gone small. A section of Shortmarket Street will be shut down as a result, with the production being handled by Beanstalk. So expect good things. Expect great things, in fact.

Participating restaurants are:

Jason Bakery

Potluck Club

ASH restaurant

El Burro

Royale Eatery

Beijing Opera

In other words, some of the best young talent we have locally.

I’m not sure if you’re still reading this. Maybe you are. Maybe you stopped at the part when we mentioned burgers and hip hop. Together. In one spot. But know this: tickets are selling fast. They’re R200 and can be bought on Webtickets. Limited tickets will be sold at the door but…come on. You don’t want to take that risk.

Saturday will be a good one. It’ll be a celebration of food and music, for sure. But it’s also a celebration of Cape Town. Once again, we have caught the eye of global cities. Let’s show them what we’ve got.

Go forth and eat,

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How not to be a dick this festive season.


Owning a retail brand is almost worth doing just for the study in human behaviour that comes with it. Standing behind a counter and taking money in return for handing over a product offers amazing insights into society. It really does. You would think it would be a simple process. It isn’t. Yes, some customers are great. But some aren’t. Don’t be a dick this festive season. Follow the guidelines below and not only will you feel better about life in general, you’ll also actually receive better service. Show respect. Get respect. It’s that easy.

1.Be polite. Chances are that person has been on shift for a few hours. A simple “Hello, how’s it going today?” will go a long way in setting the stone for what will follow. So will words like “please” and “thank you”. Remember the manners that you teach your kids? Time to practice what you preach.

2. Be patient. Christmas is crazy. You know that. There’s something in the air at this time of the year that makes everyone act weird. Try and understand where the person helping you is coming from. Ask yourself if waiting an extra 5 minutes is really going to destroy your day. It probably won’t.

3. Be forgiving. Brands make mistakes. People make mistakes. The good brands and the good people will do everything they can to fix these. Try and show some leniency. More often than not, there was no malice intended. Something just fell through the cracks. Listen to the possible solutions before freaking out.

4. Be sure. Some business owners have beards. Some have tattoos. Some wear sneakers with their skirts. There might even be piercings involved. If you want to speak to a manager or owner, ask the person assisting you first if they have the authority to hear you out.

5. Be calm. Take a few deep breaths when things go wrong. (If they go wrong.) Is it worth the swearing? Is it worth the tantrum? Is there a civil, rational way to try and resolve an issue? Explore these.

6. Be kind. Sometimes, just sometimes, a brand does a good job. Thank them for it. Take a few minutes to send a mail, make a call or – even better – tell them to their face. Trust me, it will mean the world to the staff.

7. Be respectful. For some, service isn’t a last resort. It is a choice. Hospitality is a tough career but there are a few people who have chosen it out of a crazy sense of pride and passion. Instead of treating someone serving you like an actual “servant”, listen to their advice. They are not inferior. Ask questions. Communicate. Enjoy it, even.

Most of all, bear in mind that while you’re enjoying a well-earned holiday, that poor bastard sweating it out is having the busiest, most stressful time of the year. Let’s not make it worse for them.

Go forth and eat,


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Call to action: revised National Liquor Policy.

So the newly drafted National Liquor Policy has been issued. It found its way into my inbox through a number of irate restaurateurs. These people are friends of mine, whose livelihood depends on such laws. Hence the…umm…”agitated” tone that was used.

It is a well known fact that running a restaurant is one of the hardest things you can do (many, many more fail than succeed). Perhaps a lesser known fact is how much a restaurant depends on the sales of booze to support it. The successful ones will make delicious food, using clever cost of sales to plate a finished dish. They’ll have mark-ups and margins that enable them to reach a price for the end plate of food. But it is incredibly tight, once you factor in staff, running costs, rent etc.

Imagine taking away any cash made through selling booze.

The restaurant industry would collapse almost overnight. That’s not an exaggerated statement. The industry would die. Your favourite local bistro? Gone. The Italian institution that has been there for three generations? Done. The burger joint that brought some energy into your neighbourhood? Sorry. The second store that the mega popular restaurant on the other side of Cape Town FINALLY announced was opening. Well…it probably won’t anymore.

Never mind the hundreds of hundreds of jobs that will be lost.

Anyway, needless to say the proposal is a massive, steaming pile of shit. Some of the content is outlined below:

“Amongst other things it proposes changes to the following matters that will have an impact on the City’s Control of Undertakings that Sell Liquor to the Public By-law and the enforcement thereof:
• Liquor premises to be located at least 500m from:
o schools;
o places of worship;
o recreation facilities;
o rehabilitation or treatment centres;
o residential areas; and
o public institutions;
• No liquor licences to be issued to:
o petrol stations and premises attached to petrol stations;
o premises near public transport; and
o areas not classified as entertainment or zoned by municipalities trading in liquor.
Places in areas listed above who already have licences should have licences terminated within two years”

In other words, basically every venue with a liquor license will have theirs taken away. It’s ridiculous and unfair and it needs to be fixed. But you can help. You can object. If you agree with any of the above, please say so. Speak up.

You may submit any objections to: nramphele@thedti.gov.za

Go forth and eat,



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Angelo Scirocco.

Luke Dale-Roberts. Margot Janse. Liam Tomlin. Bertus Basson. Any self-respecting South African foodie will know these names well. But who the hell is Angelo Scirocco?

Let me tell you.

He’s the guy who has been hand-picked to represent an entire continent in a global search for the best young chef in the world right now.

That’s quite something.

Quite why this story hasn’t received more attention is beyond me. Angelo has clawed, kicked and scrapped his way to the top of a pile of local hopefuls to now be standing amongst peers from as far as Australia, Norway, Canada and China. He has conceptualised a dish and executed it perfectly. He has remained calm in intense, fierce pressure situations and he has spent every spare second (he is the sous chef at Chef’s Warehouse so his day-to-day life is hardly a breeze) tweaking and trying to perfect an already accomplished dish.

In a few days he flies to Milan to represent the Africa/Middle East region at the San Pellegrino Young Chef Awards. He will be cooking for a panel including culinary powerhouses like Gastón Acurio, Yannick Alléno, Massimo Bottura, Yoshihiro Narisawa, Joan Roca and Grant Achatz. Even to be standing in front of chefs of that caliber is an incredible achievement.

I don’t know Angelo well but I do know this: that guy is a true chef. When I deliver a box of unexpected meat (I do that a lot at at Chef’s Warehouse!), his eyes light up. You can see him thinking how he’s going to cook it. How he’s going to portion it. What he’s going to do with it. He is ambitious, hard-working and humble. He plates food beautifully but he can talk tails, trotters and offal better than most his age. He is part of a young bunch of chefs emerging in this country that we should all be celebrating. I don’t know if his dish will win in Italy but I do know that he should have received far more credit than he has. Just for getting there.

The dish he’s submitted is titled Milk is Thicker Than Water. It is a complex, elegant interpretation of panna cotta, showcasing textures of milk in various forms. By concentrating on milk fat content he has created a light, floral dish with delicate subtleties. It is a beautiful plate of food but – as with any good chefs – flavour was what drove it.

I’ll be rooting for him in Italy. But in my eyes the guy has already won, just for putting South Africa on that stage.

Go forth and eat,


P.S. You can vote for Angelo’s dish by clicking the link below:

Vote for San Pellegrino





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FFMM kitchen staff wanted.

A few months ago I wrote an open letter to a chef. I didn’t know who I was writing it to. I just knew that I was writing it to someone. That someone needed to be fearless, passionate, more than a little bit crazy and ready for one of the hardest jobs in the world – launching a successful restaurant in Cape Town.

I wasn’t ready for the response. It was humbling to see the caliber of people who seemed interested in what we wanted to do. (Simple food, cooked perfectly.)

We were considering our options when I received a reply from a chef based in London. Trained in South Africa, I had already been following her progress with interest. Having worked at some of San P’s top 50 restaurants, she ticked all of the boxes, plus a few more that we didn’t even know existed. Anyway, fast forward a bit. A flight over from London. A four hour meeting. About 25 coffees. We had ourselves a deal.

Needless to say, we are pumped about our plans. We have punched way, way above our weight in getting her on board. But now she needs your help. Maybe. She is recruiting staff who want to be part of the journey, and wrote the below letter as an invitation.

Have a read.

Young Chefs of South Africa,

A few months ago I read a letter written by Andy Fenner. I read it, then I read it again. It was like the letter was written directly to me, I couldn’t believe it. Within the next couple of hours we had changed the course of our lives and had decided to open a restaurant. A rather quick turnaround time, but for those of you who know Andy and myself, you’ll know that we are both passionate people. That being said, when you know, you know.

So here we are. Now I’m writing a letter to you, the young chef looking for their start, that career first, or career maker even. Are you ambitious? Do you want to cook? Do you know where your ingredients come from? Do you want to? Do you want to smoke, pickle and ferment anything your heart desires? You don’t know how to ferment? I can show you. Smoking? Done. Ever wondered what it would be like to break down an entire carcass of an animal? You can.

Now, I’ve been around the block and seen a thing or two. I’m ready for change, a paradigm shift. A step away from pretense and “fine dining”. You won’t find any white table cloths here. Sorry. In fact, we won’t even set the table. There won’t be a waiter dressed as a penguin eyeing out your table, waiting for you to place your napkin down so that he can fold it into a swan or something equally as old school before you return to the table.

We’re going to be about food. And wine. Lots and lots of wine. Twenty items on a plate? No. A foam made from the milk of a virgin goat from the Andes? Doubtful. I’m talking food with balls. Food with heart. Literally, we’ll have heart on the menu.

You’ll be part of a family. A family where the talent is limitless and the opportunity to grow is everywhere. This is your chance to become part of something that may change the way we dine in Cape Town. We, along with Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants and Publik Wine Bar, are going to do something big. A game changer.

It’s not going to be easy. In fact, it may be the hardest thing you’ll ever do. But it will be worth it, trust me.

Have you got what it takes?

What do you reckon? Want to be part of something? Drop us a line.


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“Carpe Diem.”

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

“Life’s a journey, not a destination”.

These were exactly the kind of quotes that I used to roll my eyes at. For me, they belonged on a laminated poster, peeling off the wall of my Matric guidance counsellor. Throw in a picture of a beautiful sunset, a black and white portrait of a sports star, or a mountain range covered in snow, and you’re pretty much describing one third of the first year students’ rooms I saw at varsity.

But that all changed on Saturday.

On Saturday my wife said goodbye to her stepdad for the last time, after a year of fighting Leukemia. I say stepdad, but this is the man who raised her. He made her school lunches, taught her how to ride a bike and – I’m guessing – reacted to her first boyfriend like an over-protective bear. The man was enormous and I know he scared the shit out of me when I first met him. (Nothing a homemade butter chicken and a few beers didn’t sort out though.) Our relationship went from strength to strength from there. Indeed, when I proposed, it was his house that I drove to to ask for permission. 

For a year I have watched my wife and my mother-in-law suffering. They have been victims too. That’s the thing about this fucking disease; it affects far more people than the patient. It affects everyone they know. Everyone they love. Both women have been as strong as possible. Both are not strong enough. Not yet, anyway.

Over the last few weeks, as things deteriorated, I have had lots of time to reflect. Hospital cafeterias aren’t good for much but they’re good for thinking. And those same cheesy expressions, previously meaningless to me, suddenly took on new substance. The exact phrases that used to sound so lame now carry the weight I need. Because there has to be a silver lining to this agony. Surely?

The only one I can see is to stop taking life for granted.

If you have an overseas trip that you’ve always wanted to go on, book it. If you have a bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion, drink it today.

Today is that special occasion.

Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. Take an extra 30 minutes in the morning to play with your kids. Walk your dogs on the beach. Phone your parents. Hike up a mountain. Enjoy the views. Dress up and book the fancy restaurant. Eat the second piece of cake. Drink the second beer. Worry less about work. Worry more about family.

I’ve learnt a lot through this thing. I’ve learnt that humans are stronger than we realise. And I’ve learnt that humans are weaker than we realise. Nobody should have to endure what I’ve seen two generations of women go through over the last year. But they have each other to lean on. If you have that person, make sure they know it.

We lost a great man this weekend. But hopefully with that loss we can gain some perspective too. Life is there for the living. I drained two pints at Den Anker and ate as many mussels as I could on Sunday. I’d normally be starting to plan my work week, worrying about deliveries, deadlines, clients, orders and basically how I’m going to carry on making enough money to keep a start-up business afloat. Instead, I had a drink. And a laugh. Another cliche crossed my mind… “It’s what Ron would’ve wanted”. Finally, finally I think I know what people mean when they say that. You need to feel it to understand.



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Open letter to a Cape Town chef.

Dear chef,

How much do you love your job? How much do you love food? These are two questions that are mutually exclusive. Just because you have a passion for cooking doesn’t mean you have a passion for cooking the food you currently are. If that’s the case, listen up.

Together with my wife, I have spent the last few years of my life building Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants. It has been tough. It has been fucking tough. Self-doubt has niggled pretty much every day and there are times when I wonder if it’s all worth it. But there are also great moments taken in small gestures. The e-mail from a customer, with a video of their young daughter singing a song about Frankie Fenner’s “proper meat”. The stranger who stops you in the street to say thank you for giving a shit about the meat that their family eats. These are the moments that give me goosebumps.

As the brand has evolved we have (I think) improved. When I look back at some of the stupid mistakes we have made along the way, I’m not disappointed. I’m proud. We don’t make those mistakes anymore. We are improving every day. And we will continue to improve. We never stop learning.

With our new store, we also launched Publik Wine Bar. A friendship that merges into a business relationship can be a disaster; people a lot smarter than me will tell you it’s a bad idea. In our case it’s been anything but. With an unflinching philosophy towards promoting specific styles of wine, David Cope has revolutionised the way a lot of people in this city drink wine. And I don’t think that’s an overstatement.

The missing piece to this puzzle – we’ve realised – is a chef.  Working with whole carcasses every day I am more convinced than ever that the opportunity is there for someone to grab this city by the throat and start serving the type of food we all want to cook. The type of food we all want to eat. The type of food that nobody is making properly.

Are you that chef?

There are some brilliant restaurants in this city. Shit, there are world-class restaurants in this city. And they are being run by world-class talents. If you are working as a CDP or a sous and you are learning from these people, then I applaud you. This letter isn’t for you. Stay where you are. Develop your skill set. Learn from the best. And one day you’ll be ready to do your own thing.

But maybe that day is today. Maybe you’re ready to do your own thing right now. If you think you are, we’d like to make you an offer. With an existing kitchen, and access to some of the best meat in the country, we want you to step into two established brands and have some fun serving simple, delicious food. You want to make the best burger in Cape Town? Cool, let’s make that happen here. You want hanger steak on the menu. Done. You want to pickle and you want to smoke? So do we. Roast chicken for four? Yes please. And you better believe there’s going to be some steak tartare action.  Forget about the fact that on any given day you can grab a boning knife and help break down a carcass or two. That’s something not too many chefs get to do nowadays.

Let’s put all our cards on the table. This isn’t a salary-based job. It’s a partnership. With turnover percentages. You get the space for free. And you do your thing. With some hard work you’ll be clearing more than you are now. If you want it badly, you’ll be taking home a lot more. You’ll also be having some fun hopefully.

Think about it. If you’re hearing a voice whispering that this could be for you…well, maybe you should listen.




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I don’t blog much anymore. It bums me out. One of the reasons for stopping/slowing down was the constant press releases, the constant media events, the constant product drops and the eventual decline in the standard of my own writing. I felt like I was writing for the sake of writing. I promised myself I would quit. And I did. The new site was dedicated to posting about food experiences that actually moved me. Food experiences that were worth sharing. Food experiences that made me smile or made me pause for a second to reflect.

Oranjezicht City Farm is one of those.

I haven’t seen something as cool as that in a long time. Most people know it as a Saturday morning market but the real secret is Wednesday evenings. The place is open to the public from 4pm – 6:30pm and all you need to do is rock up with an empty bag and an open mind. You’ll get led around the place and shown what you can harvest. You’ll even be shown how to do it. (Yup, there’s a way to do it). This week I went to town with Swiss chard, baby spinach, baby marrows, lettuce, radishes, red basil, aubergine and kale. I packed a basket full of the stuff. And the cost? The cost of fresh, seasonal produce pulled from the soil? R70. FOR THE WHOLE BASKET.

Woolworths will never see me again.

The setting for all of this is a bit of a joke too. With views of the sun setting over this incredible city that we call home, even if I wasn’t allowed to take anything home I would recommend a visit.

Go forth and eat,



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