The secret ingredient is love

What started as a community project for Bertus and his wife Mareli has now grown into an inspirational movement that is producing thousands of portions of soup every day. Maytham praised the efforts of Basson and the other Winelands chefs for their the selfless contributions, commenting that the quality of chefs who have gotten on board are “top notch” and that they deserve “a long round of applause”. Indeed, some of the country’s most renowned chefs based in the Winelands region of Stellenbosch have stepped up to support local communities as lives and livelihoods are decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Quietly Optimistic” is how South African Chef of the Year Bertus Basson described his mood to John Maytham last evening on Cape Talk where they discussed the new feeding scheme that started in Basson’s home in Stellenbosch. FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: George Jardine, Bertus Basson, Stephan Fraser.

Top talent

The restaurants and chefs involved now not only includes the likes of Basson, well known for restaurants Overture, Eike, Spek & Bone and De Vrije Burger; but also Spier Wine Estate, Neethlingshof (Brendan Stein), Gåte at Quoin Rock (James Would), Jardine Restaurant (George Jardine), Longtable at Haskell (Cornelle Minnie), Lanzerac (Stephan Fraser), Hussar Grill, Blaauwklippen, Table at De Meye and De Warenmarkt. The project is an initiative of Tasting Stellenbosch, a collaboration of leading restaurateurs and wine producers, that joins forces with aid response project Stellenbosch Unite. Both are part of official tourism organisation Visit Stellenbosch, while Stellenbosch Unite is a collaborative effort between Stellenbosch Municipality, Stellenbosch University, SCAN, Visit Stellenbosch and Ranyaka, and administrated by the Greater Stellenbosch Development Trust. Brendan Stein Neethlingshof in action LR_1 George Jardine LR 1

Getting stuck in 

They are supported by Stellenbosch-based event hire company Ten of Cups, whose owner Eddie van Lamp has committed a location and production kitchen with all necessary equipment. Adventure Centre in Stellenbosch has made its vehicles and staff available to help transport the soup from the production centres to the communities. Members of the public can back the project too with financial contributions as well as donations of dry goods. Financial donations should be made to Stellenbosch Unite. For information, visit their website. WhatsApp or SMS messages can be sent to 062 206 8031.
Stellenbosch Unite in action, putting food parcels together in Stellenbosch’s town hall.

Coming together

According to chef Basson, who like many of his colleagues has long been involved with community feeding schemes alongside his regular restaurant business, they realised the pandemic crisis had created a far greater need than they were servicing. “After putting out a few calls, the restaurant community came together in a selfless and truly inspiring way to confront these social challenges people are facing. No child, woman or man should go to bed hungry. We will keep going for the next few months and recruit more chefs to increase capacity and feed even more people.” “We are working towards getting a good volume of food for people. The current need is to produce around roughly four to five thousand portions of soup per day. And we make these portions as healthy as possible. We put together a well-seasoned, nutritious soup, something someone can enjoy on a chilly day. The more we can do in our communities to assist where we can, the better.”
Basson says the ingredients are carefully considered so that the soup is nutritional as well as tasty to eat.

For the community

The chefs and their kitchen crews are souping it up for communities including Cloetesville, Devon Valley, Idas Valley, Jamestown, Kayamandi, Kylemore, Meerlust Settlement, Lanquedoc, Mountainview, Pniël, Raithby, Vlottenburg, Wemmershoek, Jonkershoek and across farm areas. For donations, only dry goods (pulses, soup mix, barley, stock cubes, salt, curry powder, pasta (macaroni or penne) can be dropped at Eike Restaurant in Dorp Street, Stellenbosch, between 10h00 and 17h00 Tuesday – Saturday. Soup vegetables such as onions, potatoes, butternut, pumpkin and carrots are also welcome. The project is specifically a response to Covid-19. The intention is to keep going at least until September.