International chefs praise Maropeng cuisine
The kitchen was abuzz with activity on August 31 at the Maropeng Hotel when 34 international chefs dropped in for dinner, putting Maropeng’s head chef Peter Langa’s culinary skills and those of the Maropeng welcoming committee to the most stringent of tests!
“I anticipated at least some constructive criticism, but the chefs actually gave us a round of applause and congratulated us on all aspects of the South African-style meal that we prepared for them,” says Langa.
“They loved the cream of butternut soup, which I always spice up with cinnamon and orange, and they described the fillet as tender and tasty and ‘one of a kind’. The chefs also encouraged us to keep up the good work we’re doing at Maropeng which was really inspiring,” he adds.
The group formed part of a contingent of 250 chefs from 44 countries – many on their first visit to South Africa – who took part in the Bidvest World Chefs Tour Against Hunger, an initiative motivated by the plight of the country’s starving children.
Chefs’ chaperon Thomas Overbeck was effusive in his praise for the entire Maropeng team, who he said, made his own job really easy. “From their warm welcome to the excellent service, fascinating tours and superb meals, Tony Rubin (Maropeng managing director) and his team deserve every bit of recognition they get for hosting our international visitors. As co-host I was really proud of Tony and the manner in which he took a personal interest in each individual and made sure everyone was attended to.
“I’d also like to congratulate the curator and HR manager Lindsay Marshall who was wonderful and patient while conducting the tours. She gave an excellent presentation and had everyone spellbound at the sight of real fossils. In fact, they so enjoyed the tours that they insisted on a tour of the bedrooms and hotel as well!
“Maropeng’s head chef Peter Langa put on a brilliant spread, which prompted his opposite number from Luxembourg to declare that it was without doubt the finest meal he had enjoyed while in South Africa.
“Our visit drew to a close with a majestic African sunset over the Magaliesberg mountains, a sight that will remind everyone of a most enjoyable trip to Maropeng.”
Mougam Pareatumbee from Mauritius was very happy to finally be in South Africa. “I have always wanted to come here and I am glad that that my first visit has been for such a great cause.”
Ntlotleng Kobue, marketing assistant at Maropeng, says she was really excited to host the international visitors. “I met chefs from Ghana, Egypt, the Congo and many other countries. They are driven to make a change using what they are passionate about – cooking!”
Apart from being treated to a fine dinner at the Maropeng Hotel, the chefs were taken on a tour of the Sterkfontein Caves, followed by lunch and a tour of the Maropeng Visitor Centre.