Fine food’s Valentine

2009-10-24 00:00

CHEFS need to connect with their suppliers to source the best local produce in the area.

That’s the view of Hilton Durban executive chef Scot Valentine, who puts his money where his mouth is by going to the Shongweni market and buying cheese made in the KwaZulu-Natal midlands and other local produce.

“I’m trying to support local farmers, local producers,” he explains, adding that the hotel intends starting a herb garden of its own, which he and his staff will use when preparing meals. To create the garden, they are working with Marc Gilmer from eThekwini Municipality, who specialises in aquaculture. Soft herbs, like basil and flat-leaf parsley, will be planted round the swimming pool, and thyme and lavender on the Rainbow Terrace’s outer terrace.

One of the local producers Valentine supports is Chrissie Briscoe of Chrissie’s Country Cheese in Eston, who makes English-style cheeses. And at the chef’s table lunch for the press, we got to taste her wares as the final treat of a four-course meal prepared by Valentine and general manager Gerhard Patzer.

The pair joined forces to cook a special lunch to promote the hotel’s Christmas menu after staff challenged Patzer, a former executive chef, to cook a meal. It was the first time in 12 years he had worked in the kitchen, but he was delighted to be back. “I love to cook,” he said, “I feel at home in the kitchen.”

Patzer started his culinary career in 1960 as a chef apprentice in his home city of Berlin, and later, as an executive chef in the Middle East, cooked for, among others, ex-United States president Jimmy Carter and the late Shah of Iran. He has been GM of the Hilton since 1998.

Visitors and guests at the Hilton will be able to enjoy his alternative Christmas dinner — an escalope of turkey breast stuffed with Atlantic smoked salmon trout, cream cheese and fresh sage, served with Brussels sprouts, baby carrots and baked baby potatoes. He first made the dish, which offers a lighter alternative to the traditional Christmas turkey roast, in Birmingham in the UK. Try making it yourself using the recipe printed here.

Valentine, meanwhile, was responsible for the starter of crayfish ravioli partnered with summer gazpacho and the dessert of red wine French toast and home-made clove-infused ice cream. The gazpacho was a real treat and is a dish that Valentine made his own while working in Spain. Try making it yourself using the recipe alongside.

Patzer’s Christmas dish is already being served at The Rainbow Terrace at Durban Hilton. To book a table for Christmas lunch, phone 031 336 8232.


The Hilton and The Witness have joined forces to give one lucky reader a voucher for four people, to the value of R225 each, to enjoy the Festive Buffet Luncheon at the Hilton Durban’s Rainbow Terrace Restaurant, between November 16 and December 23 (subject to availability). To enter SMS Hilton, followed by your name, to 34419. SMSes cost R2. The winner will be drawn on Monday, October 26.


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