TASTE OF DURBAN 2013……. TASTED SO GOOD

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“The 2013 Pick n Pay Taste of Durban in association with Orbit Sugarfree Chewing Gum was a resounding success, with the number of visitors increasing by 25%, to in excess of 12 000 people over the three day period,” says Taste Festival Director, Justine Drake. “The support of the City of Durban, our various sponsors and the enthusiastic welcome of the public has taken the event to new heights – Thank you Durban!”

The amazing Durban weather definitely was a crowd pleaser. It was a great day out for all with something for all tastes from Sweet to Savoury.One would have never guessed it was winter that weekend except for the Sunday when we experienced Cape Town weather.I spent Saturday afternoon at TOD with my cousins and friends sampling the delicious morsels. The perfect Durban weather meant it was perfect for the yummy Original Iced cocktails on offer in their funky coloured glasses.My highlight was meeting the amazing Jackie Cameron from Hartford House and sampling her Rissotto !

“The calibre of food in Durban is of an enormously high standard. Locals clearly recognise this and turned out to show their support. The chefs and their incredibly busy teams did a great job and deserve to be celebrated.”

The ‘Orbit Best Dish’ award, went to Amaravathi Palki Indian Restaurant (Palki), for their Prawn & Chicken 65 with Palki Chilli Garlic Sauce. This was based on visitor votes collected over the weekend.

“Our media partners, Independent Newspapers and East Coast Radio, really pulled out all the stops for the event – it was a true collaboration and it showed in the increased awareness and feet through the door,” Drake continues.

Each of the nine ‘pop-up’ restaurants that took part was overwhelmed by the number of people who patiently waited to experience the myriad bite-sized dishes that were on offer.

– Kicking off with first-timers Elements Café at The Beverly Hills, who sold over 700 Fishcakes with herb sauce and were overwhelmed by the amount of visitors over the weekend.

– Café 1999’s biggest seller was the Deep-fried Olives (they went through 45 kg of olives and 20 litres of home made mayo), followed by the Triple Chocolate Brownies. Chef Patron, Marcelle Roberts says, “I loved the vibe; it’s great to have an event where all the restaurants in Durban can get together and show the public what we’re made of.”

– Freedom Café sold 1000 portions of Prawn Cakes over the weekend. “It was a fantastic show for my first time out,” enthuses Chef Patron, Lucy Markewicz. “The vibe was phenomenal and I’ll definitely be back next year.”

– Another newcomer to this year’s show, Palki, used 190 kg chicken fillets and 80 kg of prawns in total, for their biggest seller, the award-winning Chicken and Prawn 65 dish and the Butter Chicken Curry. Restaurant owner, Colleen Govender says, “it was an incredible experience. We were so overwhelmed by the numbers that we had to bring in additional help over the weekend.”

– Durbanites clearly enjoy a good piece of meat, with BAR-BA-COA and Butcher Boys going through a total of 1 080 Ribs, 880 Argentinian Burgers and 760 Avo Dijon Fillet Rolls, over the three days.

– Back for a second year, Havana Grill at Suncoast and Little Havana’s Calamari Fritti with Wasabi Aioli, proved a winner with diners –

1 200 portions of the Calamari Fritti (approximately 120kg) were consumed. A total of 2 720 dishes were sold during the festival, including the popular Pulled Beef Sandwich. Executive Chef, Louise Potgieter, noted the ‘overall enthusiasm and energy of the crowd’, as highlights of the festival. “The vibe was amazing!”

In addition to the chefs participating in the show, guest chefs, Xanthos Giannakopoulos from the Durban Country Club, Brendan Newport and Guy Wood from Craft Trattoria, Author Erica Platter and caterer extraordinaire, Jacqui Rey, took part in a packed programme of demos, cook-off’s and master classes in The Pick n Pay Fresh Living Chef’s Theatre. The ever popular Pick n Pay Wine and Canapé Experience proved such a hit that sessions were booked out within minutes of the gates opening.

Taste of Durban is gaining momentum and will be back in 2014 at Suncoast. If you did not manage to get to Taste of Durban this year , do yourself a favour and go next year.

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