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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THREE CHEFS IN THE CAPE (article first published : 2001-11-7)

Each year in May, the Cape plays host to the annual Cape Gourmet Festival when global culinaires come together to share their knowledge and skills in the spirit of goodwill.

The three chefs - Ross Burden, Alan Coxon and Aldo Zilli - are well-known to all of us who watch the popular Carlton Food Network Television series. Their professionalism, energy and sense of humour is evident to all aficionados and it was from these qualities that the TV programme Three Chefs in the Cape was translated into this cookery book with Burden, Coxon and Zilli providing the text.

What is even more laudable is that the entire profits from this venture are being donated to the Red Cross Children's Hospital in Cape Town, that alone is a good reason to add this book to your cookery library.

Specially commissioned food and scenic photographers highlight over 50 delicious recipes supplied by these internationally acclaimed chefs. The foreword is by our own well-known Christine Cashmore who is the festival director.

The fare ranges from soups and starters, salads, fish and seafood, meat, poultry, vegetarian and desserts. At the beginning of each section is a list of the dishes contained in the following chapter. The recipes are clearly laid out and easy to prepare, using fresh easily-obtainable ingredients. Each one is modern and different - try Roasted Tomato Soup with Balsamic vinegar or Roast Asparagus with charred Pepper Coulis, which is now in season.

The salads are sublime-looking and summery and the fish dishes cover the full gamut of our abundant varieties of fish. Who can resist the incredibly simple Deep Fried Beef Fillet wrapped in cellophane noodles served with a chilli dipping sauce?

Why? This is the method: “Wrap the noodles around the beef. Deep fry in hot oil. For the chilli dipping sauce, combine all the ingredients and stir well!" Not all the recipes are so brief but all are straightforward and the numbers of servings are well-indicated, ranging from one serving to six.

I have every intention of trying the Quick and Easy Strawberry Ice Cream made with red wine before the strawberries disappear from the supermarket shelves and perhaps I could be persuaded to make Fruits of the Forest Tiramisu for my next luncheon party.

The food styling by Abigail Donnelly is tantalising to the eyes and easy to reproduce and the dishes are enhanced by the masterful photography of Craig Fraser. All in all a good effort by the team concerned, producing a book that has clean, pleasing lines and just asking to be used.

Three Chefs in the Cape is published by Struik and the recommended retail price is R119,95. – Cherry MacIldowie




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