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It’s the start of something new and exciting, friends!  Chef Privé goes all official and sexified at it’s new home.

 

Designed by the formidable and ultra cool cat, Neal Tosefsky, with image design by Angie van Zyl & photography by Ernst Heusser, Chef Privé gets transformed into a beautiful butterfly.

 

I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

 

– Chef Privé

D’Espresso, NYC

Located in New York City, this uniquely designed coffee shop completely caught my eye.  It smacks of innovative interior design & architectural genius.  Walls, floor & ceiling are adorned with wallpaper that envokes bewildered glances, head nods & impressed smiles.  Refrigerated glass counters display the day’s food offering, and a nifty front refrigeration panel invites customers to grab their own drinks.

The lighting is fairly sterile, yet works well with the elements of wallpaper design, wooden paneling, subtle furniture & stainless steel throughout the service area.

Find D’Espresso on 317 Madison Ave at 42nd Street, NYC.

* D’Espresso is the brainchild of the architects & design gurus at Nema Workshop.  Images courtesy of & credits due to The Cool Hunter for featuring this little gem!

 

I’ve been doing a lot of research into kids & baby food recently, and came across this incredible brand.  Ella’s Kitchen is an organic baby & toddler food brand available throughout Britain & parts of Europe, with a recent foray into the American market.

As the name suggests, the focus at the beginning of this venture was for eleven year old Ella & her brother.  Ella’s parents wanted their daughter & her generation to be exposed to healthy, delicious food that also had an element of cool in it.  Food that oozed goodness, yet was convenient for the parents buying it.

The range spans the 3 stages of baby & toddler food, as well as offering a range of breakfast items, snacks, cooking sauces & smoothies.  Apart from the awesome contents, the packaging is seriously fab, as is the website.

The range has been given the thumbs up by a consulting dietician & has been developed using methods of cooking & packaging that gives the products a long shelf life, but ensures that all the nutrients still remain & is safe for little person consumption.  There are some really adventurous flavour combinations available, but none that I think a child would turn their nose up at were they fed these delightful treats.

Ella’s Kitchen definitely secure their spot in The Cool Corner.

It’s official!  Chef Privé is going viral, thanks to the cool kids over at NoMu and their hugely popular pin-up poster competitions.  If you haven’t heard about this splendid project, you must have just crawled out from under a rock. Seriously!?   For your sake, let’s take a moment to recap on some of the awesomery, shall we?

2oceansvibe got the party started with the very cheeky “Touch Me On My Poster” campaign, and along the way NoMu have featured acclaimed South African bloggers, like IWantThat, Brandslut, Beatnik Bazaar & CapeTownGirl, to mention a few.  The prizes on offer have been completely ridiculous:  decadent NoMu hampers, designer handbags, luxury hotel stays, designer sunglasses, dangerously large quantities of alcohol, vouchers for some of Cape Town’s finest eating establishments & a pile of other fabulous treats. If you didn’t enter, shame on you, but we won’t judge you, sweethearts – instead, you’re about to get another chance to redeem yourself.

Chef Privé editor, Princess Jacalini (perhaps an alias, perhaps an actual Princess…) will be heading up the next campaign, tiara and all!  The poster goes live on the 1st of February at 2 (yes, TWO) locations around the country: Club Engen in Gardens, Cape Town, and at Service Station in Melville, Johannesburg.  You’ll also get the chance to submit online entries, as well as win a spot-the-difference BONUS prize.  Can I say that again? BONUS. Lovely!

There will be some radical prizes up for grabs, in exchange for an opportunity to engage in a bit of merriment. We’re looking for creative & crazy poses next to the poster.  Make us giggle!  Make us blush! There may well be BONUS points assigned for late-night tomfoolery at Club Engen…

So make a note, create a new event on your smartphone, scribble on a post-it, or write it on your hand!  We’ll also be publishing a bunch of easy recipes for you using my featured NoMu product, so come back & visit again soon!

A while ago I had the pleasure of visiting Cornell & Pieter de Villiers in Hermanus to have a look at the only “bean to bar” chocolate production facility in South Africa.

Upon arrival, we indulged in mugs of steaming hot chocolate and platefuls of chocolate muffins. I could definitely say at this stage that the de Villiers’ style of breakfast is a mythos I could adopt! After a radical sugar spike, we headed for the bean storage facility, where each origin of bean is stored  separately.  Stored in 25kg bags, the beans are kept on wooden pallets off the floor, in order to keep any pests away from the precious morsels.

A former electrical engineer turned chocolatier, Pieter has designed & made a large portion of the equipment necessary for his chocolate production. Internationally, chocolate production utilizes very large and extraordinarily expensive equipment which, for the micro chocolatier, is simply not feasible.

Pieter’s engineering knowledge has not just been limited to converting domestic, everyday items into chocolate-friendly machinery; he also developed the computer software that all his machinery is programmed to. For example, the bean roaster (which once was a pretty standard domestic oven) has a myriad of different roasting settings, all particular to the origin or ‘personality’ of the bean it’s roasting – certain beans may require a higher roasting temperature or a longer roasting cycle. Each batch of beans that is received is tested for defects, pests, mould & moisture content and is programmed into the system accordingly. This is one well thought through operation, and you can taste it in their chocolate. For a more thorough breakdown of the chocolate-making process, take a look here.

Roasting & conching the beans, then tempering the chocolate

Cornell & Pieter tell me that their strategy is to introduce a few more lines once they have a handle on how the general public receives their chocolate. Initially, they thought that the South African consumer would struggle with the fact that their chocolate is unflavored. Dedicated to introducing SA palates to ‘real’ chocolate, Pieter & Cornell painstakingly selected a range of 5 origins from a list of over 25 different origins, based on their taste profile, and launched these just a few months ago.

For chocolate that contains 70% cocoa butter and no other flavorings, the flavour notes that come through across the various origins is phenomenal. It cannot accurately be explained in words, you simply must taste the chocolate yourself.

Currently, DV Chocolate is sold in a select few establishments around the country, but the good news is spreading fast! To see where you can get your paws on these delightful treats or become a stockist, click here.

To get in touch, contact Cornell  on 028 316 4850 or email info@dvchocolates.com or visit them here.

*All images courtesy of DV Chocolates