Chasing a chicken with Chef David Schneider at Chefs Warehouse Maison.
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beauty in the slow moments.
Chasing Chickens with Chef David Schneider
Chasing Chickens with Chef David Schneider
Halfway into the Western Cape winter, I woke up early at a friends house. A quick coffee, camera bags packed, and off we go into the Winelands. I love visiting friends in Cape Town. Unfortunately, since I moved to Pretoria, I don’t see many of my Capetonian friends.
Country Life Magazine in South Africa
Once you move away, you have left, new routines and work-life happen. I miss the Winelands. Little did I know that the day’s story would be my last with the magazine.
Country Life magazine South Africa under the Caxton publishing umbrella, closed doors during Covid in 2020.
The editor tried to save the Country life brand without success.
It was a privilege to visit the wine farms and listen to the Chef’s stories of working under tyrant chefs and old-school training until they made their break. It reminded me of my photography assisting days, exciting but long hours, heavy lifting and only a glimpse of your personal work on the horizon.
Cape Town life was busy, but there was always time for a wine farm visit. So if people tell you Cape Tonians are slow, take it with a pinch of salt. Life in Cape Town is balanced and hums to an ocean beat. I have waited longer to achieve results between Joburg and Pretoria than I ever imagined. Corporate client work is rushed, not more productive.
Driving to Chefs Warehouse Maison in Franshoek
Driving out of Cape Town at sunrise in winter is crisp with a freshness in the sky. The light is clear. A perfect day to photograph food.
We arrive in Franschoek, greeted by Chef David Schneider at Chefs Warehouse Maison.
If you ever get the opportunity and have some extra rands to spend, it is an absolute must. My cousin recently visited Chefs Warehouse and mentioned it was their best food experience in the Western Cape out of a two-week trip.
Chefs Warehouse Maison is a casual, elegant farm setting. Your visit is a food flavour and hearty country taste experience.
The restaurant Chefs Warehouse Maison
The restaurant is on the Maison wine farm on the foothills of the Franshoek mountain range. It is a rustic setting. The sun is shining into the north-facing house. As you walk into the house, cookbooks line the shelves.
You look into the open kitchen and onto the balcony and vineyards in the distance from the deli.
The restaurant interior is warm and elegant. It reminds me of Swedish designed spaces. Natural light flow in from the big glass windows. The restaurant tables have enough light and shadows to photograph the tasty dishes. David’s passion flows onto every plate.
Step out onto the lawn owned by the big tree, and it feels like a tranquil farm garden.
Chasing a Chicken with David Schneider
Time to snap some photos. I never realized suggesting that David catches a chicken would turn into a chicken run. It takes a lot of patience and up-down run around to catch a farm chicken. But, David was up for the challenge, and the photo made it into the magazine story.
No animals harmed in the making of the series. Only happy chickens, a roaming friendly pig and a young canine friend following along not to miss any action.
We took a tour of the property. The vineyards and fields stretch out to the border of the mountains. The garden is trimmed but also a bit rough to fit in with farm life. Finally, it is time to head into the kitchen. A fish order just arrived from Abalobi. Abalobi is a local application that connects sustainable small-scale fishing communities in Africa. From hook to cook, cutting out the middle man.
The kitchen team is happy and buzzing. It is a neat kitchen working on using every possible piece of the ingredient to promote sustainable and green cooking methods.
The Chefs Warehouse Team brilliance
David makes bread, butter, cheese charcuterie and cuts his own meat. He previously worked as a butcher. Sustainable cooking is part of the entire kitchen team mindset to save water and use moisture and sauce from their available ingredients. The Franshoek valley offers superior ingredients to work with, like local trout.
The kitchen team collaborates to create new dishes for every season using available ingredients and their unique flair for every dish plated and served. Once service starts, the dishes flow from the kitchen, showcasing the preparation and planning.
Chefs Warehouse Maison is a dining experience where you can settle in to enjoy slow moments. The winter light is fresh, with lazy shadows breezing in the wind. The garden is homely to wander around and take in the spectacular Franshoek scenery. When your food arrives, you are in for a delicious taste experience with blended textures and flavours. The team will suggest the best wine to pair with every dish on your order.
Once you have finished lunch, take your dessert and glass of bubbles or your pairing choice and sit in the warm midday sun. Your visit to Chefs Warehouse is a culinary trip into local hearty cooking with plated flair.
Dishes sampled was Duck Lava, Pan-seared Hake with Cape-Malay spiced carrot sauce, Spring Berry Salad with homemade lime ricotta, berry-tea sorbet and crostoli.
How to make Crostoli
To make the Crostoli dough with the hand mixing method.
Add the eggs, egg yolk, sugar, butter, brandy, vanilla and salt. Use a fork to gradually blend the wet ingredient, slowly gathering in flour until the dough starts to bind. Add a little more brandy or liquor of your choice if needed to form a ball.
Wrap your dough tightly and allow it to rest in the fridge for approximately twenty minutes.
After twenty minutes in the fridge, roll your dough out into a thin sheet and cut two centimetres wide and five centimetre long strips. Place the strips between greaseproof paper and store in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
Cristoli pairs perfect with sorbet.
After a magical day in the Franshoek countryside photographing and talking food, it was time for Alma and Maya to drop me back at the airport to fly to Joburg.
After eighteen years living in Cape Town, I miss it. At some phase in life, we all catch chickens. But, unfortunately, I am not sure it’s been my best phase of life. The last three years has been a growing phase. If I stayed in Cape Town, I would have continued on the same path, although I knew I needed to change things to grow and moved.
I guess every phase is enjoyable if you take a moment to enjoy the small wins. I am still chasing chickens, but I can feel the groundwork is starting to show results. Change is good. Being uncomfortable at all ages are good. I am learning a lot. Photography on its own will always be a part of me. To only focus on copywriting is challenging and rewarding, but I want more.
Combining visual and writing content with marketing strategies, that becomes exciting. Therefore, I will focus more on all of the aspects as a combined package.
I am launching a new website with my brother and his wife. It is all about experiences. I am excited to combine photography and writing with marketing a new story brand.
Thank you to Country Life for all the fun and David and his team at Chefs Warehouse for the visual and tasty feast.
If you enjoyed this blog and find yourself visiting Franshoek, visit the website or send an email.
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Full photo series.