I recently chatted to Winston Zakhe regarding the latest activities with the Eziko Cooking School, from the township of Langa. You can browse through our previous posts regarding the school, on this blog.

It was a truly beautiful day in the winelands as we started off with our 2009 Eziko students wine exchange programme. This is our continuing work with the cooking school from the township of Langa. We embarked on this last year, teaching the school’s students all about food and wine. To us the aim is always to help them with the basics on wine tasting and evaluation, which is so much in line with the work they are to do in years to come.
Welcoming the students early this morning at the farm was Winston Zakhe and Lisa Mason from community development office at Fairview. We thought it a great idea for these underprivileged students to have a chat with Lisa regarding community upliftment in relation to work and education in general before beginning with our day. Our activities included a tour of the cheesery, a wine class, cellar tour, wine tasting and lunch at the Goatshed. This also had a profound effect on them with Lisa explaining how we at Fairview not only have to have workers going to work but also take time to see that their whole wellbeing is taken care of. Lisa went further showing them how we get involved in housing the workers, keeping the family unit intact, employment opportunities, farm children’s education, health issues etc. It was dawning on them that farming is not for every one and is a huge responsibility, as I heared one of them saying, “Yho! this is hard work!”. So therein, they learnt that its not handout but hand-up!
The group moved on from Lisa – who was to join them later for lunch – to the cheesery where Bruce Rowbotham, the Production Manager, was waiting to lead us through the cheese making process. Expertly Bruce took the group of 17 through the cheesery from our lovely cream cheeses, then the White Moulds section to the strong flavoured cheeses where we finished off with the Blue Cheese. The tour couldn’t have been more interesting as the flurry of questions kept Bruce with us for more than 20 minutes over our scheduled time. The group loved it and by now this 2009 group was so interactive I could not wait to take them to our wine class session.
We prepared very well for the class in wine theory, setting them up with simple notes from growing vineyards (viticulture), winemaking (vinification) to serving the bottled wine in a restaurant. The idea was to create conversation while the guys were learning about wine, taking cue from what they know and think about wine. They responded very well, with questions and answers springing up from in the group them and Winston doing well with his role a leader of the session. They truly enjoyed this part of the visit, talking about wine from high up Fairview’s upstairs tasting room which is normally reserved for Fairview’s winemaking team and industry experts. With coffee and tea breaks in-between they could look out the windows and got really dazzled by the beauty of the Paarl Valley and its sprawling vineyards. They also enjoyed the cellar tour and wine tasting presentation done also expertly by Winston Zakhe on the terrace of Fairview’s magnificent Master Tasting Room.

It was then off to lunch at the Goatshed restaurant where Lisa Mason rejoined them for a time to relax and entertain themselves from the menu. The 2009 group was also met with Fairview’s owner Charles Back just before saying their goodbyes to the farm. Greeting them, Charles chatted to them of how important their industry is to South Africa and the harder they work the better for them, their families and for SA. Together with Charles, we hailed the budding chefs goodbye and wished the guys all the best in their work.

Please visit our Flickr steam for pics from the day.

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1 Comment on Eziko Cooking School ’09

  1. Jeanne says:

    This sounds like a great initiative – great that you guys are involved!

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