Neil Jewell of Bread & Wine, situated in Franschhoek, showcased his world-class talents at Montréal en Lumière in Montreal, Canada. The largest winter festival of its kind in North America, Chef Jewell was invited along with 11 other chefs from across the globe.
This was made possible through Chef Jewell’s association with Délice: a global network of cities whose culinary heritage and gastronomic offerings define them as great food destinations. The Cape Winelands is a part of this illustrious conglomerate, with Franschhoek spearheading the involvement. Montréal en Lumière also coincided with the annual meeting of the Délice Network of Good Food Cities of the World Conference in the city.
The festival—which also coincided with the city’s 375th birthday celebration—took place over a three-week period between February and March and played host to food, art and culture enthusiasts from across the continent as well as the world. The event attracted approximately 1,4 million festivalgoers to the city and visitors experienced the Montréal lifestyle through a programme, which combined performing arts, gastronomy, outdoor activities and more.
Chef Jewell was invited into the kitchen of celebrated local restaurant, Ikanos; where he went head-to-head with Chef Constant Mentzas. For two nights at this chic restaurant (which specialises in Greek and Mediterranean style food) the chefs presented a five-course meal of two dishes each per course (which makes for a total of ten dishes). This was served feast-style with platters in the middle of the table for guests to share, all paired with South African wines.
Chef Jewell crafted a menu inspired by his offering at Bread & Wine, and wowed diners with his dishes: buffalo mozzarella blancmange followed by confit of arctic char (at Bread & Wine Chef Jewell uses Franschhoek trout for this dish); the third course was pan-seared duck breast. Then came the cheese course, which Chef Jewell interpreted as a dish of shaved aged Cheddar with salted grapes, and for dessert he pulled out all the stops with a South African inspired Malva soufflé with crème mousseline, caramelised pineapple and almond crumbs.
“My food philosophy is very simple yet extremely effective. Be true to yourself, let the ingredients speak for themselves and only the best will do,’ said Chef Jewell. ‘This experience gave me greater insight into the current food trends. I look forward to sharing what I have learnt in Montreal with my fellow chefs in Franschhoek, allowing us to take the valley’s status as Culinary Capital up a notch.”