Stellenbosch Wine Routes has introduced Tasting Stellenbosch - a social development programme set to upskill the community through hospitality training. The Routes will coordinate this mandate with various tourism segments responsible to drive change in their particular community. The member organisation is chaired by Stellenbosch chefs, Chef George Jardine and deputy chairman Chef Bertus Basson.
With the adoption of a new executive in 2018, chaired by Michael Ratcliffe, the Routes is set to action change in the winelands.
"Stellenbosch has long been a culinary leader on the South African gastronomic scene. Many decades of awards and recognition culminated in the 2018 Eat Out Awards recognising that an extraordinary one in five of the top 30 restaurants in South Africa is based in the Stellenbosch Winelands.
"There is an immense skill in this sector and our chefs are looking forward to ploughing it back into Stellenbosch communities."
Supporting this sentiment, founding Chairman Chef Jardine said: "We are excited by the opportunity to pull this remarkably successful food-inspired community closer together under the banner of Tasting Stellenbosch – our home."
On how they intend on achieving much-needed change, Chef Basson added: "Building restaurant skills, work experience and kitchen and front-of-house confidence in our communities will provide an unprecedented competitive advantage for our industry."
Apart from Jardine and Basson, Tasting Stellenbosch’s Executive Committee is backed by some of the country’s top culinary names:
• Winemaker George Dalla Cia,
• Chef Gregory Czarnecki,
• Sommelier Wayve Kolevsohn,
• Chef Michael Broughton,
• Hotelier Karine Van der Merwe, and
• Chef Christophe Dehosse.
The Exco envisage that Tasting Stellenbosch will have a minimum of 150 members by the end of 2019 representing a significant diversity.
Ratcliffe further expressed pleasure in seeing the great food and wine pillars of Stellenbosch aligning themselves. "We are blessed with amazing tourism assets and we are pleased to see the food community uniting around a focused social development agenda. The Stellenbosch Wine Routes board takes pride in showing leadership as a Destination Marketing Organisation and providing capacity for resurgent Stellenbosch tourism."