Good Food and Wine Show – it’s more than that!
16 September 2015
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Brad Brown: Welcome to this edition of Old Mutual Live and one of the shows or expos so to speak on the South African calendar that is iconic when it comes to food and wine is the Good Food and Wine Show. It’s been around for a while and they continue to just raise the bar year after year.
The Johannesburg edition has just recently taken place and I know there is one coming up in Durban in the not too distant future. But we’re joined now by the GM of the organisation that puts on the Good Food and Wine Show, Heidi Warricker. Heidi, welcome onto Old Mutual Live. Thanks for taking the time to chat to us today.
Heidi Warricker: Thank you so much Brad, lovely to be on the show.
BB: Heidi I mentioned that it’s an iconic brand. It’s been around for a while and everyone knows about the Good Food and Wine Show. What makes it such a strong, I don’t want to say, it’s a strong expo. I mean people come out in their numbers. You’re obviously doing something right. What is it that you think you’re doing right?
Everyone loves food and wine
HW: Well, everyone loves food and wine not so and the Good Food and Wine Show is South Africa’s biggest and best food, wine and lifestyle event. It basically is an event that where visitors are able to discover everything that’s hot and trending on the culinary circuit in food, in drink, in gadgets and appliances and of course, there’s also delicious tasters.
There’s loads of free goodies and competition getaways and giveaways and you know fantastic experiences for visitors to participate in celebrity chefs theatres and Master Chef Classes and everything foodie related and fun related. It’s a family lifestyle show, it’s a, you know bring your friends, bring your mate. It’s just really a show that appeals to absolutely every South African.
BB: You touched on two things there and I think a lot of it’s been driven by that. You mentioned the celebrity chefs and you also mentioned Masterchef. Television’s played a big role in this renaissance when it comes to food and particularly good food and wine pairings and that sort of thing. It’s an interesting landscape. It’s changed a lot over the last few years.
Celebrity Chefs add so much value for visitors
HW: Absolutely. You know the Good Food and Wine Show was established in 1998, started off in Cape Town, headed off to Johannesburg and also now in Durban so it is on the national floor plan. You know I think the deal breaker was really when Good Food and Wine Show brought out the International Celebrity Chefs and started highlighting and focusing on the value of these celebrity chefs and the knowledge that they can impart to the visitors.
I mean the Good Food and Wine Show is famous for its hugely popular celebrity chefs theatre and this is where not just your international by the way, also your local celebrity chefs come together and cook up a storm. They flaunt their culinary expertise and they really demonstrate why they’re such superstars in the kitchen.
Absolutely what you said, Brad, you know TV and the awareness of these chefs and these wonderful names on the culinary circuit, has made it that much more of an experience for visitors to actually to interact with them at the show. I mean that’s what exhibitions are all about.
It’s the opportunity to meet, to experience, to interact, have a more of a personal experience, you know and that whole taste, touch, feel kind of element to exhibitions. I mean we brought out the most amazing names. We brought out the Gordon Ramsey’s, we brought out the Giorgio Locatelli’s, Curtis Stone, the Hairy Bikers, Heston Blumenthal was another big one. James Martin, Ainsley Harriot and then Masterchef came along and I mean what a fantastic thing.
Here’s ordinary people winning amazing competitions and we, the Good Food and Wine Show traditionally being ahead of the trends brings out these fantastic Masterchef contestants. In fact, this year we brought out Brent Owens in Johannesburg who was the winner of Season 6, Masterchef Australia. He was such a hit and he’s so fantastic. He’s such a superb guy and so passionate about food and absolutely is loving South Africa, everything South African, that we’re bringing him back to Durban.
BB: Love it.
HW: As you mentioned earlier, we’ve done our Cape Town and our Johannesburg events this year and our finale happens in October at the Durban Exhibition Centre, the 30th of October to the 1st of November.
BB: Brilliant. We’ll get onto that in just a moment as well. Heidi, just a quick one, with those celebrity chefs and remember you said you started bringing out the international ones, there were a few South Africans who were doing some great things.
But the internationals really put the spotlight on this whole thing but there’s been a big sort of upsurge of South African celebrity chefs over the last couple of years as well. We’ve always had one or two but all of sudden there’s a whole bunch of them and they’re doing some amazing things, the South Africans.
South African Chefs holding their own
HW: Absolutely and the reason for that is that they’re on a par. They’re of the same calibre of these international chefs that we’re bringing out. I mean, Jenny Morris, Giggling Gourmet, she’s on the international circuit. She has an international programme on Food Network.
We’ve Siba, at the show we’ve had Bennie Masekwameng, obviously judge of Masterchef South Africa and we had Luke Dale Roberts. You know these are all fantastic chefs on celebrity chef’s theatre at the Good Food and Wine Show and you get the opportunity to meet them first hand.
What’s so wonderful is that these local chefs are connecting with the international chefs that we’re bringing out and recipes are being shared. Traditional recipes from South Africa are, you know for example I mentioned Brent Owens. He’s absolutely in love shisinyama, spiced braaied meat so he’s now working on an Australian take of that and he’ll be demonstrating that at the Durban show this year.
BB: I love that. Heidi, how much pressure do you feel as an organisation to have to raise the bar year after year. Obviously celebrity chefs come and go and someone’s the flavour of the week so to speak this week so you can always get those guys but from an experience perspective is it difficult to keep sort of raising the bar and making sure that year on year things are not just better but different as well?
It’s exciting trying to keep things fresh
HW: It’s absolutely exhilarating. You know to innovate a show, to bring and introduce new aspects to a show, new experiences for visitors. We touch, we work with our exhibitors, we work with the feedback from our visitors to understand what they’re looking for, what the demands are. You know our visitor to Good Food and Wine Show is a very discerning visitor who is looking for the latest and the greatest in techniques and products and experiences.
We love really pushing the boundaries to deliver on those demands and those desires or whatever you want to call it and it’s so fantastic to be part of an organisation that is ahead of the trends you know. I mean we brought out, for example, you know food for children, revolution food for children. We brought out Katie Ashworth. This year we have introduced the Slow Food theatre for the first time and we also have the wine theatre which is the health and wellness theatre. These are two fantastically new interactive theatres for visitors to experience.
For example, I don’t know how much you know about slow food but it’s a global movement involving millions of people in more than 150 countries around the world. This has been represented for the first time at Good Food and Wine Show.
We actually launched it in Johannesburg and you’ll see it again in Durban and basically as important as food is in itself is the opportunity to focus on our small producers. Access or give them access to a public platform such as the Good Food and Wine Show to promote this amazing local produce in South Africa to a wider audience.
When I’m talking about family farming, I’m talking about artisan foodstuffs and all these are essential to job creation and sustainability and food security etcetera. So it’s such an important sector in our society and one that we’re highlighting at Good Food and Wine Show.
BB: You mentioned just the quality of South African food and produce but we also produce some magnificent wines in this country too and that plays a big part in what you guys do at the Good Food and Wine Show. Tell me just a little bit about from a wine perspective what you tend to do and hope to achieve.
What we offer from a wine perspective
HW: Well, once again we bring the premium estates and the wine farms and really the finest of the Cape to Johannesburg, to Durban and obviously in Cape Town so visitors are just completely spoilt for choices. They taste all the, got the host of varietals and the various labels and you know, you get to experience all these fantastic wine pairings and unusual wine pairings. A wine and sushi, wine and biltong.
There’s really no limit to what one can experience at the show so we’re very excited to have that aspect at the Good Food and Wine Show and it just heightens the whole, you know, the festive atmosphere and the whole experience to the Good Food and Wine Show visitor.
BB: That’s it. Thank you very much Heidi Warricker from the Good Food and Wine Show. I think next time we get you on, we’ll chat a little bit more in depth about the Durban Show that’s coming up the last weekend of October. Until then from myself, Brad Brown, it’s cheers.