Local chef to serve up a taste of the best

Chefs Wayne Harris and Keanon Michaels are due to cook up a storm.

This weeekend you can tantalise your taste buds with local cuisine inspired, created, designed and plated to enthuse foodies from across the peninsula.

Mitchell’s Plain-born and raised chef Keanon Michaels is pulling out all the stops to give attendees at the Cape Town Food and Wine Festival a taste of fine dining with a three-course meal for only R60.

He will be serving this tasting menu, bite-size dishes of charred baby carrot salad, beetroot and lemon barley risotto with seared False Bay coastline caught line fish and textures of pawpaw.

Only 50 people will be allowed to take a seat during three different sessions on Sunday September 23.

At 9 Miles Cafe at Strandfontein Pavilion, Mr Michaels, owner of Keanon’s Kitchen, who was born in Rocklands and raised in Strandfontein, conjures up his culinary delights.

“I push myself and use my elements to inspire and showcase Mitchell’s Plain,” he said.

Mr Michaels is the in-house chef for the 9 Miles Project, an organisation which runs a surf programme, literacy and academic support programmes, life skills and arts and crafts programmes in a facility at the pavilion, which the City of Cape Town provides.

“I like giving clients a quality service and exceeding their culinary expectations in the comfort of their home,” he said.

He cooks at the kitchen and serves meals at the venue of clients’ choosing, from dinner for two to as many as 150 guests. His inspiration, he said, is his culinary mentor, his mother Cheryl Anne Michaels who made her own pasta and ice-cream, and had the ability “to feed his soul”.

Mr Michaels recalls scavenging the fridge and making egg fried rice – because those were the only ingredients he could find.

It was only in later years during a trip to Thailand that he learned to perfect the dish with authentic local flavours.

Before studying at Protea College in Bellville, he worked at the Cape Sun as a commis chef, the first rung of the ladder to becoming a great chef. He has since worked at several restaurants as a sous chef de cuisine, “the second in command in a kitchen”.

He has also worked as head chef at the foreshore branch of Nedbank and was an inflight chef for Etihad Airlines, having served various international dignitaries and celebrities, including sheikhs, the band of Cold Play, Sir Paul McCartney and Fast and Furious actress Michelle Rodriguez.

At the Cape Town Food and Wine Festival, which takes place at Westridge Gardens on Sunday and Monday September 23 and 24, Mr Michaels will also be hosting a cook-off, including eight local chefs who will be put through their paces in four rounds of 40-minutes each, each with a mystery ingredient.

He said the competition takes place on Monday September 24, at 11am.