Chefs ignore local dishes

FOREIGN visitors coming for the Soccer World Cup will be fed more of the same foods they are used to because local restaurants have not included local delicacies on their menus.

The Culinary Arts Association of South Africa (CAASA) says it is disappointed that restaurants have not taken up its challenge to "offer truly South African cuisine" on their menus.

CAASA president Owen Jullies says the hospitality industry should promote local heritage during the soccer spectacular.

"We in the hospitality industry are worried that truly South African cuisine has not yet taken its place on the culinary landscape," writes Jullies in the March issue of hospitality magazine, Restaurant Business.

He says a "handful" of local restaurants have included "South Africanisms" on their menus.

He commends a pizza restaurant for including a boerewors topping on their menu in time for the soccer spectacular.

Jullies says chefs find it difficult to move away from the style of cooking they have been taught and are therefore reluctant to add certain new items.

"It becomes a difficult cycle to break" he says. "Restaurants can still maintain their identity but should add local twists and flavours to their traditional menus."

Celebrity chef Citrum Khumalo says informal traders could "spice up" foods such as bunny chow by making them visually appealing and adding local ingredients such as amadumbe, peppadews and various meats such as game.

"It does not make sense for someone from Italy, for example, to come to South Africa an still eat Italian food," Khumalo says.

He says local cuisine shows various influences and tastes that were determined by the places they originated in.

Renée Snoyman of Moyo's in Johannesburg says the restaurant will serve dishes from various African countries leading up to the World Cup next month.