Bootcamp – First junior Slow Food potjie for grade 7’s

 

In what is a first for the Garden Route, Glenwood House in George organised a “slow food” potjie kos competition for their grade 7 learners at Bootcamp@Rondevlei in Wilderness on Thursday 29 November.

Both grade 7 classes amounting to 40 learners and their two teachers, Philip Vercueil and Mrs Muller arrived on Rondevlei Farm on a bright sunny morning to be greeted by farm animals and potjie fires already crackling happily.

Sedgefield’s own international master chef Colin Capon was in attendance to give a presentation and to judge the best pot. The morning was started off with a soccer game on one of the fields, a brief excursion through the obstacle course and a quick swim in the farm dam. It was then down to business. The teachers congratulated them on completing their last year in primary school and wished them well for the journey through high school. Colin, in true master chef style, gave an entertaining presentation on the importance of food in everyone’s lives; the taste, the flavours, the presentation and very importantly, the preparation.

Then it was showtime. Four teams were elected and each team was given their box of ingredients; which included a whole chicken or lamb chunks, rice, potatoes, onions, carrots, marrows, stock, a variety of fresh herbs and an array of spices. There were also a few special ingredients on the side to help enhance the flavours – garlic, anchovies, chillies and ginger. It was then down to the participants to regulate their fires, clean and heat their pots, caramelise their onions, prepare and brown their meat and then to systematically add the remaining ingredients. All the while master chef kept a beady eye on matters and gave advice when necessary. In no time delightful aromas started wafting across the cooking areas while participants were frantically busy nurturing their fires and adding ingredients were required. It was then time to nominate a fire-keeper and assistant to keep an eye on each pot and the rest of the gangs were off to play more games, catch a swim or to quench parched throats.

By 1pm master chef declared that the time had come to present the various pots to the judges. Tables were decorated with flowers off the farm and sample dishes stood steaming in anticipation of the judge’s scrutiny. Eagerly the teams waited while master chef took note of the presentation, the aroma, the textures and of course the taste. What a difficult task lay ahead – all four teams prepared their pots to the book – exactly as chef had explained. Everyone took responsibility to ensure that their fires were just right, that the veggies were peeled properly, that just enough spices and herbs were added and that their pots were left to steam slowly in just enough liquid. And the  golden rule was to cook slowly and never to stir the pot.

After much deliberation, master chef gave first place to team 1 for coming closest to the perfect pot. For this they were presented with a goodie bag and a handshake from a chef that has cooked for the Queen of England and King Hussein of Jordan to name a few. It was then munch time and everyone eagerly tucked in. After chow and an ice cream for dessert it was back to the playing fields.

 The winning team’s recipe:

2 whole chickens (make sure you cut the various portions and remove excessive skin and fat)

12 small potatoes (washed but no need to peel)

2 large onions (cut up into wedges)

6 large carrots (diced)

6 marrows (split lengthways in 4 long strips)

1 Butternut (careful not to cut yourself while peeling the skin)

2 cups white rice

Salt, pepper, origanum, rosemary

Olive oil

Chicken stock

Garlic

Chilli

A slow food convivium for kids is now planned for the Garden Route.