Celebrating the Flavors of South Africa with Chef Wamu

I was invited to a press lunch last week hosted by South Africa tourism, held in the DeGustibus Cooking School in Macy’s. I enjoy a decent amount of South African white wine but I honestly know very little about the food so I was incredibly excited to learn something new. After a little bit of wine and mingling we were invited to sit down for our three course lunch and cooking demonstration by Chef Wamu himself.

Our first course was Chicken Bunny Chow paired with Raats Chenin Blanc 2009.

The chicken was spicy with potatoes and carrots mixed in on top of a cake bread. This had a lot of nice big curry flavors going on. I really liked how the sweet cake bread worked with the spices on the poultry.

Our next course was Beef Bobtie paired with Rudi Schultz Syrah 2007.

I absolutely loved this dish. The top was like a custard with lots of saffron and turmeric mixed in and a base of milk soaked bread. Once I got past the smooth yellow top a fragrant broth of ground beef was stewing underneath.

There was something so satisfying and comforting about breaking through the soft eggy top and releasing the spicy warm beef beneath. There were some veggies on the side but I barely touched them I was all about the Praai (ground beef). I will definitely be trying out the recipe for this dish at home. I really enjoyed the Syrah as well. It had gorgeous dark cherry notes but remained light and vibrant up front. Really quite a nice pairing.

Our last course was Koeksister with amarula crème ala angalise candied fruit and toasted coconut paired with Amarula Cream Liquor.

The syrupy, citrus dough reminded me of a Greek dessert I used to enjoy at festivals growing up. The toasted coconut and fruit gave it a warm flavor and the Crème ala Anglasie cooled it all down. Not my favorite dessert ever but a nice end to an exquisite meal.

I really enjoyed the entire experience and felt incredibly lucky to have watched Chef Wamu work and have tasted his recipes. He was so charismatic and had such energy he really made me want to go to South Africa and just “chill” as he said. If any of this looks good to you let me know and I’ll send the recipes your way!