The late and great Nelson Mandela is an undeniable socio-political and cultural icon whose memory is honoured and celebrated across the globe. Each year, Mandela Day is an opportunity to reflect more deeply on the contribution this powerful historical figure made to transformation in South Africa.

For Mandela Day 2019, Head Chef Paul Nash at The Cellars-Hohenort hotel in Constantia has elected to honour Madiba’s legacy by crafting a menu inspired by anecdotes from Mandela’s life that are specifically to do with food. From Mandela’s prison years on Robben Island, to his release and post-Apartheid years as President, this unique menu will take guests on a tasting journey through Madiba’s life.

“I am a chef. My realm is the kitchen. I have chosen to celebrate and pay respect to Madiba’s memory and the important stages in his life in the best way that I know how – through food! Food is extremely sensual and a major trigger for memories. So, I am hoping that the Mandela Day Menu will bring Madiba’s past to life in an interesting new way that will allow our dinner guests an intimate glimpse into a personal aspect of this public figure,” Nash explains. “Our humble intention is to express our reverence for this great man, who has inspired us all so much!”

The “Madiba Menu” is a seven-course affair that is part fact and part elaboration. Some dishes faithfully replicate the essence of what was originally prepared – such as bread baked in a tin, as it was done on site at the quarry on Robben island, where Mandela was forced to labour. Others take inspiration from a sense of place, such as the seafood course – known as The Robben Island Rock Pool – which is built on what can be foraged on the shores of Robben Island. Others yet are purely celebratory, such as Mandela’s favourite dessert, which, incidentally, happens to be a rum and raisin ice cream, served with biscuit crumble and a koeksister.

The offering will be in keeping with the five-star Relais & Châteaux hotel’s reputation for superlative quality and outstanding guest experiences, a hallmark of The Liz McGrath collection of which The Cellars-Hohenort is a member. Nash and his talented team came up with this bespoke menu to mark a special evening – at dinner, Mandela’s personal friend and former prison guard Christo Brand will reflect on his meaningful relationship with Madiba. Brand will take guests on a narrative journey from the time of his first meeting with Madiba right up until the very end when he placed his hands on Madiba’s coffin. Christo and Mandela developed a close camaraderie over the course of many years – Madiba is the co-author of Christo’s book, Doing Life with Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend (2014).

Nelson Mandela with Christo Brand
Nelson Mandela with Christo Brand

For the Mandela Day event at The Conservatory, the evening will start with a welcome drink at 19h00 and Christo will begin to share his story shortly thereafter. He will continue his presentation all through the meal to follow, concluding his narrative after dessert. After dinner, Christo will be available to sign copies of the book Doing Life with Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend.

Please note that bookings are essential for this event as places are limited. The cost is R400 per person, excluding drinks.

For more information or to make a reservation, please contact: reservations@collectionmcgrath.com | +27 (0)21 794 2137.