Reuben Riffel
Chef Reuben Riffel
  • Some of SA's well-known chefs are embracing video-conferencing.
  • They are doing virtual cook-along sessions with foodies.
  • Ucook and Discovery Vitality are hosting chefs like Reuben Riffel, David Higgs and Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen.
  • For more articles, go to

In the almost three months that restaurants have been closed for sit-down meals, many have come up with new ways to remain afloat.

Most have been forced into the takeaway and delivery space, with some of SA's best restaurants now offering high-end tasting menus, sold in boxes.

few have embraced becoming an off-licence, as they are now allowed to sell alcohol for delivery.

READ | I tried a R3,000 takeout hamper from one of SA’s top chefs – and even the box blew me away

Some of the country's top chefs are now also teaching foodies their secrets in live, virtual lessons.

Starting from next week, the dinner-kit company Ucook will host live cook-along sessions via video calls with a well-known chef.

“Viewers will be able to ask questions, pick up tips and tricks and really experience the personality of the chef whilst preparing their meal,” says Ucook CEO David Torr. “We might not be able to get to our favourite restaurants at this time, so we’re bringing them to you at home.”

“It’s undeniable that amongst all the chaos caused by Covid-19 and lockdown, hospitality, and particularly restaurants has been one of the commercial sectors hardest hit,” says Torr. “Sadly, there’s no end in sight to this extended halt on trading, and slowly more and more outlets will cease to exist by the time we reach lockdown level 1.”

As part of their Ucook delivery, clients will get the ingredients for a specific restaurant's featured dish, and with each dish ordered, a portion of the revenue will go directly to the restaurant. A dinner for two people costs around R260 on Ucook.

These chefs will be presenting their dishes as part of a live, virtual cooking session:

  • The Kitchen’s Karen Dudley – 30 June 2020
  • The Foodbarn’s Franck Dangereux – 7 July 2020
  • Jerusalem’s Reuben Riffel – 14 July 2020
  • Il Leone's Daniel Toledo –  21 July 2020

Meanwhile, Discovery Vitality is offering cooking classes with South Africa’s celebrity chefs via Zoom.

The classes are live and participants can cook along with the chef. A list of ingredients is provided in advance.

David Higgs, chef and co-owner of two of Joburg's top restaurants Marble and Saint, will conduct his first cooking class on June 26th. Tickets cost R495, which includes a R200 Woolworths voucher.

The following class, on 17 July, will be Michelin star chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen.

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