This year I was even more involved, thanks to Cavendish Square shopping centre. They had a clever idea to make their stand more interactive and to a benefit charity at the same time. They set up a kitchen for cooking demos and invited celebrities to cook with the various restaurants in Cavendish Centre. The celebrities were paired with restaurants by random selection and I was paired with Mugg & Bean.
Each ‘celebrity chef’ was asked to select a charity which would receive R5000 if they were voted the most popular. People could vote via a special app, created for the show. My selected charity was the Community Outreach Programme Trust. They do amazing work and very little of the money goes to administration.
The Cavendish Kitchen stand was very funky, decorated like an old school American diner with fully working jukebox and everything. The oven and fridge were supplied by Smeg, their retro look fitting right in to the diner theme. The stand actually became a bit of a party zone each evening as the jukebox was fired up and people came over to enjoy tastings of the Rickety Bridge wine, which was the wine sponsor. Good Hope FM were also broadcasting live from the Cavendish stand which added to the vibe and drew more people who wanted to come and say hello to their favourite DJs. Some of the DJs also cooked.
When I chatted to some friends about what their favourite Mugg & Bean menu items, one thing came up consistently and that was the cakes. Mugg & Bean are famous for their huge selection of awesome cakes. So I decided that showing everyone how a Mugg & Bean cake is made would be a great idea.
And it was. I had a chat with Bryan who owns the Cavendish Mugg & Bean and we decided that the rich chocolate cake would be a winner. Chatting to Bryan was very interesting. The Mugg & Bean in Cavendish was not doing very well in the beginning, but when he bought it things changed. His genuine interest in making his customers happy has obviously had an effect as the restaurant is full of regulars.
Cooking at the Cavendish Kitchen was good fun. In fact, when I wasn’t cooking I hung out at the stand quite a bit to enjoy the vibes. The fact that there were a number of great looking women working at the stand in various capacities had nothing to do with it. Well, very little to do with it.
I followed Bryan’s lead and we made 2 huge rich chocolate cakes. At one stage Reza Mahammad, well known celebrity chef from the UK came over to taste the cake and give some tips. The cake was fairly quick to make, although the sponges and butter cream were pre made. We did make the ganache and pour it over the cake which was awesome (and messy!). There was a big audience, and they seemed to enjoy the show and they devoured all 3 cakes afterwards… as I said, everybody loves cake from Mugg & Bean.
And there you have the story of my first ever cooking demo, thanks to Cavendish Centre. A very professional team at all levels, which made the whole things a very pleasant experience. I look forward to seeing what they have planned for next year. The short video below has some scenes of my demo.