Convivium 2018

Convivium, the most inspiring food event in Cape Town, returns to the Badenhorst wine farm in the Swartland for the third time in February 2018. Convivium, dreamed up by Wesley Randles and Andy Fenner, was born of a simple idea to unify the food industry, all the way from farmers and producers to chefs and consumers. This year, however, the plan is to shake things up a little.

 If you’ve been following either Randles or Fenner on social media, you’ll know about their endless dedication, not only to food but to closing the gap between suppliers and chefs; and chefs and consumers. Wesley, as the co-owner and head chef of The Shortmarket Club, and Andy, who owns Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants, both use their widely-followed platforms to promote the idea that food is about much more than just what’s on the plate.Convivium 2018
 In a time where buzz terms like ‘farm to table’ and ‘know where your food comes from’ are strewn around like confetti, Convivium offers an honest and real way of embracing these terms. The event is based on the idea of paying it forward and is strictly non-profit. All money generated through ticket sales will be used either for charitable donations or for meaningful contributions to the improvement of the local industry.
If you visited any of the previous Conviviums, this time it’s taking on a very different shape.
Where previously the day was centred around a generous lunch cooked by the country’s best chefs, 2018’s event will be looking at how it can contribute to the progression of our local culinary industry.
Convivium 2018The plan for Convivium, which will take place on Sunday 4 February, is inspired by the path of a chef and how important it is to return to our roots. Where the focus last year was a lavish lunch, this year will feature guided tours throughout the Badenhorst farm, led by foraging and botanist experts. The intent of these walks is to return consumers to the source of their food – the earth – in the hopes that it will remind us that everything comes from something organic and that it should be treated with respect. But, if this sounds like you’re going to be led on a forced march in the blazing Swartland sun, fear not – there will be a number of refreshing surprises along the way in the form of interactive tastings with industry experts, thus giving chefs a platform to connect with their diners like never before.
Convivium 2018Why the focus on getting back to basics? Well, consumption is at an all-time high. We want what we want and we want it now – and cheap. And this is what Convivium is trying to challenge and quesiton. As tireless activists for ethically-sourced meat and ingredients, Andy and Wesley want to ignite these revolutionary concepts into the minds of young chefs and producers. The theme of giving back to the industry means that this event is aimed at getting young food-focused individuals inspired. Ticket sales are open to anyone, so if you have even the slightest interest in food or an inkling that there may be a career for you in food, this is the event for you. This is your chance to be part of a food movement that will change the industry as a whole.

Convivium 2018The dream for Convivium is that it will continue to grow into something that unifies the entire industry so that it can collectively move together to challenge ‘the man’ and mass corporations. It’s collaborative, not competitive. They’re not looking to find the best chef in the country, but to bring out the best in every chef in the country.

If you still need a reason to book your ticket, participating chefs include Luke Dale-Roberts and Ryan Cole of The Test Kitchen, Ivor Jones of Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia, Michelle Theron of Pierneef à La Motte, Jess Shepherd of The Table at De Meye, Jason Lilley of Jason Bakery, Chris Erasmus of Foliage, to name but a few. If you’re looking to be inspired, you’re going to find it here.

Tickets cost R1500 and there will be a shuttle service available between Cape Town City Centre and Kalmoesfontein at an additional cost. Tickets for the day are available via Quicket. As more details are yet to be announced, keep an eye on the Convivium website.

 Photography courtesy of C+D Heierli Photography.