Taste of Cape, owned by Glen Eden couple Obert Sinala and Josephine John,
has taken out the Healthier Menu Challenge at this year’s 20th Auckland Lantern Festival.
(WINNING EFFORT! Josephine John and Obert Sinala used fresh, local produce to create healthy, delicious South African cuisine at this year’s Auckland Lantern Festival.)
Run by Healthy Auckland Together (HAT), the Good Food Kai Pai Healthier Menu Challenge encourages festival food vendors to serve fare that’s not only delicious but also better for you, says Jacqui Yip, a senior health advisor at Auckland Regional Public Health Service.
“It’s really just about making small changes – things like loading up dishes with vegetables for more colour and nutrients, offering different portion sizes and thinking about other cooking methods,” Jacqui says. “That might mean baking instead of frying or making sure that if you are deep frying, you’re doing it at the right temperature so the food stays crispy and doesn’t absorb extra oil.”
Oil is one ingredient that’s almost completely absent from Obert and Josephine’s Taste of Cape dishes.
“We offer a traditional Capetown barbecue style of cuisine, so we use marinades and spices and cook directly over a flame, adding a smoky flavour,” says Obert, who has travelled around the world as a chef and now works at Headquarters restaurant in the Viaduct Harbour. “Healthy food can still be delicious – you just need to know how to cook and mix flavours.”
Taste of Cape’s Lantern Festival menu included a chicken waffle burger with chargrilled local vegetables and beef rump steak with flame roasted vegetables and chakalaka, a type of spicy South African salad. Deep fried chips didn’t appear, but potatoes briefly steamed then cooked on the barbecue did.
Josephine John says vegetables made up around a third of all their dishes and was a feature of their children’s menu too, alongside water as their healthy drink.
They’re all factors, says Jacqui Yip, which contributed to Taste of Cape taking out the Healthier Menu Challenge top spot.
“The judges were all really impressed not only with their cooking methods and dishes but also their pride in their food and their passion for offering great quality food.”
Obert and Josephine won a $500 cash prize, winner’s banner flag and a place on the Good Food Kai Pai ‘Healthier Vendors List’, distributed to event organisers around Auckland.