There’ll be oysters (of course there will!) at this year’s ‘Flavours of Knysna’ - the Knysna Oyster Festival’s annual cooking competition - but they won’t be the subject of the competition itself.
Instead, that honour will go to the versatile canapé when local chefs come out to play on Wednesday, 26 June.
“The idea is to highlight the many talents of the chefs by allowing them to cast their nets more widely than they could when we limited entries to oysters alone,” said the event’s organiser, Picca de Bruin. “Now they can make any kind of canapés they like - sweet or savoury, meat or vegan - and the guests will judge them, and vote on them, accordingly.”
Ms. de Bruin said that opening the competition means that restaurants and chefs who don’t normally serve oysters will now be able to show off their own, unique culinary skills and styles.
Prizes will be awarded for the best canapé, as well as for the best stand.
LOCAL IS LEKKER
“We’ll be bringing everything about the evening back to Knysna this year in order to make a real local meal of it, and to shine the spotlight on our local chefs and their restaurants,” said Ms. de Bruin.
This, she explained, covers everything from sponsorships to entertainment. Music for the evening, for example, will be provided by Knysna’s stalwart DJ, Alan Sass - remember Al's Dance Club? - while the oysters will be supplied by the home of the Knysna Oyster, 34 South. Drinks at the cash bar will come from local breweries and Knysna’s own gin distillery, and gifts in the guests’ goodie bags will be locally sourced wherever possible.
“Sponsors this year include the Knysna Mall, Metelerkamps, Bosch, 34 South, Acton Signs, and Blitsdruk, and we’ve also received unstinting cooperation from the Knysna Municipality, which will provide us with logistical assistance,” said Ms. de Bruin.
Having organised events in Knysna over a period of nearly two decades - more often than not on limited budgets - Ms. de Bruin is keen to encourage new and emerging event organisers to work with local businesses, rather than hoping only for large corporate sponsorships.
“It’s important for the Knysna Oyster Festival to have strong, popular, midweek events, which shore up confidence in the festival, and which inevitably become important showcases when you’re out looking for sponsorships in the future,” she said.
“Producing an event without major corporate sponsorship is a major challenge, but you have to understand that every little bit helps - and that many small local businesses would be happy to come on board, if only you ask them to. This is how we’re doing it this year - with no naming sponsor, but with the generous help of many, many local contributors.
“It’s a two-way street, of course - local business supports us, and we support local business. And that’s what the Knysna Oyster Festival should always be all about.”
The Knysna Oyster Festival’s Flavours of Knysna canapé cooking competition will take place upstairs in the Knysna Mall on Wednesday, 26 June, at 18h00. Tickets - at R 220.00 per person (cash only) - will be on sale at the tourism information office at 40 Main Street from Monday, 27 May.