JW: Justine, we've gotten to know you through your work at various magazines and probably most obviously through the awesome Just In Africa show on BBC. You always seem to be busy with something, albeit food styling, recipe development, consulting etc. What I want to know is how - and why - you were crazy enough to take on such a big project?
JD: It involved food and wine which is all the encouragement I needed! Seriously though, it's an incredibly successful festival internationally and the chance to be involved in the LOCAL version was very appealing. I have always flown the 'local is lekker' flag and this is a chance to celebrate our own chefs, restaurants and producers rather than looking overseas for inspiration. It is insulting to me that media showcase international talent when we have fabulous, equally gifted folk right here at home.
JW: I have been to the event the last two years and the growth has been pretty obvious. Tell me a bit about that.
JD: Obviously we aim to improve the event every year. We try and involve new restaurants so people can look forward to it and start planning early as part of their annual social calendar. It is important to us that we always introduce new and exciting things to keep people interested.
JW: The event is obviously a huge strain on the chefs involved. What considerations are there to keep in mind when you choose chefs and restaurants to approach?
JD: We want diversity. We want to represent the different tastes of the city so we try and get a wide range of different styles.
JW: Well, you look like you've nailed it this year. The lineup is ridiculous. Be honest now, are there any personal favourites that you are looking forward to trying?
JD: Honestly, there's something about each and every one of them that I love.
JW: Other than enjoying some of the best food in Cape Town, what can people expect?
JD: Great wine, wonderful booze, the Pick 'n Pay Fresh Living Theatre where you can attend informal cooking demos, the Grolsch Beer Academy, the Johnnie Walker Whiskey Theatre and the Checkers Wine Route, all of which you can enjoy simultaneously! There is also a small Producers' Market where you're bound to make some foodie discoveries.
JW: Aaah, so booze will play it's part - good to know! With that in mind, are the evening sessions a bit more of a party than the daytime ones? Or do Capetonians drink regardless of the time of day?!!
JD: I suppose there are less kids during the evening and things are probably a bit sexier at night but, as you say, people let their hair down during the day too!
JW: So are you going to find some time to actually enjoy the event yourself or will you be running around making sure we have a good time?
JD: No no, I will be enjoying myself. I always do!
JW: Cool. Well, I know you are hectic at the moment so I won't keep you any longer. Hopefully I'll see you later to buy you a drink?
JD: Thanks hon. See you there. And I'll buy the drink...
So there it is guys and girls. The Taste of Cape Town Festival starting tonight and running through to Sunday. I'm not going to say you're a loser if you don't go but...well...you kind-of are.