Plenty on the menu at this year’s Food Dialogues

Henry Mathys, a Woodstock resident and food ecosystem head at the V&A Waterfront, will be on a panel discussing business and the economy at the Polycrisis and our Food System Conference.

Food industry experts are sharing their knowledge and expertise at this year’s Food Dialogues taking place across different venues in the city.

The annual programme of talks and events is a chance for food growers, academics, activists, writers, nutritionists, policy-makers, food lovers and anyone interested in sustainability to get to grips with key issues on the food we eat and the future of food.

The programme, which runs until Tuesday July 18, started on Tuesday with The Polycrisis Pantry at Makers Landing. Billed as a chef-led, fine dining adventure that explores several crises in the food industry through satire, it was hosted by food activist Zayaan Khan with chef Maria van Zyl and farmer-artist Maya Marshak.

Polycrisis describes multiple crises that together have an overwhelmingly greater impact than the sum of the individual events.

“We are barely out of a global pandemic, and are now dealing with load shedding, a pending water crisis, the impacts of climate change and potential natural system shocks. How we strengthen our food systems to face these challenges is what we will focus on during this year’s event,” said Kurt Ackermann, CEO of the SA Urban Food and Farming Trust, which organised the Food Dialogues.

Henry Mathys, a Woodstock resident and food ecosystem head at the V&A Waterfront, will be on a panel discussing business and the economy at the Polycrisis and our Food System Conference on Thursday July 12.

“This year we will be focusing on the multitude of challenges people from all segments of society face relating to food security in Cape Town. Of particular concern to us is how we address the issue of inadequate nutrition in our youth, and I look forward to engaging on sustainable solutions to this, and several other issues,” he said.

Jade de Waal, of Salt River, will run a “guided children and parent food adventure” for children aged 5 to 9, at Makers Landing. And teens can join her and community culinary school Cooktastic for an afternoon of “flour, fermentation, frosting and fun” while learning how bread and cake ended up as food staples.

“Kids and teens find fun and meaning in the kitchen when they make and learn at the same time. For the 5 to 9-year-olds, there’s a food adventure (with parents) that wakes up palates with the introduction of flavour profiles and ingredient origins, before getting stuck into food prep,” she said.

The bread-and-cake workshop, she said, was more than just an opportunity to perfect baking techniques. “It’s a chance to connect with our ancestors, to understand how bread and cake have evolved alongside humanity, and how they continue to bring joy and unity to our lives today.”

Ms De Waal published three cookbooks by the age of 21, toured as a jazz musician from a young age and started Food Jams cooking classes in 2010 with a group of friends. She appeared on the first season of Masterchef SA in 2012.

Adeola Oyebade, of Ndabeni, is running walking tours in the CBD. Created in collaboration with historian and former head of the Western Cape Economic Development Partnership, Andrew Boraine, the tour sheds light on how history shapes the modern-day food system in Cape Town and how the contemporary city shapes our interactions with food.

“I have a particular interest in sharing and engaging other participants and experts on how we could build more resilient food systems in the face of increasing threats of food vulnerability and hunger,” said Mr Oyebade, who is the CEO of Kalesanwa, a cooperative company helping members Cape Town’s immigrant communities.

The 2023 Food Dialogues tickets are available on Quicket. Visit www.fooddialogues.info for details.

Jade de Waal, of Salt River, will be running children’s workshops during the Food Dialogues.
Adeola Oyebade, of Ndabeni, is running walking tours in the CBD that shed light on how history shapes the modern-day food system in Cape Town and how the contemporary city shapes our interactions with food.