Deputy Minister, Madame Elizabeth Thabethe, attended a class of the National Youth Chefs Training Programme (NYCTP) at the Francois Ferreira Academy in December. This course is funded by the National Department of Tourism (NDT), and is administrated by the South African Chefs Association (SACA) She took part in the practical class where the students were taught how to bake Chocolate Brownies, Victoria Sponge Cake, Genoese Sponge Cake and Swiss Buttercream.

On successfully completing the class, Mrs Thabethe was taken to the Views Hotel in Wilderness, which had won the award for being the Top NYCTP Work Place in the country. Some of the NYCTP students had been placed at the Views Hotel, and the award was presented to them for the quality of the training the students received while in the work place. After a tour of the hotel, the Deputy Minister was taken to the Fat Fish restaurant in George for dinner, where the winner of the Top Student in the country Award, Debbie Kemp is the chef, and who prepared a special meal to show off her newly found skills, for the Deputy Minister and her entourage!

Before the departure of the NDT entourage, they were shown some of the amazing attractions that the Garden Route has to offer, by Denise Lindley, the Vice Principal of the Academy. They were picked up from the Oubaai Hotel, Golf and Spa where they had stayed the night, and taken by Jan Van Deventer and Lynette Whittaker of the Eden Wine Route, in a vintage Buick, to Herold Winery. The wine farm had luckily survived the recent fires, and they offered some of their wines to the visitors to taste by Nico Fourie, the owner and winemaker. After Herold, they were taken to Redberry Farm for a tour by Corné Bosman, where they picked their own strawberries, and enjoyed a delicious and refreshing strawberry juice. Whilst at Redberry, they went to Houtbosch Wines, another local winery, to enjoy the wines and a cheese platter. Kevin and Kelly Kieswetter, the owners of Houtbosch, presented some of their wines and the craft beers on offer

The Deputy Minister flew back to Johannesburg from George airport, having fallen in love with the beautiful Garden Route, and vowed to return early this year!