Gordon's Slow Food Odyssey

Gordon Wright outside Gordon's Restaurant at the Andries Stockenstrom Guest House in Graaff-Reinet.

Louise Liebenberg

EASTERN Cape chef Gordon Wright recently returned from an international culinary adventure for which  most foodies would gladly give up  their grandmothers’ prized dinner service.

Being  the head of the Karoo convivium of the Slow Food Movement in South Africa, Gordon, the chef and owner at Andries Stockenstrom Guest House in Graaff-Reinet, was invited to attend this leading international food movement’s Terra Madre convention in Turin, Italy.

“It was a five-day convention celebrating the pleasure of responsible, sustainable, locally-produced food from every corner of the globe and it had over 5000 international delegates attending,” said Gordon, who gave up a fast-paced career in the city to run Andries Stockenstrom Guest House – and Gordon’s Restaurant on the same premises – alongside his wife, Rose.

“We attended food and taste workshops and seminars on a wide range of topics, such as defending the biodiversity of food and producing ethical crops,” he said. “We also launched a project called ‘1000 Gardens in Africa’ which aims  to develop organic food gardens in communities around the continent. There were well over half a million visitors to the convention over the five days and it was a truly  spectacular experience.”

Besides attending Terra Madre,  Gordon also took a glorious Slow Food trip around Northern and Central Italy, together with six other international chefs.

Scroll down below for Gordon’s recipe for a dish he tried in a tiny trattoria in Livorno, Tuscany.

“It is very typical of the area and I just loved its simplicity,” said Gordon, who managed to get the basic recipe after chatting to the chef at the restaurant, then experimented a bit once home to perfect it.

“The dish’s Italian name is Tonno ubriaco alla Livornese and it is a real peasant dish that has about a thousand variations,” he said.

It is made from, among other ingredients,  fresh tuna steak, onion, parsley and the Italian staple of good red wine. But of course,  Gordon couldn’t resist giving it a South African twist by using some pinotage instead!

The dish is very quick to prepare and after allowing it to simmer for about 10 minutes, the juices are reduced to a thickish, zesty sauce.

Fresh tuna pasta from Tuscany – one of several recipes gleaned during Gordon's trip.

Gordon’s Tonno ubriaco alla Livornese  – aka Drunken Tuna!

Gordon says this dish is different but very tasty. “You can serve it on any type of  thin pasta,” he advised. “I used nidi di semola – those thin little spaghetti nests.”


4 pieces of fresh tuna steak ( about 100g each); 1 onion, finely chopped; peeled, 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed; 1 handful of chopped parsley; 1 glass of good red wine; flour; extra virgin olive oil; salt; pepper; pasta for serving


Sweat the onion in olive oil in a saucepan together with some peeled crushed garlic until the onion is translucent.

Lightly flour the tuna steaks, add to the saucepan and remove the garlic.

Brown until golden adding salt and pepper to taste.

Sprinkle over the parsley, drench with wine and reduce heat.

Simmer for about 10 mins and allow the juices to reduce to a thickish sauce.

Serve on pasta.

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