Chef’s profile: Malcolm Bendrau of the Radisson Blu

Malcolm Bendrau of the Radisson Blu Hotel in Port Elizabeth. Picture: Roxy North

FORMER Johannesburg chef Malcolm Bendrau has taken over the culinary reigns at the Radisson Blu Hotel’s Italian-inspired Filini Restaurant and Tabú bar and lounge.

Now that former executive chef Stuart Cason has embarked on opening a Filini at the Radisson Blu’s newest hotel – in Mozambique – Malcolm, his senior sous,  is ready for his own flair and passion for food to shine through.

The 25-year-old studied at one of South Africa’s premier chef schools, the HTA School of Culinary Art, where he discovered his love of fine dining. He has since worked for the likes of the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg, The Castle in Kyalami and world-renowned Singita Game Lodge in the Kruger National Park.

Malcolm also has casual dining experience from his time at the Queen of the Nile Restaurant at Emperor’s Palace – and with international group Eat Lulu’s restaurant at the stylish Melrose Arch. “The Eat Lulu concept was a world first experience for consumers with a food conscience thanks to the restaurant’s commitment to organic food and the environment,” Malcolm says.

After being approached by Stuart to join him at the Radisson Blu in September 2009, Malcolm moved to Port Elizabeth and as senior sous assisted Stuart in creating authentic and contemporary Italian-inspired gourmet experiences at Filini and Tabú.

Filini is a successful international fine dining signature restaurant created by the Rezidor Group, and can be experienced at every Radisson Blu Hotel around the globe, while Tabú is its ‘urban chic’ cocktail lounge.

“When I first met Malcolm at the Saxon in 2005, I could see he had potential – he had the right attitude,” Stuart said.

“He joined me at the Radisson Blu in Port Elizabeth when I really needed the support. He was dropped in the deep end, and proved himself very quickly. He was my right hand man and we could not have accomplished all that we did, without him.”

He may be the man for fine dining, but Malcolm is equally good at creating the ultimate in comfort food. Having won first place in a national competition presented by the South African Chefs Association at the Mushroom Festival in the casual dining category in 2005, Malcolm has decided to share a very simple yet wholesome recipe that can be made at home.

Try his mushroom and leek pot pie below – just scroll down for it and other tantalising recipes!

Malcolm’s Mushroom and Leek Pot Pie – The Recipe

Malcolm's mushroom and leek pot pie. Picture: Supplied

Serves 2

Ingredients

150g sliced white mushrooms; 200g sliced portabellini mushrooms; 150g sliced leeks; 8 to 10 sprigs of time; 1/2 clove of garlic, chopped; 180ml cream, salt and pepper to taste; enough puff pastry to cover your bowl; 2 eggs, beaten

Method

Saute the leeks, garlic and mushrooms in a little olive oil on high heat until the mushrooms are soft. Add the thyme and saute for a further minute. Add cream, reduce the heat and let the mixture simmer.

Roll out your puff pastry very lightly using a little flour and not making it too thin.

Once your mushroom mix has reduced by a ¼ and is nice and thick, season with salt and pepper and place in an oven-proof dish.

Place the rolled out puff pastry on top of the mixture, pierce the pastry a few times.

A nice touch is to cut out leftover puff pastry in mushroom shapes and place on top of the pastry before baking, for great visual appeal.

Brush with the beaten egg and bake at 170 degrees (preheated oven) until the pastry has risen and is golden brown.

Win a R500 meal voucher at Radisson Blu!

In celebration of Mother’s Day next Sunday, one Weekend Post reader can win dinner for two to the value of R500 at the Radisson Blu Hotel’s exclusive Filini Restaurant.

The prize will be valid until the end of August.

To find out how to enter, get your copy of Weekend Post on Saturday, April 30 and check the MyWeekend section. Entries close at noon on Tuesday and the winners will be notified telephonically later in the week.

LAST WEEKEND’S WINNERS: Una Botes of Westering, PE, was the lucky reader who won a two- night stay for a couple at the new Spekboom Tented Camp at Addo Elephant National Park, courtesy of SANParks, in our Explorer competition last weekend.

Vanessa Barnard of Forest Hill, PE, won the day trip for a couple to the Addo Elephant Back Safaris and Lodges, which is not part of SANParks.

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