The tragic news of Simba’s passing bought back memories of his most recent Top Billing insert at Hartford House just over a year ago. A wonderfully engaging personality, for a man of his visibility, his humility was a rare attribute which pre-destined him for the big time. Our sympathies to everyone who knew him, and in particular, his family.Read More
Filtering by Category: Obituary
David Rawdon (who introduced my parents), defined the previous era in hospitality with Rawdons, Lanzerac and Matjiesfontein, among others. The next generation of heritage hoteliers belonged to a grand old dame, Liz McGrath, who passed on this weekend, aged 92.Read More
DOYENNE OF RUSTIC SOUTH AFRICAN COOKING
We are very sad at the passing of Lannice Snyman, the founding editor of Eat Out. The doyenne of rustic South African cooking was many things: dynamic publisher and author of many beautiful, well-thumbed books; restaurant critic; journalist; food stylist; great and inspiring friend; wife; mother – and most recently a grandmother. Lannice will be missed terribly.
“Fabulous friend of 20 years, motherly mentor, insightful sounding board, daunting critic and deliciously wicked partner in crime, I will miss you in so many ways, and for so many reasons but mostly because lunch in this town will just never be the same without you (and your acerbic wit) there. Fly with the angels.” Love always, Justine xxx
“Lannice was a terrible food critic – because she always saw the best in people. Even when she’d eaten a diabolical meal she would always see a glimmer of hope and have an encouraging word. Chefs loved her because she was always honest, never brutal. She understood what it meant to have your reputation on every plate and was always respectful of the responsibility that her position wielded. May the sauce be with you.”
“I met Lannice for the first time in Johannesburg 18 years ago when I had just started working as a chef in the kitchen of Ciro Molinaro. In an article, she wrote that I had ‘chutzpah’. I had to look up its meaning and realised it was a rather apt observation and a great compliment. “She was brilliant at that: observing . Lannice didn’t miss a thing – even when we really would have liked her not to have noticed something. “What an amazing woman! Positive, inspiring and very witty. I am lucky to have shared many special moments with her, and to have received her critique, advice and friendship. “I am really very fortunate to have spent an hour with Lannice last Wednesday – talking, laughing and reminiscing. As I told her when we said goodbye – she is my hero!”
“I am sure I speak for all the chefs of South Africa and members of the gastronomic fraternity when I say that the food industry has lost an icon and, moreover, a great friend. Lannice’s many books and articles have been an inspiration to both professional cooks and housewives. Known for her incredible lust for life, her enthusiasm, contagious sense of humour, warmth of character and her downright honest approach to her work, Lannice’s contribution to the world of food has been nothing short of remarkable. Lannice, we will miss you enormously. Our deepest sympathy to her husband, daughters, and granddaughter.”
“A great lady. A centre-stage character, totally professional in her working life and a caring, generous friend. Lannice, we’ll miss you. You leave BIG shoes to fill.”
“Lannice taught me everything I know about reviewing a restaurant – she was very generous with her knowledge and insisted that the restaurant should be reviewed honestly and with integrity. She would praise generously when it was warranted and give strict criticism when needed. She was a mentor, a sounding board and friend. I will miss her greatly.”
“Lannice Snyman died in the early hours of Sunday morning, 9 May. This banal declaration upturns an entire sense of place and meaning for those who knew her. Someone once said there are such people that to think of a world without them is inconceivable. If we didn’t know Lannice, we would have had to invent her. Fortunately, many did know her. She was fabulous, formidable and funny. She was a smart businesswoman, an astute publisher, a relentless editor, a delightful writer and a consummate chef. And in all these endeavours, she consumed with passion. But all of this seemed so beside the point once you got to know her. For, above all, she was the most wonderful friend: generous, embracing and compassionate. She didn’t suffer fools gladly - even among her friends and family - and careless behaviour from anyone was not left unnoticed but always forgiven. She had a huge heart and a canny wisdom that, like her recipes, cut through the obfuscations of cloying flavour-confusing ingredients, called a herb a herb, and told it to you good, clean and fair.”
“Lannice leaves a space at the table that cannot be filled. But it will always be honoured. And a glass will always be raised to her and the memories she has made for us all. “Lannice was, simply, lovely. Huge hug, huge heart, huge smile, all wrapped in bright and floaty fabrics. “Also, she was nobody’s fool: she had an acute mind, an impeccable palate, and a finely honed bulldust detector – and no qualms about letting you know about any of them, which meant the love her friends and colleagues felt for her was rightly tempered by well-deserved respect. “Around her table I have had some of the happiest and best meals of my life, and thanks to her many cookbooks, I have a rich understanding of the diverse and sometimes eccentric culinary traditions of this country. Her contribution to the food world as author, publisher and judge is, simply, immeasurable, and we’re much the poorer for her passing. But what her friends will most remember is Lannice’s wonderfully irreverent sense of fun, and her mothering. She was generous with her time, and proactive with her support. And she really knew what to do with good chocolate. I will miss her terribly.”
“Lannice was a friend. We first met in 1997. ‘That was awesome,’ she once said to me with a twinkle in her eyes, after she had just finished eating her last mouthful of my braised lettuce with red wine sauce and poached bonemarrow. ‘I haven’t had bonemarrow in years!’ “We went on to talk about French regional cuisine and what we could possibly do with fresh veal sweetbreads, and eventually the conversation turned to South Africa and its wondrous unexploited resources, secrets and talents, ancient recipes and incredible farmed produce. Lannice was in love, it was pouring out of her: the virtues of open-fire cooking in the late afternoon light, the warmth of a full day of sun on the garden boulders, the smell of braaing ribs and the laughter of her family in the background. She was talking about what she loved and, being in the early years of my career in South Africa, I was impressed and inspired. Lannice was one of those few people who helped me make this country my home. For this, I am forever grateful. “There is no doubt in my heart that her beautiful soul will soon return in the body of one, who will learn, love and try to make our world a better place again.”
“Lannice Snyman died in the early hours of Mother’s Day, after a long battle with cancer. Her passing leaves a hole in all our lives. How can it be that we will not bump into her at the next foodie function? I met Lannice with her parents in the 1960s and her friendship has been something very special and dear to me. “She set the food-and-lifestyle writing benchmark, to which many aspire. She set a fine example of how one should live one’s life, with one’s family. She was a good, kind, generous and loving person. “Her many books are testimony to her extensive knowledge and her ability to style food so that it looks so mouthwateringly edible. She made a huge contribution to the restaurant industry – there are few in the business who were untouched by her. She was a judge at the annual Winelist Awards, where her extensive knowledge of the restaurant business was so useful to the whole panel. “Our loving thoughts go out to her loving husband Mike, her daughters Courtenay and Tamsin, her son-in-law Chris and granddaughter Trinity. While we mourn her passing with immense sadness, we rejoice in her legacy, we treasure the memories we have of her, and we are humbled that she chose to touch our lives in such a meaningful way.”
“It was with great sadness that I learnt that Lannice Snyman – friend, author and respected culinary guru – had passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning. At moments like this I find myself wondering about the fairness of life… where such a wonderful, gifted, passionate person, with so much to give, had to leave the world too soon, way before their time. “I have known Lannice for over 30 years and we have shared a love of food, travelling and – most importantly – family and friends. On a professional front I think all restaurateurs and chefs respected Lannice’s views because she really had been there and done it! Lannice knew what it was like to be behind the stove and how to cope with the dily pressures of restaurant life. She introduced the first real restaurant awards. She was always brutally honest and fiercely loyal. Over the years Lannice and I ate in London and Paris; we explored all sorts of shops, laughed together and shared many a difficult time together. But in the 30 years I knew Lannice, I also knew that what really made her eyes light up, and her face radiant, was her family. She adored her husband Mike, whom she met at school and shared the rest of her life with, and her two daughters, Courtenay and Tamsin. They were the centre of her universe and I think that Lannice considered the day she became a grandmother her greatest achievement. When we returned from the 2010 World Top 50 Awards in London, we all remarked that the one thing that was missing was Lannice. I was fortunate enough, along with Margot, to have visited Lannice earlier last week. Both Margot and myself enjoyed an extraordinary hour with Lannice. We discussed food, dinners in Paris, 30 years of friendship and just how bad hospital food really is! I will forever treasure this hour with Lannice; it was a gift. Lannice – my dear friend – we will continue to strive to be better. We will miss your advice, your input and your smile. You will be with us in spirit whenever we enjoy a meal in a restaurant that we have read about, researched, and travelled half way around the world to get to. You were our mentor, our sounding board, our fiercest critic and, above all, our dear friend. We will miss you.”
“Although Lannice’s life was filled by the many who respected and loved her, she always made me feel like her special, one-in-a-million friend and shining star. I cannot think of another woman who was able to combine as successfully as Lannice did, play and perspicacity, hard slog and love. Lannice made a difference to the very fabric of my life and will always be my food guru.”
“Lannice Snyman, Eat Out’s longest-serving editor, passed away on 9 May 2010, after a long illness bravely borne. “I had the privilege of working with Lannice for over seven years, during which time she helped build Eat Out into South Africa’s foremost authority on restaurants. In the process, we had lots of fun and at times shed a few tears. “Lannice’s enthusiasm, commitment, passion, professionalism, and dedication to her work were an inspiration to all her colleagues. “All of us at New Media Publishing will miss her for her contributions and drive, but will always remember her fondly.”
"I worked with Lannice for 14 years and in that time we vey quickly became close friends. She loved South Africa, she was immensely knowledgeable and had a gift for conveying her research and work in a way people could appreciate. The memory of her warm personality, her sense of humour, and her tremendous energy will live on in the hearts of her friends. And her books will remain classics for many years to come."
“Lannice was truly an inspiration. Even to those who were not foodies, her passion made you eager to try, taste and enjoy her many delicious recipes and discoveries. My memories are of a woman of such strength and charisma that you were naturally drawn to her. With all the recognition she achieved she was always simply ‘Lannice who loved life, food and the people she came in contact with’. Ready with a smile and an encouraging word, or just happy to reconnect, she always made time to talk no matter how busy she was. We will all miss her but the legacy that she has left is a reminder of how important it is to share our lives through the joy of good food.”
A memorial service for Lannice Snyman will be held at St Cyprian's Cathedral on Saturday, 15 May at 11am.
Extract from Eat Out
(Photo : The Witness)
Everybody knew Monica Fairall. There was a time, when she was one of South Africa’s most celebrated Miss South Africas, and every young man in the nation would’ve given his heart and everything else he possessed to know her. But Monica was much more than that, she was an intellectual, a great journalist, a creative genius and a beautiful person, all wrapped up in one.
Just two years ago, she married for the first time at Hartford House, and the sad thing about it all, is that so soon after finding the bliss only great marriages delivered, she’s passed on. There’ve been many newspaper tributes paid to Monica’s life, and in all of them we’ve been reminded of the photographs of her wedding which we were so privileged to host. We were lucky to know her, as so many were, and our thoughts are with her husband Professor Robert Morrell, at this sad time.
Thank heavens Rob came along. On her own version, he gave Monica a dimension to her life that she’d never had, much like she did for so many of us.
Sir Clement Freud
(Photo : NY Times)
The world has already lamented the loss last week of the adventurer, writer and celebrated raconteur, Sir Clement Freud. We have our own recollections of a visit which entertained us endlessly 20 years ago, when he was a personal guest of the Goss family whilst they were still living at Hartford House.
Sir Clement's appreciation of his visit was echoed in the most beautiful statement about Hartford House and Summerhill Stud. “From there you drive towards Giant’s Castle in the foothills of the Drakensberg Mountains and 5kms southwest is a handsome drive, lined by trees and decorated with potted conifers, that leads to one of the country’s most beautiful houses. You have arrived”. “Let us return to Summerhill, which is so beautiful that if you had a broodmare you loved it would be downright cruel to send her anywhere else”.
Following is a personal tribute by Derek Taylor, published in the Sunday Tribune.
The host of a fairly uproarious publisher’s party introduced me to Freud – a wit, racecourse addict, chef-patron, cabaret manager, member of the House of Commons and grandson of Sigmund Freud – adding I was from Australia.
Clem, already practising his concerned, lugubrious bloodhound expression although his too-young dewlaps weren’t yet up to it, said sympathetically, “I’m so sorry, but your secret will be safe with me.”
We became friends and almost every time I went through London since, we managed a lunch or an evening of cheerfully libellous accounts of current scandals and politics.
Clem died last week – at his desk, working well into his 80’s, still working hard – and our world is the poorer for his exit.
Thousands of South Africans will remember him as the mordant voice of the BBC radio comedy Just A Minute. For many of its record 41-year run, the show was re-broadcast in SA and around 20 other countries.
Sir Clement Freud MP – as he become known after serving in three successive parliaments – had recorded his last episode of Just A Minute 10 days before he died.
One of his repetitive boasts was he kept his jokes out of his work in the House of Commons as a Liberal Party member.
His Proudest claim was he helped create the Monty Python comedy team. John Cleese and the others had all known or known of each other when members of the Cambridge University Footlights society.
But it only dawned on them to work together after Clement had got them to appear in the cabaret he ran in his nightclub.
This showplace for young and original talent above the Royal Court Theatre also served rather good food : while waiting to be called-up for military service in 1942, Clement found a job as an apprentice chef at the Dorchester Hotel in Park lane, aged 16.
He wrote a successful book, Freud On Food, which contained the immortal line : “The aphrodisiac reputation of the oyster is overrated : the last time I had half a dozen only four of them worked.”
Among his hints for social success and economy was the suggestion that you roasted a couple of coffee beans in a frying pan to release their aroma into the dining-room – while you made the instant coffee.
His children’s book, The Grimble, which didn’t do well when it was published, was later praised as “a masterpiece” by J K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter bestsellers.
This “ultimate immigrant Englishman”, as he once described himself to me, was born in Berlin and arrived in England when Grandfather Sigmund sized up the Nazis’ lethal anti-semitism and escaped with his family to London in 1933.
“We got away early to avoid the rush,” Clement told me.
Much of his self-deprecating humour stems from that frightened 12-year-old boy from Berlin, taken to England without and English to his name.
And from his assimilation in a country not itself short of anti-semitism in polite circles – as Sir Oswald Moseley, leader of the British Union of Fascists demonstrated before he was locked up for World War II.
Clement served with the Royal Ulster Rifles and, after the war, was a liaison officer at the Nuremberg war crimes trials.
Becoming an Anglican when he married Jill Raymond, an actress, they had five children and 17 grandchildren. Jill still runs a successful theatre company at 78.
Clement always protested that he didn’t know his world-famous grandfather well, but he remembered being taken to tea with him in Hampstead and “he was a good grandfather – he never forgot my birthdays.”
I once asked him if he had ever been tempted to follow in Sigmund’s footsteps by becoming a psychiatrist. “Good God, no,” he said. “Have you ever read any of that stuff? I got through a couple of pages of it once. Most unhealthy.”
Towards the end of his life, Clem turned his jokes towards death. His main regret, he told interviewers, was Spike Milligan had beaten him to the epitaph : “I told you I was ill”. Clem had settled on “Best before... (the date of his death).”