Ricochet News

Locals trained to treat tourists to dinner in their homes

Jun 26, 2018
Locals trained to treat tourists to dinner in their homes

Tourists from around the world will soon be experiencing authentic cooking and live entertainment in the homes of George families as part of a new tourism initiative.

Six teams from Thembalethu and Pacaltsdorp were identified and vetted for the first Dining with Locals initiative, in which tourists will eventually visit their homes for a traditional homecooked meal, entertainment and storytelling. The past weekend saw the first of a series of training sessions in which the teams will learn an array of skills including starting and running a business, marketing, food costing, advanced catering, tourism and hospitality and more.

George Tourism Manager Joan Shaw said the project was based on a similar initiative in Stellenbosch, which had been running successfully for many years. “Dining with Locals is very popular with international tourists and provides an opportunity for a wider community to benefit directly and indirectly from tourism. We have a rich culture of flavourful cooking, joyful singing and colourful storytelling that should be shared and this is an ideal way to spread positive vibes and for locals to earn an income from their talents and passions.”

The teams will become fully fledged businesses that provide services to George Tourism, which in turn will market, book and facilitate the experiences. Tourists will be collected and transported to hosting homes by taxi, accompanied by a site guide who will give tourism information of George and surrounds on the way there.

The experience includes a three-course traditional meal paired with local wines. Hosts will explain their culture and how it translates into their interpretations of food. Hosts are encouraged to bring out the family photos and share their history with visitors. The teams include entertainers, storytellers, singers and musicians that join the dinner to add to the vibe with stories and music.

“The teams we have identified so far cook in a wide variety of styles including traditional Xhosa, Khoi, Cape Malay and fresh fish meals.

“Once fully trained, the teams will host a demonstration evening in which the complete experience will be tested. We hope to be ready to launch in September during Tourism Month,” said Mrs Shaw.

Image: The Dining with Locals teams had their first training session with George Tourism and Stellenbosch360, which had run the programme successfully in Stellenbosch for years.In front row from left: Veronica Horne, Heloine America, Melanie Martins (Tourism Officer, Development), Ann Heyns (Facilitator), Frans Joseph, Joan Shaw (Tourism Manager), Eunice Gundwana, Magmoeda Sylvester, Beverley McKelly, Marina Lord (Facilitator), Enrico Apollis, Trudy Jansen. Back row: Jabes Horne, Nomzamo Entile , Rose Munro (LED Admin Officer), Portfolio Councillor for Strategic Services, Iona Kritzinger, Unam Gila and Camalita Fisher.