Catering companies Port Elizabeth, Port Elizabeth Catering companies. PE catering companies, Caterers Port Elizabeth,
Home / Uncategorized / President Nelson Mandela’s 100th Birthday celebration in Mveso

President Nelson Mandela’s 100th Birthday celebration in Mveso


Imagination Food Design was honoured to be invited to cater for President Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday in Mvezo on the 18th July 2018. The trip from Port Elizabeth took 12 hours to Mvezo and was an epic adventure considering we had know idea how to get there! Most people think he was born in Qunu just outside UMtata which is where he actually grew up.

Going through the village I was privileged enough to see the hut in which President Nelson Mandela was born and where he sat the entire day he was released from prison. It was the highlight of my catering career and a huge honour to be tasked with catering for this amazing event.

Not without its challenges though. Loads of phone calls from the event organizers based in JHB to arrange 2000 litres of water, food and infrastructure that had to be taken through to Mvezo where there are little or no facilities like running water or electricity. After having one days notice to shop and prep for the event we packed a 7 ton truck full of all the equipment needed to do the event, including the kitchen sink and by 1:00 am on Tuesday morning we where packed and ready to go. With only two hours sleep at 3:00am we were ready for the driver to leave so we could get to the venue to unpack and set up later in the day at Mveso where the event was to be held.

After a grueling long days drive we arrived at Mveso at 16:00 hours later that afternoon.It took us an additional 5 hours to unpack, set up the kitchen and prep the final touches for the breakfast the following morning. Making sure that all the ovens and electrical equipment didn’t trip the electricity before we headed back to Umtata for a few hours sleep. All the staff were bused through from Port Elizabeth and accommodated at guest houses in Umtata for the night ready to wake up at 3:30am to drive an hour back through to Mvezo to set up for breakfast.

Our brief was to be ready for 10am but in reality and in true African fashion we started serving coffee from 6am up at the main village from our kitchen based in the valley 10 min drive from the village reception hall. Even with special clearance VIP stickers it was a challenge getting through security. Due to the number of VIP guests and Presidents from all over the world attending the security was rightly at the highest level and we were checked at every turn. Setting up for breakfast and the president in the main village became a challenge as each time the President was moved from place to place everything was brought to a halt until he was escorted out the area and things could carry on as usual.

The dome structure where the main event was to be held took two weeks to erect and was amazing on all accounts. No expense was spared when it came to decor sound and vision. We catered for 750 Vip guests and a good few more not on the list including security, body guards

Nelson Mandela’s 100th celebration starter

Nelson Mandela's 100th celebration starter

 

 

police and a few locals. Lunch was sheduled to start at around 14:30 but with so many speakers we started around 15:30  and finished with dessert at just after 18:30. Breaking down and packing the vehicles was a lot quicker and we were back on the road by 21:00. Shattered but extremely happy it was a great success we arrived back in Port Elizabeth at 4:30am the following morning. What an amazing experience!

??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???

The views from the village down to the Dome where the lunch was to be served.

On the road to Mvezo

On the road to Mvezo

??? ??? ???

The backpackers being built in Nelson Mandela's traditional village

The backpackers being built in Nelson Mandela’s traditional village

The amazing views on the way through to Mvezo

The amazing views on the way through to Mvezo

 

The reception hall in the Nelson Mandela village

The reception hall in the Nelson Mandela village

Inside the dome

Inside the dome

The reception hall at the Nelson Mandela village

The reception hall at the Nelson Mandela village

??? ??? ???

Rigging the service tent before the event.

Rigging the service tent before the event.

??? ??? ??? ???

The Decor and lighting.

The Decor and lighting.

??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? ???

The view overlooking the valley where Nelson Mandela sat and looked at the whole day when he was released from prison.

The view overlooking the valley where Nelson Mandela sat and looked at the whole day when he was released from prison.

The hut in which Nelson Mandela was born.

The hut in which Nelson Mandela was born.

The breakfast setup for President Cyril Ramaposa outside the ceremonial hut where Nelson Mandela met with the elders.

The breakfast setup for President Cyril Ramaphosa outside the ceremonial hut where Nelson Mandela met with the elders.

??? ??? ???

???
Trio of parsley and peper fish cakes served on a sweet and sour cucumber salad
One of the three starters served on the day.

Nelson Mandela's 100th Birthday cake

Nelson Mandela’s 100th Birthday cake

 

About Dean Dickinson

I am a passionate chef with high standards to food and a love for food photography. I love developing new concepts and menu ideas always looking to set new standards with a very competitive nature. I spent 7 years working in some of the best kitchens in London. My career started working in a pub kitchen at the Queens head in Marylabone st in 95 and quickly moved on to the production kitchens of Harrods where I spent 6 months learning how to prepare gourmet terrines, amazing sandwiches and my first experience of fine dinning in the Georgian restaurant. I moved on to various kitchens in London improving each time I moved and learning a variety of skills along the way. I had the opportunity to work on some of the UK landmark events including Wimbledon tennis catering for the royal box and the common wealth games in 2000. I worked my way to Executive head chef of Goldman Sachs feeding an average of 4000 staff each day. I then moved on to work for Canape's Direct as Development chef where we product up to 30 000 canapes a day for various London events. I started my own Kitchen called South African Table in London in 2001 before moving back to South Africa at the end of 2002 to start Imagination Food Design.
Scroll To Top