Piet Nkambule is the 2012 Shoprite boerewors champion, he was crowned by the supermarkets chain after tasting his traditional wors at their annual competition.Piet Nkambule, top of podium, is 2012’s best boerwors maker. (Image: Shoprite)Wilma den HartighPiet Nkambule from Newcastle in Kwazulu-Natal makes South Africa’s best boerewors. He was selected as the winner of the 2012 Shoprite Checkers Championship Boerewors Competition, an annual event hosted by the supermarket group to identify the country’s best traditional boerewors recipe.Before Nkambule made it into the top 10, his award-winning recipe was put to the test and tasted by a panel of high profile food experts. Over a period of four months, the judges tasted thousands of pieces of boerewors across the country to find a recipe that stands out.Nkambule’s recipe was selected from more than 1 000 entries that went through three rounds of elimination.Martin Kobald, one of the judges, who is a chef and honorary past president of the South African Chefs Association (SACA), says Nkambule’s boerewors recipe was exactly what the judges were looking for.“It had an authentic flavour and you could taste the coriander and cloves nicely,” Kobald explains. “When it was cooked the combination of flavours unfolded better than others.”Another judge of the competition and executive chef, Jeff Schueremans, says the winning boerewors had a prominent beef and pork flavour. “That was the best one of all of them,” Schueremans says.Determination pays offIn addition to receiving the coveted title, South Africa’s boerewors champion should also be commended for his perseverance. Even though he has participated 19 times in the competition, without ever reaching the finals, he never gave up.But this was his lucky year.“I can’t believe I actually won,”Nkambule says, and he can’t wait to receive his prize which includes a new Toyota Hilux 2.7 double cab raised body raider, R2 500 (US$286) holiday voucher from food company All Gold, R2 000 ($229) Coca Cola cash prize and R750 ($86) worth of vouchers from snack food manufacturer Simba.“In my life I never thought I would drive a new car,” he says.Developing the perfect recipeBoerewors is a type of sausage that is synonymous with South African food heritage. The name comes from the Afrikaans words boer (farmer) and wors (sausage).Boerewors is usually braaied, a method that cooks food on an open fire, but some South Africans would, somewhat reluctantly, concede that it can also be grilled under an electric grill, fried, or baked in an oven.Kobald says that the recipe for traditional boerewors is legislated and must strictly adhere to certain guidelines. Although it is up to individuals to adjust the ratios of the ingredients, boerewors must contain at least 90% meat, always containing beef as well as lamb or pork, or a mixture of lamb and pork. Not more than 30% of the meat content may be fat and it can’t contain any mechanically recovered meat.Apart from the meat content, no other ingredients may be added except vinegar, spices, herbs, salt or other harmless flavourants and water. Cereal products such as oats or bread crumbs may be used as binding agents, but it should be suitable for mass production and a specific shelf life.“Although the ingredients are legislated, there is always someone’s boerewors that stands out and this is what we wanted to find,” Kobald says.Nkambule isn’t a newcomer to the meat industry. He’s worked in butcheries since 1977, when he started out by making deliveries. After many years, he’s learnt the tricks of the trade and, of course, what makes a good boerewors.He says he has taken a lot of time to perfect his winning recipe, now a closely guarded secret.“Over the years people have given me many tips and tricks about how to make a good boerewors,” he says.Although he is reluctant to divulge the ingredients of his winning recipe, he does reveal a few pointers for aspiring wors makers.“My secret lies in the special ratio of pork to beef meat I include in my mixture,” he says. “The right quality spices are also very important.”Boerewors under scrutinyFinding the country’s best boerewors is no small feat and an independent judging panel of respected food experts had the tough job of making the final decision.It took 85 regional and 10 provincial elimination rounds, during which 400 judges from the SACA had to taste and assess more than 55 000 pieces of raw and cooked boerewors to eventually find the top ten that would battle it out at the final.The judges included Martin Kobald; Arnold Tanzer, Sunday Times chef of the year 2008; Carmen Niehaus, YOU and Huisgenoot food editor and author of more than 20 cookbooks; Peter Veldsman, author of several cookbooks; and Lungile Nhlanhla, junior food editor at Drum magazine and one of the five finalists of the 2012 Masterchef SA programme.Schueremans explains that the judges have to taste both the raw and cooked boerewors, and contestants also have to provide the spices for a separate tasting to ensure that the correct spices have been used.“When the wors is raw it reveals a different flavour,” Schueremans says.Kobald adds that by tasting the raw product, the judges can also determine if the ingredients are correct and correspond with the specific recipe provided by the contestant.Cooked to perfectionBecoming the country’s boerewors champion isn’t just about combining the right mix of ingredients – the contestants must also cook the boerewors to perfection. If it is undercooked or overdone the judges can’t get a good sense of its taste.Kobald points out that cooking the wors is as important as developing the best recipe, as contestants could achieve a high score for their raw product, but get marked down at the cooking stage.To ensure that each individual tasting is accurate, the judges clean their palettes between tastings by eating a dry biscuit and drinking water.In his 13 years of involvement with the competition, Kobald has noticed how contestants have changed and evolved their techniques, and are taking the annual event more seriously.The new Championship Boerewors is in-store and available at all Shoprite, Checkers and Checkers Hyper stores countrywide.Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.
The dust continues to get stirred up following Oracle’s announcement regarding plans for the Itanium processor and HP-UX. Plenty of authors have been commenting on the subject of late, often concluding that the announcement has negative consequences for HP customers who’ve been relying on Itanium and HP-UX to run their Oracle-based mission-critical database workloads.Far from being on the verge of falling, however, the sky is actually very bright for those customers.That’s because, for pretty much the first time in the history of the enterprise relational database market, those customers have a perfectly viable alternative readily available.That option is IBM DB2.”Why is DB2 a more viable option for an existing Oracle customer today than in the past?” You might well ask – To answer that question, a bit of history is in order.E.F. Codd published his seminal paper – “A Relational Model of Data for Large-Scale Data Banks”, in 1970. I was only 9 at the time, so it wasn’t on my reading list. Which proved to be OK, since it took until I had graduated college, some twelve years later, for computers to become powerful enough to handle the compute requirements of processing SQL. Codd worked for IBM at the time his paper was published. Oracle beat IBM to market with the first SQL database by a small interval, but Oracle and DB2 have been competing with one another basically since DB2’s introduction in 1983.I first installed DB2, on an IBM MVS mainframe, in 1985. My first Oracle experience was a few years later – ironically enough using OS/2 running on one of the first Compaq SystemPro servers to come off the line. So I’ve been watching this competition play out for some time.SQL wasn’t standardized at the beginning, so different implementations had different ‘dialects’. The first ANSI SQL specification came out in 1986. It has served as the standard definition of what constitutes the SQL language itself ever since, with multiple revisions published over the years. The idea behind a standard definition of the language was to allow for easy portability of applications and database definitions between DBMS’s that implemented the standard. As long as the applications and database definitions adhered to the standard, went the theory, portability would be preserved.From the very beginning, however, commercial SQL DBMS vendors have provided proprietary ‘extensions’ to their implementations that tempted programmers and DBA’s to sacrifice portability in favor of optimized performance and functionality.The inevitable result was effective lock-in to a particular DBMS. Once programmers and DBAs started down the slippery slope of using proprietary in-database stored procedure languages and SQL semantic extensions, migration between DBMS’s required source-level changes that could be time-consuming, risky, and costly. That was the case until May 19, 2009, when IBM delivered its Oracle compatibilty extensions with DB2 9.7.DB2 9.7, for the first time in the history of Database Management System’s , fully supported almost the entire collection of proprietary extensions to the SQL standard that Oracle’s DBMS provides. So instead of requiring a complete re-coding and re-testing of applications in order to migrate from Oracle to DB2, customers who wish to migrate from any Oracle database to DB2 merely have to unload their database contents and re-load them into DB2 9.7 – no source code changes or DDL changes required. It isn’t entirely seamless, since an unload/reload is still required, but the process is vastly less daunting than it ever was before, and much less intrusive than an entire platform change.So if, like tens of thousands of your peers, you’re running the core of your enterprise on HP-UX and Itanium and you’d like to keep doing just that for the foreseeable future, rest assured that you have a viable alternative available – one that’s fully the equal of Oracle’s in terms of suitability for mission-critical workloads.The analyst community has been taking note of the arrival of this new capability. George Weiss of Gartner Group, commenting on the subject of Oracle’s announcement and its impact on end users, said:”For Oracle applications written internally, you can move to IBM’s DB2 9.7 (and future releases), which contains the Oracle database compatibility feature. This enables Oracle code to run on DB2 unchanged (with about a 97% compatibility as reported by references and Gartner clients).” (Source: Q&A: The User Impact of Oracle Ceasing Itanium Development; April 5, 2011; George J. Weiss, Andrew Butler, Donald Feinberg)They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. If so, Oracle should be feeling very flattered at the moment. And customers who are currently running Oracle databases on the Itanium processor and HP-UX should feel reassured.The next time your Oracle sales rep shows up to talk about plans for migrating your Oracle databases to a SPARC platform, be sure to have a DB2 9.7 coffee cup prominently positioned on your desk. Have a chat about your success in moving your Oracle databases and applications to DB2 without any need to change platforms. Be sure to mention that your modern Itanium-based platforms already significantly outperform anything available using SPARC, and you’re looking forward to the next decade’s worth of continuing improvements from HP and Intel.Should make for an interesting conversation!