South Africa, Cape Town; THIS year the One&Only Reaching for Young Stars culinary competition has reached a five-year milestone.
Now in its fifth consecutive year, the One&Only Reaching for Young Stars competition has solidified its reputation as the top culinary event for student chefs and wine stewards in South Africa. One&Only Cape Town not only hosts the competition, with the resort’s kitchens hotting up with creative dishes being prepared by rising stars, but also hosts the much-awaited prize-giving ceremony. One&Only Cape Town General Manager Richard Lyon is duly proud of the resort’s involvement in this competition: “One&Only Cape Town is committed to service excellence and training. This competition only means good things for the hospitality industry, and we are delighted to support these young aspirant chefs and wine stewards in their endeavours.”
Organised by Showcook.com’s Annette Kesler and Chania Morritt-Smith, true champions of furthering the talent of the local hospitality industry, the competition saw talented student chefs vying for the coveted trophy. Kesler elaborates: “The One&Only Reaching for Young Stars is a competition that is designed for young hospitality trainees that is both empowering and inspirational: it boasts top judges; it provides a platform to showcase terrific talent, highlighting the foundation the students receive at these excellent innovative culinary academies. It really is a showcase for what creativity and sheer hard work will achieve, and is a meaningful way to promote our homegrown hospitality industry.” Richard Lyon remarks that Annette Kesler’s hard work and passion for this competition makes it a true success.
MEET THE CONTESTANTS
Twelve chef students entered in duo teams from six hospitality schools. These duos were partnered with six wine steward entrants and then paired with individual wine estates. The aspirant chefs and wine stewards were invited to visit their estates to do wine tastings, learn from winemakers and gain valuable experience of hospitality on a working wine farm. Introducing this year’s entrants:
Cape Town Hotel School & Villiera
Duo of Chefs: Modeli Kruger & Mathabo Raselo
Wine Steward: Chané Van Zyl
The Hurst Campus & Oldenburg Vineyards
Duo of Chefs: Jandré Swart & Frikkie Janse van Rensburg,
Wine Steward: Nicole Van Zyl
International Hotel School & Stellar Organics
Duo of Chefs: Nicholas Oliphant & Rossouw Koen
Wine Steward: Micaela Newton
The Private Hotel School & Anthonij Rupert Wyne
Duo of Chefs: Carmen Eksteen & Peter Duncan
Wine Steward: Kudzie Mushure
Silwood School Of Cookery & Fleur Du Cap
Duo of Chefs: Hayley New & Charné Sampson
Wine Steward: Jason Geduld (Cape Town Hotel School)
South African Chefs Academy & Durbanville Hills
Duo of Chefs: Hannah Staddon & James Wright
Wine Steward: Paballo Lilly Lebeli (Cape Town Hotel School)
After rigorous days of workshops, tastings and expert lectures from partners SAPPO (South African Pork Producers’ Organisation), Lancewood, Rio Largo Olive oil, Khoisan Sea Salt and an orientation session at the One&Only kitchens, the contestants had to devise their menus and refine them in time for the judging day that took place at One&Only Cape Town on 15 September.
Nine top culinary judges conducted a blind tasting on the day. Reuben Riffel (chief judge), David van Staden, Floris Smith, Aubrey Ngcungama, Alan Romburgh, Jerome Peters, Luvo Ntezo, John Jackson, Marieta Human and Penelope Horwood tasted their way through six three-course menus that showcased South African pork in the main dish as well as Lancewood cheeses in innovative and delicious ways. All dishes were expertly paired with wine from partnered estates. Chief judge Reuben Riffel notes: “I’ve seen a distinct improvement over the past five years of this competition in both the quality and presentation of the dishes that students are delivering.” It is clear that One&Only Reaching for Young Stars competition is the premier platform for creating South African hospitality ambassadors.
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