Cape Town. 151105. Nicholas Oliphant and Rossouw Koen of The International Hotel School perfect their dishes. pic supplied

Terri Dunbar-Curran

“SOUTH Africa is not only known for its World Heritage Sites and safaris, there is something else… the warmth and hospitality of South Africans,” Deputy Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa said at the One & Only Reaching for Young Stars awards ceremony on Thursday.

“That’s what really en-hances the experience of people who come to this country.”

In its fifth year, the competition identifies, challenges and rewards young student chefs and wine stewards.

The event is organised by Annette Kesler and Chania Morritt-Smith, of Showcook. com, and featured 12 student chefs from six hospitality schools.

The chef duos were partnered with six young wine stewards and then paired with individual wine estates.

The chefs and stewards visited the estates, where they were able to taste the wines they would be working with and meet the winemakers.

Cape Town Hotel School was paired with Villiera, The Hurst Campus with Oldenburg Vineyards, International Hotel School with Stellar Organics, The Private Hotel School with Anthonij Rupert Wyne, Silwood School of Cookery with Fleur Du Cap, and South African Chefs’ Academy with Durbanville Hills.

The young competitors attended a series of workshops, tastings and lectures – all leading up to them devising their menus and refining them in time for the panel of judges to critique in mid-September.

“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,” said chief judge Reuben Riffel.

Hayley New and Charné Sampson, of Silwood School of Cookery, won first place, while Carmen Eksteen and Peter Duncan, of The Private Hotel School, took second and Jandré Swart and Frikkie Janse Van Rensburg came third.

In the wine steward category Nicole van Zyl, of The Hurst Campus, took the top honours, followed by Chané van Zyl, of the Cape Town Hotel School, and Kudzie Mushure, of The Private Hotel School.

Xasa said not only was tourism a good revenue generator, but also an excellent job creator. She encouraged the young chefs and wine stewards to continue to “reach for the stars”.

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