Pastry chef Shaista Anoop, junior chef of the year Josh Green and chef Jaid Jhala from Zambia.

Durban - In a nail-biting cook-off with a total of 54 chefs competing throughout the day, young chefs from 1000 Hills Chef School scored two major titles in the Unilever Chef of the Year Competition for 2018 that took place in Umhlanga, 5 September.

Josh Green is the winner of the Junior Chef of the Year category and first runner-up is Chef Shaista Anoop, Pastry Lecturer at 1000 Hills Chef School. This is the second time that 1000 Hills Chef School have taken first and second place in the competition.

Green said it was a surreal experience and unexpected, but it was “the best cook of my life”. He said, “I almost didn’t enter, I was frustrated at the last minute with how my entry dish was not working out, but our principal just encouraged me to just go for it.” 

Green's family watched the live video stream online and said they nearly jumped a hole in the ceiling when he won. He hopes to work internationally to gain more experience after graduating at the end of the year. 

Joining Green and Anoop was Jaid Jhala, who competed against leading SA chefs in the Senior category for those 25 and older. She worked in catering in Zambia before pursuing studies at the school. The competition was tough, with experienced rivals including last year’s winner of the Junior competition and a member of the SA Culinary Olympic team. The title was taken by Juan Neethling, Executive Chef of Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel in Cape Town.

Jade Benians, Executive Chef and Principal at 1000 Hills Chef School, also noted that there were two other chefs competing in various categories of the competition that graduated from the school. Pastry Chef Shaylan Pillay (Class of 2009) and her team-mates from The Oyster Box Hotel took the win in a new High Tea category. Shivan Govender (Class of 2011) headed up a team of four from FEDICS Caterers.

The Independent on Saturday