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Culinary contest fires up young vegan chefs to prove their plant power

Winner of the 2020 competition, chef Hope Mdakane from Gauteng.

Winner of the 2020 competition, chef Hope Mdakane from Gauteng.

Published Mar 16, 2022


Durban ‒ The South African Chefs Association and The Plant Powered Show invite all the best young chefs, students and enthusiastic home cooks to enter a culinary competition at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from Friday, May 27 to Sunday, May 29.

The winner will get to share a platform with top professional and celebrity chefs at the plant-powered show.

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The inaugural Plant-Powered Show took place online in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions and featured an extraordinary line-up of local and international chefs.

Winner of the 2020 competition, chef Hope Mdakane from Gauteng, who entered a vegan dessert inspired by his grandmother’s trifle, said he had prepared his most loved dish for the previous competition.

“I took a dish I love and used the culinary skills I learnt at the HTA school of culinary Arts where I trained and worked at establishments such as The Hilton and The Saxon as well as stints working overseas,” said Mdakane.

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"Veganism is a movement that I feel strongly about, due to the sustainable nature of the lifestyle.

“There are vast health benefits in following diets that are predominantly or entirely plant based and I continue to develop my knowledge and understanding of vegan diets and the quality ingredients that can be produced to ensure a superior dining experience without the use of animal-based products.

“It also keeps the ever-evolving world of food and food production interesting and exciting, as we are forced to think of new ways of making classic and traditional dishes vegan friendly,” said Mdakane.

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The Plant Powered Show competition judge, chef Jocelyn Myers-Adams..

The competition’s judge and executive chef, Jocelyn Myers-Adams, said they were delighted with the number and quality of entries for the inaugural competition.

“We encourage young chefs and cooks to enter and showcase their skills ‒ we can not wait to see what they will produce,” said Adams.

The entries close at midday on April 19 with the top 10 finalists announced on April 22. The finalists will then have until April 29 to submit a demo video, with the ultimate winner announced on May 2 and invited to be part of the Plant Powered Show to perform a live cooking demonstration on May 28, in the show’s kitchen theatre.

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