Celebrated in the industry as the ‘Hotel Oscars’, the competition acknowledges the talents of South Africa’s most creative young chefs and wine stewards and recognizes the role of mentorship.

Annette Kesler, Editor, Showcook.com who’re the organisers, said the Challenge embraces 29 of our “most splendid hotels”.

“And we are proud indeed of each one of them for their great style and their effortless expertise. We’re very fortunate to have a hotel industry which is known worldwide for professionalism. Often we take this excellence for granted. In fact, what our hotels have brought to this initiative is what they do every single day – they educate and they train.

“And we should be using this collective energy to uplift, to create a visible job enhancement, and invest in people. And that, you know, has a huge ripple effect. And after all, having motivated, goal driven, enthusiastic staff is the backbone of an industry which is both productive and flourishing.”

For the launch executive chefs prepared a superb lunch – a collaborative effort from the Beverly Hills, Southern Sun Elangeni and Maharani, The Durban ICC, Hartford House and Mariott’s Protea Hotel Edward.

​A press release explained that the Skills Exchange Development Programme has become a special date on the calendar with international chefs, South African star chefs, and up and coming stars demonstrating and sharing their skills.

While wine stewards are introduced to the art of red wine blending with Guy Webber of Stellenzicht and the art of making scintillating cocktails with Black Bottle.

The winning Candidate Chef will enjoy a brilliant opportunity of a three-week visit to Dubai – a week at The Marriott Ritz-Carlton Hotel and two at their flagship JW Marriott Marquis where they will experience fine dining and large scale catering.

Generous, practical prizes will be awarded by Cape Legends and Distell, to the winning Wine Steward. Superb iconic kitchen appliances from KitchenAid SA, ScanPan Cookware and Global Knives from AL&CD Ashley will also be handed out to winners. Meaningful bursaries from the Cape Wine Academy, Cape Town International Convention Centre, Hospitality Property Fund, the International Hotel School and cash prizes from Avanti are also up for grabs. In addition, delectable Lancewood, Von Geusau Chocolates, elegant Riedel glassware and books for life from Struik Lifestyle.

The Regional Cook-Offs will take place in June in Johannesburg and Cape Town at the Capsicum Culinary Studio, and in Durban at the International Hotel School.