The Distell Inter Hotel Challenge has become a red-letter annual event on the hotel industry calendar. This year marks the fifth anniversary of this initiative, a first in South Africa and a first internationally. The challenge, described as a defining event for the hospitality industry, has been labeled as the 'Oscars of the hotel world'.
The winners of this challenge will be announced on August 5 at a glittering black tie event at the Southern Sun Cape Sun, Cape Town where young Chefs and Wine Stewards will receive significant prizes.
Although a competition that provides glitz and glamour, the true role is serious and deep-rooted providing a vehicle and a public platform that creates an environment of mentorship for the country’s hospitality industry.
For potential winners, the level and quality of judging is an essential part of the process. There is a great deal riding on the coveted top awards. Throughout the long journey, the judges have given generously of their time and wisdom, playing an active role in the mentoring process.
The panel of top judges throughout SA is headed by Heinz Brunner (Honorary President of the South African Chefs Association, past Vice-Chairman of the World Body of Chefs and team manager of the Culinary Olympics team), Marieta Human (Hospitality Consultant), Megan Angus (Woodview Wagyu & Angus Beef), Craig Cormack (Celebrity Chef), Michelle Grimbeek (Director, Cape Wine Academy), Higgo Jacobs (Chairman of the South African Sommeliers Association), Sandy Harper (CWM and International Wine Judge) and Germain Lehodey (CWM and Sommelier at Mosaic Restaurant).
This year the winning Candidate Chef will be awarded a brilliant opportunity of a three-week visit to Dubai with The Marriott Ritz-Carlton Hotel and their flagship JW Marriott Marquis where they will experience fine dining and large scale catering.
While the winning Executive Chef will fly courtesy of British Airways to spend a weekend with their partner to the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa!
The 2017 winning Candidate Wine Steward will look forward to a brilliant travel experience with Distell including London, a two day stay at the superb The Montague on the Gardens – Red Carnation working closely with the 67 Pall Mall sommelier team - the most exclusive wine club in the heart of St James then travel to Scotland with visits to top distilleries; Deanston and Bunnahabhain. On the itinerary - France, Bisquit in stunning Cognac and an introduction to a world of wines in Bordeaux at La Cité du Vin!
The winners will be awarded with a top bursaries from the Cape Wine Academy and the South African Sommeliers Association and will have the opportunity of attending the launch of the prestigious Platter Wine Guide, tasting a large and varied selection of South Africa’s finest wines in the company of some of the country’s most experienced and trusted palates.
Gauteng: De Hoek Country Hotel * InterContinental JHB O.R. Tambo * The Palazzo Montecasino * Protea Hotel by Marriott Balalaika * Sun International The Maslow * Sun International The Palace of the Lost City
KwaZulu-Natal: Beverly Hills * Durban International Convention Centre * Hartford House * Protea Hotel by Marriott Edward & Umhlanga Ridge * Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani
Western Cape: African Pride by Marriott Arabella Hotel & Spa * Belmond Mount Nelson * Cape Grace * Cape Town International Convention Centre * Grootbos Private Nature Reserve * Marriott Crystal Towers * NH The Lord Charles * One&Only Cape Town * Radisson Blu Waterfront * Southern Sun Cape Sun * Southern Sun The Cullinan * Southern Sun Waterfront * Sun International The Table Bay * Taj Cape Town * The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa * The Westin * The Vineyard Hotel