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Inter-Hotel Challenge sees growth as industry recovers

Hospitality industry professionals enter competition in a quest to improve their skills. Picture: Unsplash

Hospitality industry professionals enter competition in a quest to improve their skills. Picture: Unsplash

Published Aug 5, 2022

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Distell launched its 2022 Inter-Hotel Challenge, which is now in its tenth year.

When the Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge was founded in 2013, its initial intention was to build and enhance food preparation and service, as well as wine service skills.

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It has since expanded its scope to focus on baking, barista, mixology, and concierge services as well.

According to Distell’s acting director of corporate affairs, Eric Leong Son, there are promising, new green shoots of confidence emerging in the hospitality industry.

“Despite the pandemic aftershocks, the impact of rising inflation and fuel price increases, the hospitality industry is more optimistic than it has been in a long time,” said Leong Son.

He said that this is borne out by the 39% increase in the number of establishments competing in this year’s challenge, compared with 2021 and that it suggests a greater commitment to upskilling staff, that in turn points to new job opportunities in what is otherwise a very depressed labour market.

Distell’s 2022 Inter-Hotel Challenge has seen uptake in entries the pandemic. Picture: Unsplash

Leong Son revealed that the challenge was so focused on raising skills levels that competitors were urged to attend in-depth presentations by experts in their fields. These presentations were currently under way in Cape Town, Gauteng, and KwaZulu-Natal.

He revealed that those making it into the finals would have the opportunity to attend further advanced presentations in preparation for the final round of the challenge, called the cook-off and service presentations, scheduled for October.

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Food doyenne Annette Kesler, co-founder of the competition, said the provision of best-practice training and very generous prizes were important motivators to hospitality management and their competing staff.

Find out who this year’s top-performing wine stewards are on the 1st of December when Distell reveals the winners of this year’s challenge. Picture: Unsplash

She confirmed that the prize for the top-performing wine stewards of the past three years, included a tour of wine regions in France and Germany, accompanied by food and wine expert Jean-Vincent Ridon.

Kesler said that the 2022 winners, to be announced at a gala ceremony on 1 December, would earn very similar prizes. For example, the top-performing wine steward of 2022 could look forward to a 10-day internship in Ireland at the celebrated The Lodge at Ashford Castle, with the Red Carnation Hotel Collection, and with flights sponsored by Distell.

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“These are exceptional opportunities for anyone wanting to accelerate their hospitality careers,” said Kesler.

Read the latest issue of IOL Travel digital magazine here.

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