26 October 2012 by Denise Slabbert

Young chefs reach for the stars

Budding South African chefs showed their mettle during the One&Only Cape Town Reaching for Young Stars contest.

Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Clive Bennett, Annette Kesler and Alan Romburgh

'Playing a part in preparing professionals for a long-term career in the tourism field is a heartening one,' said well-known South African foodie Annette Kesler at the awards ceremony for winners of the Reach for Young Stars competition hosted at the One&Only Cape Town last week. 

Michael Olivier, Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Bonani Lester, Kirby Auret and Dr Vash Mungal-Singh at the Reaching for Young Stars awards at the One&Only Cape Town.

The contest, conceived by Kesler – who is also co-creator of the website Showcook.com – inspired a brigade of young second-year students in the culinary field. In teams of 2 they were put through a series of tests and challenges over a 2-week period.

The winning duo of chefs was Kirby Auret and Bonani Lester of the Silwood Cookery School.

Their dessert, ‘Fantasy of Flowers’, won the best dish in this category.

The winning starter was a vanilla prawn tortellini prepared by Sascha Kranz and Grant Glasser of the Cape Town Hotel School. Thembelani Wiseman Gunya and Lungisile Sinxo, both of the South African Chefs Academy, conceived a stuffed pork dish that was voted the best main.

The winning starter was a vanilla prawn tortellini prepared by Sascha Kranz and Grant Glasser of the Cape Town Hotel School.

Gabrielle le Roux and Merissa Naicker of the Cape Town Hotel School were named top sommelier and top head waiter, respectively.

Keynote speaker at the awards ceremony was Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk, while the awards were presented by Dr Vash Mungal-Singh, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation South Africa.

One&Only Cape Town managing director Clive Bennett is an enthusiastic proponent of the annual contest. He said that healthy competition spawns creativity and innovation at all levels, particularly in the hotel industry, where the heart of any hotel is the kitchen.

Kesler said South Africa is increasingly known as a culinary destination, and nurturing young talent can make a meaningful difference.

Fantasy of Flowers with Allée Bleue Olive Oil Cake by Silwood Cookery School: Bonani Lester and Kirby Auret

Category: Food & Wine

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