The winners of the RCL FOODS Young Chef and the first-ever Young Baker competition have been announced.
Each of the talented winners took home their share of the total R110 000 cash prize after successfully overcoming the challenges that tested their cheffing and baking skills at the RCL FOODS kitchens in Durban.
The SA Chefs and SA Bakers associations ran the competition, with Chef Adrian Vigus Brown, SA Chefs’ Competition Director, as the overall head judge.
RCL FOODS Young Chef competition
For the finals, Young Chef competitors submitted recipes for a restaurant main course and an innovative dessert course before the competition, which they cooked with a mystery basket starter on the day.
Nicole Bowes and Matthew Maree from Silwood School of Cookery in Cape Town achieved over 90% in the finals, taking home the gold medal and R15 000 each. This result is a feat that is not often seen – even among the most seasoned chefs.
The silver medal winners were Matthew Van Heerden and Shanuel Zimba from 1000 Hills Chef School in KZN who each won R10 000. Bronze winners Kelly Fletcher and Kara Venter from Silwood School of Cookery in Cape Town each won R7 500.
The Young Chefs ‘Best Hygiene’ trophy for clean work, sponsored by Geochem, went to Leandre Mari Engelbrecht and Tebatso Antoinette Mamabolo from Guvon Academy in Gauteng.
RCL FOOD Young Baker competition
The Young Baker competitors submitted recipes for two types of breads and two types of baked confectionary, which they baked on the day with a mystery basket element of six cupcakes and a flavoured buttercream.
The first-ever RCL FOODS Young Baker winner is Simthandile Nomandla from FBI Chef School & Patisserie Academy in Gauteng, who took home the top prize of R20 000. Even after arriving late to the competition due to situations beyond her control, she made up the time and won the competition.
Chef Brad explains:
“Simthandile missed her flight from Joburg that morning, but despite her late start, her passion and determination saw her not only catch up but win the top RCL FOODS Young Bakers Challenge prize. We’re very proud of her excellent baking skills, as well as her problem-solving ability in the face of an extremely stressful situation.”
Second place in the RCL FOODS Young Baker Challenge went to Ameera Gani from Chefs Training & Innovation Academy in Centurion, Gauteng winning R15 000. In third place was Lynette Spykerman from 1000 Hills Chefs School in KZN who won R10 000.
The Young Baker ‘Best Bread’ award, sponsored by Anchor Yeast, went to Ameera Gani, who won a Samsung Galaxy Tab A8.
At the prize-giving ceremony at Coastlands Umhlanga Hotel & Convention Centre, Chef Adrian congratulated all the competitors for putting themselves on the culinary map. He encouraged them to make the competition experience a worthwhile investment in their careers.
“Every entrant was scored professionally throughout the stages of the competitions, and the judges’ evaluations were made available to the entrants to enable them to assess their performance and boost their skills to be the best chefs and bakers they can be.”
These young chefs and bakers are inspiring role models to all young people in South Africa.
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Feature Image: RCL Foods