Cape Legends Inter Hotel Challenge 2015

Tuesday, 31 March, 2015
Cape Legends
2015 sees the announcement of the annual Cape Legends Inter Hotel Challenge now in its third year with 25 hotels from the Cape, Port Elizabeth and KwaZulu-Natal to Gauteng on board.

“It is a singular honour for me to be here with you today and to be part of the launch of this wonderful initiative!” said Deputy Minister South African Tourism Tokozile Xasa at the first of the five launches around South Africa, Port Elizabeth, Friday 20th February. “This embodies the mutually beneficial relationship between the industry and government in capacity building for the sector. Indeed, it is a sure way to move South Africa forward!

Culinary tourism is a subset of cultural tourism and contributes significantly to the tourism experience. Cultural diversity is given expression through culinary tourism and also serves as a catalyst for social cohesion. If people can cook together and eat together, they can live and work together.

As articulated in the National Development Plan, job creation is one of our biggest challenges. And job creation and skills development and training go hand in hand. Our department's development programme has implemented several projects to enable young people to obtain employment or even start their own businesses in the tourism and hospitality fields.”

This initiative goes beyond the competitive and has become a unifying spirit and a collaborative force in the hotel industry, reaching out and encompassing the broad and important role of development and advancement.

Annette Kesler says, "This has been a wonderful opportunity, a joy to see and experience the heartwarming enthusiasm and achievement over the past two years. What we can do for each other is to use this collective energy to uplift and create visible job enhancement, and the increasing of skills and development will have a huge ripple effect on our Tourism Industry, one of our most dynamic growth areas."

We are very excited that the winning Candidate Chef will enjoy a brilliant opportunity of a working visit to the stunning Shangri-La Hotel, a lush oasis in the heart of Dubai overlooking the towering Burj Khalifa 124 stories high. Return flights are generously provided by Cape Legends.

The Shangri-La group is certainly living up to its philosophy saying, "There’s no greater act of hospitality than to embrace a stranger as one’s own."

The Cape Legends Inter Hotel Challenge takes place over a six months period introduced by the Crème de la Crème Executive Chef dinners in February/March followed by the Grape to Glass experience in May for the Candidate Wine Stewards, where new relationships are forged.

The exciting Regional Cook-Offs take place in June where both Candidate Chefs and Wine Stewards compete preparing a three-course menu paired with Cape Legends fine wines using South African Pork Producers’ Organisation (SAPPO) versatile pork, Rio Largo Olive Oil, Lancewood white cheeses, known for their superb quality, and hand-harvested Khoisan sea salt – all local producers of excellence.

"In South Africa, we have abundant potential young talent and excellent wines: pairing these to create opportunities for growth was the inspiration behind the Challenge," said Carlen Wahl, GGM Distell Vineyards and Estates: Marketing. "Not only does the Challenge encourage a culture of mentorship and promote skills development in the hospitality industry, it also has all the exciting elements of a great competition. It's fun as well as life-changing for the participants, who are exposed to the highest level of professionalism. It also gives a mutual boost to the wine and hospitality industries, which are both looking to identify, nurture and groom tomorrow's great sommeliers."

Each of the hotels will be paired with an exquisite wine estate either Allesverloren Alto, Durbanville Hills, Fleur Du Cap, Le Bonheur, Lomond, Neethlingshof, Plaisir de Merle, Pongrácz, Stellenzicht, Uitkyk or Zonnebloem.

The announcement of this partnership takes place at each of the regional launches;

Port Elizabeth was the brilliant first launch on 20th February hosted by Sun International The Boardwalk Hotel & Spa and the partnership draw was with Zonnebloem’s Limited Edition which is one of South Africa’s most loved wine brands. Radisson Blu withPongrácz - a bubbly menu in store and No5 Boutique Art Hotel with Durbanville Hills, cutting a swath through.

In Gauteng on Tuesday 10th March, the launch in the gorgeous Rosa Room at The Palazzo Montecasino, saw their team drawing with Pongrácz, while 54 on Bath teamed up with Fleur Du Cap, Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton together with Zonnebloem and Radisson Blu Hotel Gautrain with Durbanville Hills.

In KZN on Thursday 12th March at the stunning Sky Room at Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani, their team are partnering with Pongrácz, The Beverly Hills with Fleur Du Cap while The Wild Coast Sun partners with Durbanville Hills.

In the Cape at The Westin on 17th March the draw saw The Westin team set to partner with Neethlingshof, Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel and Fleur Du Cap, while Cape Grace will team with Lomond, Taj Cape Town and Zonnebloem, and Vineyard Hotel with Alto.

To be announced - 31st March - At the Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront with Arabella Hotel & Spa, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, NH The Lord Charles, One&Only Cape Town, Tsogo Sun team Southern Sun Cape Sun, Southern Sun The Cullinan & Southern Sun Waterfront, Sun International The Table Bay and the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa

Currently is engaging in an Indian Ocean Island cuisine day, a skills exchange development programme to be held at the state-of-the-art Unilever kitchens in La Lucia Ridge in Durban on Friday 5th June with PE & KZN Candidates, Food&Home readers and International Hotel School students in attendance.

In the first two weeks of July each of the hotels around South Africa will be participating in showcasing their candidates menu. These events will be selectively open to the public while certain hotels will host a Chef’s Table. R25 of each ticket sold will be donated to StreetSmart SA.

For the finals only the top five candidates in each category will compete in Cape Town at the South African Chefs Academy. Throughout SA our panel of top judges headed by Paul Hartmann include Brian McCune (Accredited judge of the World Association of Chefs Society), Heinz Brunner (Honorary Lifetime President of the South African Chefs Association and past Vice-Chairman of the World Body of Chefs), Wolfgang Leyrer (past Executive Chef of the Carlton and part of the Culinary Olympics team and now Hospitality Consultant), Marieta Human (Nutritionist representing South African Pork Producers’ Organisation), Chris de Klerk (Cape Legends), Michelle Grimbeek (Cape Wine Academy), Higgo Jacobs (South African Sommeliers Association), Samarie Smith (Media 24), Kristina Beuthner (Cape Wine Academy), Germain Lehodey (Sommelier), Fatima Stanley (City & Guilds External Verifier), Carolyn McDougall (International Hotel School) and Craig Elliott, Executive Head Chef of Unilever Food Solutions South Africa.

Prizes include generous bursaries by the Cape Wine Academy for our top three winning Candidate Wine Stewards plus the ‘Most Up & Coming’which they share with the South African Sommeliers Association. This is a magnificent opportunity to give them a leg up in their chosen career.

The winning Wine Steward will have the opportunity of attending two prestigious wine auctions and tastings with Tsogo Sun and their top Sommelier Georgio Meletiou as well as being given the opportunity to participate in the bidding.

Tsogo Sun will be providing a working stint for the Second Prize Winning Wine Steward who will travel to JHB, Cape Town and Durban and spend two to three days at each of these properties being mentored into the world of wine under their top sommelier.

Higgo Jacobs will be presenting a bursary to the Cape Wine Academy and a complimentary 12 months Wine Advisor membership to the South African Sommelier Association for the Wine Steward candidate who shows promise during the challenge and who will benefit from further guidance and tutoring with the aim of becoming a Professional SASA member in due course.

The finest iconic KitchenAid mixer will be awarded to the winning Candidate Chef and exciting KitchenAid appliances to second and third. In addition hampers of indispensible culinary KitchenAid accessories will be awarded to all the participants of the Cape Legends Inter Hotel Challenge; Candidate Chefs, their Assistants and Candidate Wine Stewards.

An enviable prize is ‘The Best Team Award’, a stunning floating trophy generously sponsored by KitchenAid SA. In addition KitchenAid is awarding the Best Bread prize; previously won by Belmond Mount Nelson (2013) and Cape Grace (2014).

Hotels will be at their most creative in shades of a diamond vying for ‘The most glamorous table’, the table you would most ‘Wish to dine at’ and that ‘Reflects the ethos of the hotel’. This is an area that is a fabulous showstopper and a showcase for SA’s finest. All will be revealed on the night of Friday 14th August in the Ballroom of Southern Sun Cape Sun where General Manager Jacques Moolman will be host to 25 hotels.

Andrew Rogers CEO Hospitality Property Fund is donating R15 000 Bursary for the ‘Most Promising Candidate Chef’ who will then spend a week traveling to their top properties working with their Executive Chefs (flights and accommodation included) and R3000 cash.

A R15 000 Bursary Award for the Candidate Chef that produces the most excellent main course pork dish, The SAPPO Purple Ribbon Award.

A R15 000 Bursary will be awarded to the ‘Top Woman Cook’ by Brenda Wilkinson of Rio Largo Olive Oil.

Avanti Coffee are generously donating R15 000, to be shared equally between the top three winning Candidate Chefs and Wine Stewards.

Superb prizes will be presented from AL&CD Ashley including Scanpan Knives. Lindt & Sprüngli (SA) is offering three Master Classes for the successful Candidate Chefs and Struik Lifestyle will be presenting indispensable books.

Special thanks to Table Mountain Aerial Cableway who will be offering the Candidate Wine Stewards an unforgettable experience to summit the world’s New7Wonders of Nature in May.

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