Interhotel Challenge with Cape Legends....finals coming up

Thursday, 9 July, 2015
Chania Morritt-Smith
The first rounds of the Cape Legends Interhotel Challenge are over and the finals are awaited nervously!

Congratulations to all those who have been selected to continue to the Finals in Cape Town, we look forward to welcoming them on 22 July. To those that have not qualified for the final round, although this is a most significant award there are others that are coming up that we think have considerable weight and we are looking forward to making these announcements in August at the celebratory dinner to which are all invited, Friday 14th August and where you will be part of the glittering audience, seated at your table which will be presented as “Shades of a Diamond” – more about that to come, but we know that you are already planning for this! 

Overall the competition this year, in all categories, was a step up and showed commitment, energy and great enthusiasm. I am sure that you all realize just how seriously and committed your judges are and that whatever critique is made this is in the spirit of an ongoing ‘raising the bar’!

I am sure you are all aware that in South Africa tourism is vital and that you are all a part of South Africa becoming known as a fabulous gourmet destination and this is where it begins.

The decision was taken to go for six candidates in both categories (chef and wine steward) as in some cases there was a tie and the point differentiation was so close! Do see Chris de Klerk’s summing up on behalf of the regional wine judges and Paul Hartmann’s complete summing up will be under separate cover. Important to read through them and be guided by their comments.

So once again many congratulations!!

CAPE TOWN FINAL: Wednesday 22nd July 
Venue: South African Chefs Academy (SACA) T: +27 (0) 21 447 3168
Black River Park, Fir Street, Cape Town

Paul Hartmann
Contact Person: Lindi Gibbs

Just to remember that the Candidate Chef menu remains the same and will not be accompanied by wine.
The Wine Stewards will be presenting without the food. We will arrange for their wines to be delivered to SACA.


Candidate Chef Lutendo Funyufunyu

Candidate Chef Mukhtar Alli

Candidate Wine Steward Mpho Masiu
Candidate Chef Charmainne Deacon

Candidate Wine Steward Mduduzi Shabangu
Candidate Chef Kimberly Pillay

Candidate Wine Steward Bennet Msweli

Candidate Wine Steward Mercy Mwai

Candidate Chef Robyn Marney

Candidate Wine Steward Robin Whitehead

Candidate Chef Tanzwell Nair

Candidate Wine Steward Anita Thomson

Chris de Klerk , Chief Wine Judge: - Comments to the candidates:
"Standards were very high this year, overall everybody did really well. Great improvements were noted about candidates who entered last year and their enthusiasm and determination did not go unnoticed. It was a difficult task to select those for the final round!
Just to note that appearance is always crucial. Be very aware of grooming, neatness and uniforms etc. It speaks volumes about your establishment. This year congratulations on pristine looking wine stewards. 
Always remember to offer water first to cleanse the palate.
Present judges with a menu as this gives clarity as to what is on the plate.
Give a brief introduction about the wine and pour a taste - then for everyone - that way they have something to refer to when you describe the flavours. 
Don't stand and hold the bottle and give lengthy descriptions. It means very little if someone can't partake.
Move around the table with economy of movement - don't unnecessarily walk in circles.
Describe the style of the wine - i.e. know what is dry, off-dry (sugar levels) and what is wooded or unwooded - length of maturation and what oak was used. Keep to what is relevant - lengthy descriptions of vineyards, trellising etc. don't always hold peoples attention.
Stories about the wine/names etc. do interest people - keep it short and captivating.
When using a decanter always taste the wine first before decanting. Use some of the wine to rinse the decanter - very few did this properly.
Re pairing of wine and food - look at factors like weight, intensity, acid, sweetness, tannin, flavours from fruit and wood, umami and aftertaste. Describe these relative to the dish for enhancement or contrasts.
Some candidates were a bit unnerved by pressure/conflicting instructions so while guidance is of course necessary we are interested in the wine stewards presentation and their interpretation."

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), Manfred Reinhart, 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 and Neil Grant (South African Sommeliers Association), Samarie Smith (Media 24), Sandy Harper (CWM), Germain Lehodey (Sommelier), Fatima Stanley (City & Guilds External Verifier), Janine Dixon and Johan Oosthuizen (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 an opportunity to give them a leg up in their chosen career.

Tsogo Sun will be providing the Winning Wine Steward with a travel experience to the Cape being mentored into the world of wine under their top sommelier. 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.

The finest iconic KitchenAid will be awarding the winning Candidate Chef exciting KitchenAid appliances and 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). A commercial mixer for the hotel and a domestic model for the baker!

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 one 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, Von Geusau Chocolates and Struik Lifestyle who will be presenting indispensable books.

Special thanks to Dragonfly Africa, one of Southern Africa’s leading destination management companies operating in 10 Southern and Eastern African countries offering memorable African adventures and travel experiences, and to Globe Lotter in the Cape.

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Wine Steward Bennet Msweli(Grootbos)
Wine Steward Bennet Msweli(Grootbos)

Aubrey Musango, Dr Winnie Bowman & Eugene Yiga
Aubrey Musango, Dr Winnie Bowman & Eugene Yiga

Chef candidate Tanzwell Nair (12 Apostles)
Chef candidate Tanzwell Nair (12 Apostles)

Paul Hartmann(SACA) & Brenda Wilkinson(Rio Largo)
Paul Hartmann(SACA) & Brenda Wilkinson(Rio Largo)

Durbanville Hills Rhinofiels
Durbanville Hills Rhinofiels

Annette Kesler at the launch
Annette Kesler at the launch

Annette Kesler, Lize-Marie Gradwell & Deputy Minister of Tourism Thokozile Xasa
Annette Kesler, Lize-Marie Gradwell & Deputy Minister of Tourism Thokozile Xasa

Wine Steward Mercy Mwai (One&Only)
Wine Steward Mercy Mwai (One&Only)

Eben Bezuidenhoud(Grootbos Somm) & Eugene Yiga at launch
Eben Bezuidenhoud(Grootbos Somm) & Eugene Yiga at launch

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