Inter Hotel Challenge Cook-off

Monday, 9 September, 2013
Judy Brower -
Every winery would like to sell more wine; How can we make this happen? By making it easier for the consumer to choose the wine at a restaurant.

Education, education, education...

The Interhotel Challenge is another wonderful educational initiative by veteran foodie Annette Kesler and her partner Chania Morritt-Smith from
The aim of this challenge is to give budding chefs and wine stewards an opportunity to be mentored, to learn and to shine. They have gathered top foodie and wine people to judge the process, viz for wine: Sommelier Higgo Jacobs; Cape Wine Academy CEO Marilyn Cooper; Cape Legends ambassador Carolyn Miller-Krogh; wine journalist Samarie Smith and for food: Wolfgang Leyrer (consultant), Paul Hartmann (S.A. Chefs Academy), Brian McCune (accredited judge of the World Association of Chefs Society), and Marieta Human (Western Cape Pork Producers Association).

10 top hotels in Cape Town are participating in this process and have put forward a candidate chef and wine steward each.  Cape Legends is a partner in this process and the wineries they represent have been matched with these 10 hotels.

The chef candidates are then mentored by their executive chefs in each hotel and the wine stewards get to spend time with the winemakers at the different wineries, learning their trade and being skilled up in the art of wine presentation. Many of the candidates have come up through the ranks, starting at the bottom and worked hard to get to this point.

The Cape Legends wineries and their matching hotels are: 

  • Durbanville Hills - Queen Victoria Hotel
    Queen Victoria Hotel duo Francisco Domingo's Candidate Wine Steward and Thaabiet Adams Candidate Chef  take to Durbanville Hills and Winemaker Martin Moore with the guiding hands of Newmark Hotels Executive Chef Craig Paterson, Chef du Cuisine James Dempster and Food & Beverage Manager Chris Weston.
  • Fleur du Cap - Radisson Blu
    Candidate Chef Bonga Galada and Candidate Wine Steward Heinrich La Meyer of the Radisson Blu take the pairing of Fleur du Cap wines with Winemaker Sanelisiwe (Praisy) Dlamini in their stride with Executive Chef Grant Kennedy at the helm.
  • Le Bonheur - One&Only Cape Town
    Tinashe Nyamudoka Candidate Wine Steward and Michelle Jeftha Candidate Chef of the One&Only Cape Town are paired with Le Bonheur and Winemaker Lauren Snyman, mentored by One&Only Cape Town’s Sommelier Luvo Ntezo and Chef du Cuisine Victoria Stott.
  • Lomond - Bushmans Kloof
    Candidate Chef Sorita Booysen is mentored by Executive Chef Floris Smith. Joining her is their Candidate Wine Steward Jeffrey Dalingozi who is being put through his paces with Lomond's winemaker Kobus Gerber and Viticulturist Wayne Gabb.
  • Neethlingshof - Twelve Apostles
    Executive Chef Christo Pretorius of The Twelve Apostles Hotel introduces Oscar Ndlovu their Candidate Chef while Sommelier Gregory Mutambe takes Candidate Wine Steward Brian Mahlangu under his tutelage with Winemaker De Wet Viljoen and Neethlingshof Wines.
  • Plaisir de Merle - Cape Grace
    Executive Chef Malika van Reenen of the Cape Grace shows off Gert Böcking’s skills as their Candidate Chef while Marlvin Gwese, Candidate Wine Steward interprets the finer nuances of Plaisir de Merle with winemaker Niel Bester.
  • Pongrácz & Desiderius - Vineyard Hotel & Spa
    Executive Sous Chef Shane Louw of The Vineyard Hotel & Spa have Candidate Chef Samantha Temmers, who is enjoying the creative exercise of pairing of her dishes with Desiderius and Pongrácz Méthode Cap Classique with the enthusiastic assistance of Ndaba Dube, their Candidate Wine Steward.
  • Stellenzicht  - La Residence in Franschhoek. 
    Winemaker Guy Webber spends time with Candidate Wine Steward Evan Sampson from La Residence of The Royal Portfolio and Candidate Chef Phumeza Maxwele is being mentored by Executive Chef Lennard Marais.
  • Uitkyk - Mount Nelson
    Executive Chef Rudi Liebenberg of Mount Nelson introduces Catherine Adonis their Candidate Chef, while Sommelier Carl Habel of the Mount Nelson puts Candidate Wine Steward Farai Magwada through his paces with Uitkyk Wines & Brandy with Winemaker Estelle Lourens.
  • Zonnebloem - The Taj Cape Town
    Candidate Chef Shu-Aib Bassier is under the wing of Executive Chef Shyam Longani, while Candidate Wine Steward Ayanda Mkune is being mentored by Sommelier Tatiana Marcetteau as they pair their excellent menu with Zonnebloem Wines by Cellarmaster Deon Boshoff

The cook-off took place on 28th and 29th August at the South African Chefs Academy, and the chefs had to prepare a 3-course menu at a cost of R150 or less and the wine stewards had to match the wines with the foods and present their wines to the wine judges. I was impressed by the confidence shown by these young people, keen to learn more and further their education and experience.

For more pics of the Cook-off on the 29th August - see HERE

The wine stewards are under the close watch of The South African Sommelier Association (SASA), established in 2010 as an integral part of the food and wine industry with the vision to promote a culture of fine wine, food and service excellence in South Africa.

The sponsors for this competition have been very generous; Khoisan Salt, as well as the Western Cape Pork Producers, an association that is enviable in their approach to responsible farming with the finest input worldwide, has been very active with their support.
Inspirational and practical prizes for the winners include a brilliant opportunity of a three month working stint for the winning Candidate Chef at the luxurious five star Sukhothai in Bangkok, Thailand, with return flights graciously organised by Cape Legends.

Generous bursaries by the Cape Wine Academy up to the value of R35 000 for our three winning Candidate Wine Stewards are a magnificent opportunity to give them a leg up in their chosen career.

Newmark Hotels and their flagship hotel Queen Victoria are donating R15 000, The Newmark Award, towards the education of the winning Candidate Chef and Wine Steward.

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 indispensable culinary KitchenAid accessories will be awarded to all the participants of the Inter Hotel Challenge; Candidate Chefs, their Assistants and Candidate Wine Stewards.
Le Creuset will be giving away top of the range pans while Scanpan Knives will be presented from AL&CD Ashley.

Lindt & Sprüngli (SA) is offering three Master Classes for the successful Candidate Chefs and Struik Lifestyle will be presenting indispensable books.

Following on, the winner in Bangkok will be presenting a very special dinner at The Sukhothai attended by the South African Embassy and their partnered wine estate. On return to South Africa at a later date there will be a final lunch at exquisite Plaisir de Merle, one of the flagship estates of Cape Legends.

The Brainchild of Danish entrepreneur, René Dehn and his business partner, Malene Meisner, are offering the winner a mentoring experience at their tastings in South Africa. The White Club, founded and designed for discerning people, is for connoisseurs who love and appreciate the finest and rarest wines in the world. The private member club is by invitation only and travels the world for the rarest and most unique experiences. A first for South Africa, The White Club launched The World of First Growths Series, an awe-inspiring wine and food-pairing experience, hosted around the globe featuring some of the finest wines internationally.

Higgo Jacobs of the South African Sommelier Association (SASA) will be presenting 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 winners will be announced at a dinner at The Vineyard Hotel and Spa on Thursday 26th Sept 2013.
Good luck to all the participants!


Judy Brower

Judy has been running alongside her hubby Kevin Kidson since 1996. She takes photos, attends functions, occasionally writes, sells services, is Mrs HR at the company, cooks yummy lunches from time to time and generally is the glue at