After an incredibly difficult year for the industry, the winners of the 2020 Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge were announced on the 3rd of March.  Said Annette Kesler of Showcook.com, that has been running the Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge since 2013: “The year 2020 is one that will remain indelibly imprinted on our memories. For the Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge, watching the hospitality industry come to a standstill was devastating. For a brief moment, we wondered if the challenge could even continue.”

Annette said that it was a testament to their partners, the hotels, the candidates and their mentors that the Challenge was able to take place. “As much as we honour the winners, we also salute every single person who stepped up to be part of the challenge in ways that we could not have conceived or ever hoped for.”

The Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge, now in its ninth year, has successfully created a structure of mentorship for the next generation of hospitality giants in SA – and it’s now more important than ever to offer these opportunities. “Our country’s youth is in an employment crisis,“ says Annette. “Currently, just a little over one out of every two South Africans between the age of 15 and 34 are unemployed, not in school or in any formal educational programme. This year, the Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge is placing even stronger emphasis on facilitating a platform that allows the industry to join forces to change the lives of young talent across the country.”

The categories of the 2020 Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge covered a wide field of hospitality talent including concierges, wine stewards, baristas, bakers, chefs, pastry chefs and more. The winners also receive incredible prizes, including a travel experience with Distell to visit Deanston and Bunnahabhain distilleries in Scotland for the Wine Steward of the Year, a 3-week internship at the Taj Hotel India for the Chef of the Year, and a 3-week internship at Château La Creuzette in France for the Pastry Chef of the Year.

The Winners:

DISTELL INTER-HOTEL CHALLENGE WINE STEWARD OF THE YEAR: Keegan Terry, Belmond Mount Nelson (Nederburg & Three Ships)
2nd: Joint winners; Emile Liebenberg, The Liz McGrath Collection (Pongrácz & Cruz) and Nhlakanipho Justice Zondo, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani (Nederburg & Scottish Leader)
3rd: Xolani Mzileni, The Beverly Hills (Allesverloren & Klipdrift)

MOST PROMISING WINE STEWARD: Joint winners; Sithembile Angel Khuzwayo, Durban ICC (Pongrácz & Cruz) and Lindokuhle Siya, Lanzerac Hotel & Spa (Allesverloren & Three Ships)

MOST UP & COMING WINE STEWARD (‘THE WONGA AWARD’): Nhlakanipho Justice Zondo, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani (Nederburg & Scottish Leader) 

EXQUISITE SERVICE: Keegan Terry, Belmond Mount Nelson (Nederburg & Three Ships)

DISTELL INTER-HOTEL CHALLENGE CHEF OF THE YEAR: Ivanna Ganesh, The Beverly Hills

2nd: Joint winners; Rameez Ceres, Belmond Mount Nelson and Angeline Mthembu, De Hoek Country Hotel

3rd: Mfundo Gcwensa, Durban ICC

MOST PROMISING CHEF: Mathew Oliphant, Taj Cape Town

SCANPAN EXCELLENT KITCHEN PRACTICE: Duo of Chefs Ivanna Ganesh, assisted by Sphesihle Dlomo, The Beverly Hills

Runner-Up SCANPAN EXCELLENT KITCHEN PRACTICE: Duo of Chefs: Angeline Mthembu assisted by Austin Haywood, De Hoek Country Hotel

BEST MENU PRESENTATION: Amber van Reenen, Lanzerac Hotel & Spa

MOST DELECTABLE DENNY STARTER: Ivanna Ganesh, The Beverly Hills
Study of Mushroom – Confit King Oyster Mushroom | Chevin Mousse | Hazelnut and Chilli Praline Dust | Pickled Exotic Mushrooms | Charred Onions | Lime & Dill Pearls | Apple & Date Compote | Crisp Sweet Potato ~ Allesverloren Chenin Blanc 2020

THE PURPLE RIBBON AWARD FOR THE BEST SA PORK DISH: Ivanna Ganesh, The Beverly Hills
Duo of Pork – Roasted Pork Loin | Parsnip, Walnut and Cranberry Purée | Blueberry and Black Pepper Jus | Leek, Blueberry and Bacon Jam | Fondant Potato | Steamed Tender Stem Broccoli | Roasted Carrot Purée ~ Allesverloren Shiraz 2017

DISTELL INTER-HOTEL CHALLENGE PASTRY CHEF OF THE YEAR: Sohail Seegobin, The Beverly Hills

LANCEWOOD BEST DESSERT
1st:
Sohail Seegobin, The Beverly Hills
2nd: Olga Kobo, Sun Time Square The Maslow
3rd: Kristin Reagon, The Liz McGrath Collection

BUTTER CAKE
1st:
Sohail Seegobin, The Beverly Hills
2nd: Alka Gyanda, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani
3rd: Rowan Pollecutt, Belmond Mount Nelson

DISTELL INTER-HOTEL CHALLENGE BIO-WHEAT BAKER OF THE YEAR: Matthew Paulson, Belmond Mount Nelson
2nd: Ntsiki Msweli, The Beverly Hills
3rd: Nokwasi Gigaba, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani

THE KITCHENAID MOST PROMISING BAKER: Desmond Nikwe, Durban ICC

TOP THREE BARISTAS:
Lungelwa Vivian Sigwiji, I Love Coffee formerly representing Protea Hotel by Marriott Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton
Lungile Ignatia Mkhize, The Beverly Hills
Cedrick Thabo Sibi, The President Hotel

TOP THREE COCKTAILS
‘Passion Fruit Sunset’ with Three Ships – Keegan Terry, Belmond Mount Nelson

‘Sea Sour’ with Scottish Leader – Justice Zondo, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani
‘Senza Cruz’ with Cruz and S. Pellegrino Essenza – Emile Liebenberg, The Liz McGrath Collection

BEST FOOD & WINE PAIRING

STARTER: Pan-Seared Scallops with Denny King Oyster Mushrooms | Asian Greens | Lemon Gel | Tomato | Aji Dressing ~ Pongrácz Rosé
Chef Angeline Mthembu & Wine Steward Eid Dube, De Hoek Country Hotel

MAIN: Pork Loin, Bacon and Cabbage Wellington | Celeriac and Parsnip Pave | Prune and Pickled Onion Chutney | Baby Sautéed Vegetables with Rio Largo Olive Oil ~ Nederburg The Brew Master 2017
Chef Rameez Ceres & Wine Steward Keegan Terry, Belmond Mount Nelson

DESSERT: Spiced Blueberries, Pistachio and Citrus Tart | Vanilla Lancewood Mascarpone Crème ~ Nederburg The Winemasters Noble Late Harvest 2017
Pastry Chef Rowan Pollecutt & Wine Steward Keegan Terry, Belmond Mount Nelson

SHOWCOOK MAN OF THE MATCH: Patrick Fisher, Lanzerac Hotel & Spa

MENTOR OF THE YEAR: Hagashen Moodley, Sous Chef, The Beverly Hills

TOP THREE CONCIERGES:
Anel Rust, Lanzerac Hotel & Spa
Michael Chihwai, The President Hotel
Khatao Lawrence Magedane, Protea Hotel by Marriott Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton

BEST TEAM AWARD presented by KitchenAid Africa: The Beverly Hills

BEST GENERAL MANAGER: John Aritho, The Beverly Hills

CAPE WINE ACADEMY TOP RESULTS:

Sinead Sinclair, 97%, formerly of Protea Hotel by Marriott® Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton
Devika Giga, 97%, formerly of TAJ Cape Town
Danielle Fourie, 93%, formerly of NH The Lord Charles
Nhlakanipho Justice Zondo, 93%, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani
Xolani Mzileni, 93%, The Beverly Hills
Sakhile Ngubane, 90%, formerly of The Protea Hotel by Marriott Durban Edward
Keegan Terry, 90%, Belmond Mount Nelson

SOMMELIERS ACADEMY RESULTS:

Sinead Sinclair, 96%, formerly of Protea Hotel by Marriott® Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton
Putuma Mbonwa, 96%, formerly representing Southern Sun The Cape Sun and Sun Square City Bowl, CBD Tsogo Sun
Lindokuhle Siyo, 96%, Lanzerac Hotel & Spa
Fortune Joseph Sithole, 96%, formerly of Protea Hotel by Marriott® Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton
Ayabonga Makupula, 94%, formerly of The President Hotel
Nhlakanipho Justice Zondo, 94%, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani
Xolani Mzileni, 92%, The Beverly Hills
Devika Giga, 92%, formerly of TAJ Cape Town

ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: Sinead Sinclair, formerly of Protea Hotel by Marriott Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton (Durbanville Hills & Scottish Leader)

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