The South African Chefs Association (SA Chefs) has elected James Khoza as its new President at its Annual General Meeting held in Johannesburg on the 28th of March. He takes over the position from Stephen Billingham, who has served as SA Chefs president since 2009, and is the first Black South African chef to hold the title.

SA Chefs is a non-profit industry body, founded more than 40 years ago, that represents the interests of chefs, cooks and caterers at all levels, with a focus on skills development, the celebration of culinary professionals and transforming the industry.

The President of SA Chefs leads the Association’s governing body and heads its Board of Directors. Tasked with providing direction for its various initiatives, including the South African Culinary Olympics team, the President is elected by anonymous votes cast by the Association’s nearly 10,000 members across South Africa.

“I am truly honoured to assume the role of SA Chefs’ President and look forward to furthering its great work in improving standards in the industry through training and mentorship,” says Khoza. “In my 22 years as a SA Chefs member, I have been inspired by how the organisation works with industry stakeholders to set and maintain the highest level of culinary excellence, growth and development of young chefs and professionalism.”

After completing his studies at the Tecknikon Witwatersrand in Braamfontein, Khoza started his culinary career working under the late Walter Ulz at Linger Longer restaurant as the demi chef de parte. He travelled and worked abroad, including a stint at the Michelin-starred Hugo’s in Berlin, and currently works with Chef Garth Shnier, the Executive Chef of the Sandton Sun. Until his election as President, he was Vice President of SA Chefs, and worked with Chef Jodi-Ann Pearton in the Competitions portfolio.

“Khoza has played an active role in SA Chefs for many years and has a true passion for improving our industry and developing new talent,” says Stephen Billingham, outgoing President of SA Chefs. “I have every confidence that he is going to continue the great work done by the Association and all its members, and that its achievements are going to soar to new heights during his tenure.”

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