This past Saturday, the 3rd of August, the hotel world gathered at the Cape Sun in Cape Town for the Distell Inter Hotel Challenge. At its core, the competition tasks hotel teams (comprising a chef, wine steward, baker and concierge if applicable, nominated by the senior management) with challenges that showcase their respective skills. But the Distell Inter Hotel Challenge also focuses on mentorship and exposure, with all teams taking part in workshops and other networking opportunities in the run-up to the cook-offs.

Here are the winners from this year’s competition:

  • CHEF OF THE YEAR 2019: Johandré Grobler, Sun Time Square (Sun International)
    • 2nd: Riashnie Thaver Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani (Tsogo Sun)
    • 3rd: Nicholas Freitas Sandton Sun (Tsogo Sun)
  • The HPF ‘MOST PROMISING CHEF’: Cathrine Chetty Beverly Hills (Tsogo Sun)
  • WINE STEWARD OF THE YEAR 2019: Lovejoy Neshamba, Ellerman House (Fleur du Cap & Scottish Leader)
    • 2nd: Brian Nyamara Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa (Pongrácz & Scottish Leader)
    • 3rd: Matakatso Moshoeshoe, Spier Hotel (Nederburg & Black Bottle)
  • MOST PROMISING WINE STEWARD: Mxolisi Matthew Ntsele, One&Only Cape Town (Durbanville Hills & Bains Cape Mountain Whisky)
  • MOST UP & COMING WINE STEWARD: (‘THE WONGA PRIZE’): Joint Winners:
    • Mduduzi Njenjese, De Hoek Country Hotel (Nederburg & Black Bottle Whisky)
    • Rachel Fundiswa Philile, Lanzerac Hotel & Spa (Durbanville Hills & Cruz Vodka)
  • EXQUISITE SERVICE: Jonathan Wakefield, The Table Bay (Sun International) (Allesverloren & Three Ships Whisky)
  • BIO-WHEAT BAKER OF THE YEAR 2019: Marcony Luzoladio Diakieleka, Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa
    • 2nd: Nokwazi Gigada, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani
    • 3rd: Ferdinand October, NH The Lord Charles Hotel
  • The KITCHENAID AFRICA ‘MOST PROMISING BAKER’: A tie!
    • Chadwin Simmers, Vineyard Hotel
    • Letitia Haripersad, Beverly Hills
  • MOST DELECTABLE STARTER: Brandan Coetzee:
    • Marriott Crystal Towers Mushroom Gyoza Exotic Denny Mushrooms | Mushroom Ketchup | Black Garlic and Tsume sauce ~ Pongrácz NV Rosé ~
  • THE PURPLE RIBBON AWARD FOR THE BEST SA PORK DISH: Johandré Grobler, Sun Time Square (Sun International)
    • Stuffed Pork Leg | Parsnip Purée | Micro Heritage Vegetables ~ Zonnebloem Pinotage 2017 ~
  • LANCEWOOD BEST DESSERT: Lyndsey Tamson Buys, TAJ Cape Town
    • Valrhona Chocolate Brownie | Lancewood Lemon Curd ~ Zonnebloem Pinotage 2017 ~
  • SCANPAN EXCELLENT KITCHEN PRACTICE: Chef Shane Vermaak and Assistant Chef Innocent Nkosi, Saxon Hotel, Villas and Spa
  • BEST MENU PRESENTATION: Nancy Rowena Minords, The Royal Portfolio – The Silo
  • BEST COCKTAIL OF THE YEAR
    • 1st – A Tie between Mxolisi Matthew Ntsele One&Only Cape Town (Bains Cape Mountain Whisky) ~ The African Sun; and
    • Brian Nyamara Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa (Scottish Leader Whisky) ~ Old Fashioned
    • 2nd – A tie between Parceville Africa Sun Time Square (Sun International) (Gordon’s London Dry Gin) ~ Sparkling G&T; and
    • Jonathan Wakefield The Table Bay (Sun International) (Three Ships Whisky) ~ Boulevardier
    • 3rd – A Tie between Mduduzi Njenjese De Hoek Country Hotel (Black Bottle Whisky) ~ Ti-Punch Twist and;
    • Lovejoy Neshamba Ellerman House (Scottish Leader) Inkungu Emanzini ~ Mist on the Water
  • BEST FOOD & WINE PAIRING:
    • STARTER: A TIE! Graeme White and Sandi Notwala, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve Denny Mushroom & Lancewood Cream Cheese Tortellini | Balsamic Gel | Peanut Crumble ~ Fleur du Cap Chenin Blanc 2017 ~
    • Lerato Monagane and Mduduzi Njenjese, De Hoek Country Hotel Denny’s Mushroom Farm – Brown, White & Shimeji Mushrooms | Broad beans | Parsnip | Raspberry ~ Nederburg The Young Airhawk 2016 ~
    • MAIN: Shane Vermaak and Brian Nyamara, Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa Brined Pork Silverside | Pork Pie | Pickled Grapes | Cabbage Purée | Denny Mushroom | Smoked Bacon Jus | Brussel Sprout Leaves ~ Pongrácz Desiderius ~
    • DESSERT: Mongi Fana & Tafadzwa Ndlovu Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa Lancewood Mascarpone Orange Mousse | Rooibos Gel | Frozen Grapefruit ~ Nederburg The Beautiful Lady Gewürztraminer 2018
  • CAPE WINE ACADEMY EXAMINATION RESULTS (Grape to Glass)
    • 1st: 93% Lovejoy Neshamba, Ellerman House
    • 2nd: Tie with 92% Nambitha Joanne Ndum-Ndum, Southern Sun Cape Sun & SunSquare Cape Town, City Bowl (Tsogo Sun) & Titus Mutuvira, Sandton Sun (Tsogo Sun – Gauteng Team)
    • 3rd: 88% Rachel Fundiswa Philile, Lanzerac Hotel & Spa
  • SHOWCOOK MAN OF THE MATCH: Alfred Henry, Southern Sun Cape Sun
  • MENTOR OF THE YEAR 2019: Jane-Therese Mulry, Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa
  • TOP 3 CONCIERGE’S LIST: Sasha-Simone van Zyl, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve Masood Sadulla, Saxon Hotel, Villas & Spa Bradley Solomons, The Table Bay (Sun International)
  • BEST TEAM: TAJ Cape Town
  • GENERAL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Mark Wernich, TAJ Cape Town
  • BEST TABLE DECORATION: The theme this year was Shades of a Grape from the Vineyards of the Cape.
    • ‘Most Elegant’1st, 2nd, 3rd: in each category! The President Hotel; Beverly Hills, Tsogo Sun; Spier Hotel
    • ‘Best Interpretation of the Brief’: Grootbos Private Nature Reserve; Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa; Radisson Blu Waterfront
    • ‘The Table You Would Most Wish to Dine At’: The Table Bay Hotel; TAJ Cape Town; Southern Sun Cape Sun & Sun Square, Tsogo Sun

This year’s prizes:

  • In September, Chef of the Year will travel to Bangkok to take part in a 3-week internship at Minor Hotels in Bangkok, two weeks at Anantara Riverside Bangkok Hotel and while at Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotel will attend the World Gourmet Festival and cook with more than 20 combined Michelin stars.
  • The Wine Steward of the Year will take part in a travel experience with Distell including Scotland – the home of fine Distell distilleries; Deanston and Bunnahabhain. On the itinerary: Bordeaux and La Cité du Vin. London, a two day stay at the superb The Montague on the Gardens – Red Carnation while working with the 67 Pall Mall Sommelier team. In addition the winner will receive a bursary from Distell to attend the foundation training courses from the South African Sommeliers Association.
  • The Bio-wheat Baker receives kitchenware from Dr Susanne Reuther of KitchenAid Africa, and the ‘Most Promising Bio-Wheat Baker’ will undergo a two week internship with Executive Pastry Chef Craig Hibbert and Master Baker Togara Mabharani under the auspices of Executive Chef Rudi Liebenberg at the Belmond Mount Nelson. Travel arrangements courtesy of British Airways operated by Comair
  • Chantel Dartnall has offered a two week internship for both the winning Chef and Wine Steward of the Year to join her team at Restaurant Mosaic for in-depth work shadowing. Travel arrangements courtesy British Airways operated by Comair.
  • Bursaries from the Cape Wine Academy, the Sommeliers Academy for a one on one masterclass with Jean-Vincent Ridon on an international level, The Hospitality Property Fund valued at R30 000 and an on-line International Hotel School course have all been prizes this year.
  • Scanpan cookware and Global Knives from AL&CD Ashley, cash prizes from South African Pork, Lancewood and Avanti Coffee, books from Penguin Random House, Platter’s Wine Guide and an invitation to their special 40th edition launch!
  • The Valley Training and Hospitality Consultancy has offered the ‘SCANPAN EXCELLENT KITCHEN PRACTICE’ Duo of Chefs a one-day training programme and on-line examination to achieve the international certificate in the Highfield Qualification Level 2 Award in Food Safety & Catering.
  • The Mentor of the Year and partner are invited by Minor Hotels to a four night sojourn at Royal Livingstone Victoria Falls Zambia Hotel by Anantara. VIP Flights by British Airways operated by Comair.
  • The GM of the Year and Concierges received engraved gold cufflinks and handcrafted Concierge lapel pins from the Diamond Works Institute.
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Mavis NetshitukaKelly-Marie Jacobs