The South African Chefs Association President’s Cup Head to Head Challenge which was co-sponsored by Excella together with Fattis and Monis, tasked 6 Head Chefs to get into the kitchen and show off their skills. Chefs from qualifying 4-5 star establishments around Gauteng were asked to prepare a mouthwatering three course menu with products that included the option of Excella Sunflower Oil as well as the Excella range of mayonnaises.

After an action-packed day of cooking, Stephen Billingham, the President of the SA Chefs Association, announced the winners. In third place was Blake Anderson and in second place was Davlan James Botes. In first place, and winning R10 000, was Jonathan Roos from the Sandton Sun.

When asked how he felt about winning the competition, Jonathan says that it is “Overwhelming! I’m excited for the new possibilities that might arise from this experience. It was great gaining knowledge about the products we used, and the competition gave me confidence to be more creative. It also made me more passionate about the industry that I’m in; I love competing in cooking competitions because, win or lose, you create more friends and create a brand for yourself.”

Jonathan’s first dish was a starter of Goat’s cheese panacotta, with caramelised chorizo, orange vinaigrette and a Parmesan crisp. For mains, he created a Cape Malay seafood open ravioli with tomato chutney and a micro salad. Lastly, for dessert, Jonathan prepared Deep-fried pasta rice pudding dumplings with berry compote, red wine-infused pears and vanilla anglaise. “I used Excella Sunflower Oil in preparing my Orange Vinaigrette, as well as in the deep fryer when preparing the Rice Pudding dumplings,” he says.

“As an inaugural competition it was great to bring staples like oil and pasta out of the pantry, and challenge head chefs to create signature dishes with them,” says Elsu Gericke, SA Chefs Head of Professional Bodies and Skills Development, who acted as Judging Convener for the competition. “We believe this competition is going to grow from strength to strength in the years to come.”

“The Head Chefs were encouraged to bring a high standard of innovation to this competition. As they were each paired with a student chef, they passed this invaluable experience on to the next generation of chefs,” says Elsu. “Excella is an extremely good friend of SA Chefs, as patrons and training partners, and we are so pleased to have partnered with them as one of the sponsors of the President’s Cup Head to Head Challenge.”

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