In its seventh year, the One&Only Reaching for Young Stars competition saw 11 of the Cape’s top culinary academies putting forward their finest students to compete. The initiative aims to support the hospitality industry through competition and exposure to some of the industry’s finest products and personalities.

The main event kicked off on the 19th of September at the Capsicum Culinary Studio in Cape Town, where the students competed in a cook-off. Each academy team was partnered with a hotel and winery, and had to create menus using Certified Karoo Lamb, Witlof, Bio-Wheat, Lancewood, Rio Largo olive oil, Khoisan sea salt with La Vie de Luc and Avanti coffee.

A panel of 11 top ‘Food & Wine’ luminaries in the hospitality industry were led by chief judge Reuben Riffel who judged the Cook-Off with Aubrey Ngcungama, Carolyn Miller-Krogh, Craig Hibbert, Horst Frehse, Julietta é Silva, Luvo Ntezo, Marieta Human, Mariëtte Crafford, Marlvin Gwese and Penelope Horwood.

The competing academies include: The Private Hotel School (teamed with Radisson Blu Waterfront and Boschendal); Eziko Cooking & Training Centre (Cape Grace and Hill&Dale); The Hurst Campus (Marriott Crystal Towers & Neethlingshof); The Imibala Cookery Kitchen (NH The Lord Charles and Anthonij Rupert Wyne); International Hotel School (Belmond Mount Nelson and Bellingham); Capsicum Culinary Studio (Southern Sun Waterfront and Krone); Silwood School of Cookery (The Westin & Spier Wines); Cape Town Hotel School (Southern Sun Cape Sun & Leeuwenkuil Family Vineyards); Infinity Culinary Training (The Vineyard Hotel and Douglas Green Sherry); Amy Foundation (The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa and Linton Park) and Sense of Taste Chef School (Sun International Table Bay and Reyneke Organic Wines).

“The hotel industry is the heartbeat of tourism,” says Annette Kesler from Showcook.com, the organisers of the event. “It is essential that we maintain the high standards however we have to make sure those same high standards are maintained going into the future. In order to ensure that, we need to have a strong and sustained skills and upliftment programme where our young talent are mentored and given the opportunity to grow.”

The Awards event is hosted at One&Only Cape Town where General Manager Richard Lyon says, “We are proud to be involved in the Young Stars as the competition highlights training and mentorship. One&Only is committed to excellence and the raising of standards in the increasingly valuable hospitality industry. We are delighted to support these young bakers, aspirant chefs and wine stewards in their vital careers going forward.”

The winners, which were announced at the awards event at the One&Only Cape Town on the 10th of November, are:

In the Chef Category:

Bio-Wheat Best Baker

  • Winner – Brode Gleeson from Silwood School of Cookery
  • 2nd Place – Lorna Mnisi from Eziko Cooking & Training Centre
  • 3rd  Place – Wendy Chiringa from Sense of Taste Chef School

Duo of Chefs

  • Winner – Rebecca Odendaal & Nicola Swart from The Hurst Campus
  • 2nd Place – Kristin Reagon & Jarryd Macleod Smith from The Sense of Taste Chef School
  • 3rd Place – Tsoanelo Mosia & Layla Morris from The Private Hotel School
  • Best Witlof Starter – Rebecca Odendaal & Nicola Swart from The Hurst Campus
  • Best Main Course with Certified Karoo Lamb – Kristin Reagon & Jarryd Macleod Smith from The Sense of Taste Chef School
  • Lancewood Best Dessert – Cerise Petersen & Kaylin Kammies from Capsicum Culinary Studio
  • ScanPan Best Kitchen Practice – Cerise Petersen & Kaylin Kammies from Capsicum Culinary Studio

Team Award:

Food & Wine Pairing

  • Winner – Charlton de Ruiter & Dae-Myung Kim from Silwood School of Cookery with winemaker Johan Jordaan of Spier Wines
  • 2nd Place – Rebecca Odendaal & Nicola Swart from The Hurst Campus with Wine Steward Luvuyo Tshazibane and winemaker DeWet Viljoen of Neethlingshof
  • 3rd Place – Cerise Petersen & Kaylin Kammies from Capsicum Culinary Studio with Wine Steward Carlos Picarra from the International Hotel School and winemaker Stephen de Beer of Krone

In the Wine Steward Category:

  • Winner – Bianca Schonauer from The Private Hotel School with Boschendal
  • Lanel Marais from The Private Hotel School with DGB Sherry
  • Carlos Picarra from the International Hotel School with Krone

Prizes included

  • Kitchenware from KitchenAid Africa.
  • Scanpan and the finest of Global knives from AL&CD Ashley.
  • A five-month working experience for four chefs in Cape Cod, Massachusetts at Winslow’s Tavern, a top heritage restaurant in an historic Federalist building in scenic Wellfleet with fellow South Africans, Chef Patron Phillip & Tracey Hunt.
  • Two weeks working experience with Reuben Riffel at his new restaurant Reuben’s Restaurant & Bar in Franschhoek
  • A three weeks stint with Scot Kirton and James Gaag at La Colombe and La Petite Colombe, gaining insight into running a world class restaurant and having fun being creative and expressing yourself as a chef!

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