South Africa’s hope for Olympic gold in 2020 is proudly carried by the South African Culinary Olympic team (Team SA) as they take part in the 25th IKA Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart, Germany, from 14 to 19 February, under the auspices of the SA Chefs Association.
Team SA is headed by Trevor Boyd, Team Manager and Executive Chef of The Michelangelo Hotel; with team members: Dion Vengatass, Chef de Cuisine, Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel (Team Captain); and Kirstin Hellemann, Junior Sous Chef, Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, both of whom have past Culinary Olympic experience – and Olympic newcomers, Adrian Vigus-Brown, Executive Chef, African Pride Melrose Arch, Autograph Collection; Chanté Rabie, Pastry Chef, Saxton Hotel, Villas & Spa; Bradley van Niekerk, Senior Chef de Partie, Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia; Oscar Baard, Pastry Chef, NH Cape Town The Lord Charles; and Sifiso Chiziane (commis chef, African Pride Melrose Arch, Autograph Collection & National Youth Chef Training Programme 3rd year student).
The 2020 IKA Culinary Olympics will attract over 70 countries and 2 000 chefs competing in the oldest and biggest international culinary arts competition, first held in 1900 with four participating nations.
The Springbok squad will compete in two categories; the Chef’s Table, entailing seven different dishes for twelve people on 16 February, and the Restaurant of Nations, a three-course menu for 110 people on 18 February. In both instances, visitors to the IKA Olympics will be able to pay to enjoy the dishes.
Zuki Jantjies, Divisional Director of Sales and Marketing at City Lodge Hotel Group, accommodation sponsor of Team SA, said the group was excited to host the farewell function at City Lodge Hotel OR Tambo International Airport 9 February before the chefs fly to Germany. She added, “The squad is like family. They are carrying our nation’s Olympic hopes and dreams of success on the culinary world stage and we are proud of their achievements to date.”
The Chefs Table menu that the team will present includes:
- Butter and Dip – Biltong-flavoured Butter and Chakalaka Dip
- Cold Finger Food – Pea and Ham Soup Truffle, Goat’s Milk Cheese, Bacon Crumb, Pea Salad; Cauliflower Panna Cotta, Red Onion and Currant Vinaigrette, Pine Nut Crumble; Prawn and Beetroot Cheesecake; Venison Tartare, Panisse Croute, Radish, Caper Berries
- Hot Finger Food – Sesame Glazed Barbeque Quail, Egg Yolk Emulsion, Mushroom Aioli; Reuben’s Flavoured Croquette, Russian Dressing, Emmenthaler Cheese Crisp, Gherkins, Paprika Hollandaise
- Seafood Platter – Tomato and Olive Crusted Tuna Loin, ‘Nicoise’ themed Salad, Citrus Cured Salmon, Sago and Rice Cracker Crust, Salmon Tartare Encased Cucumber and Daikon Pickled Jelly, Prawn and Crayfish Roulade, Crayfish and Prawn Curry Leaf Custard, Ocean Green Salad, Saffron Aioli, Salsa Verde
- Mushroom Porridge – Oats and Quinoa Porridge, Puffed Rice, Seaweed Rice Cracker, Lime Mushroom Caviar, Pistacchio Nut Paste, Mustard and Sorrel, Smoked Dill Oil, Pickled Shiitake, Porcini Mushroom Powder
- Lamb – Pancetta style Cured Lamb Belly Encased Lamb Loin, Lamb Shoulder Polenta Roulade, Corn Composition; Corn Custard Bake, Purée, Sorghum Popcorn, Beer Braised Onion, Braised Pulses, Lamb Jus
- Passion Fruit and Guava – Guavadilla Mousse with Guava Coconut Saffron Sago Pearls, Pumpkin Citrus Sponge, Guava and Passion Fruit Roulade, Guava, Lime and Saffron Ice Cream, Compressed Nastergal, Peanut and Pumpkin Seed Biscotti, Passion Fruit Marshmallow, Passion Fruit Curd, Passion Fruit Diplomat Cream, Passion Fruit Jelly, Poached Butternut
- Petit Fours – Tonka Bean and Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Mousse, Crispy Hazelnut Paste, Hazelnut Nougatine; White Chocolate Bon Bon with Blackcurrant Paste and Cream Cheese Ganache, Ruby Chocolate Biscuit; Honeycomb Mousse, Fennel Pear and Sherry Liquid, Pecan Shortbread
The team’s three-course Restaurant of the Nations menu includes:
- Exploration of Sea Trout – Pan fried Sea Trout, Smoked Sea Trout Cheesecake, Tomato and Sea Trout Terrine, Radish Relish, Smoked Yam Purée, Tomato Panna Cotta Slaw Salad, Malay Tomato Ketchup, Lime and Dill Vinaigrette, Spicy Rice Cracker
- Lamb – Sous Vide Lamb Loin, Lamb Shank and Sweet Potato Roulade, Limpopo Inspired Curry Leaf Poached Butternut, Butternut Purée, Pickled Butternut, Braised Beans, Cauliflower and Bacon Flan, Crisp Lamb Belly Bacon, Lamb Jus
- Raspberry and Passion Fruit – Passion Fruit White Chocolate Torte, Lemon Verbena Cape Malva Pudding, Raspberry Crémeux with Passion Fruit Coulis, Raspberry Marshmallow, Passion Fruit and Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream, Vanilla Diplomat Cream, Honey Bourbon Crystalized Liqueur
James Khoza, President of SA Chefs Association, wished the team well in their quest for gold, and said, “All the training these chefs have had and the preparation they have put in will pay off – and young juniors in the industry will see what is possible.”
He also thanked the team’s proud sponsors whose involvement ensured South Africa’s participation in this globally acclaimed culinary event. “The cost of providing the necessary training and practice sessions for the chefs, the logistics and the entries into the competitions is extremely high, and as an NPO, SA Chefs depends on the support of sponsors to make it all possible.” The official partners to the team are HTA School of Culinary Art, Avanti, SiChef (SiClothing), Sir Fruit fresh fruit juice, Ecolab, Rich’s, Turn and Slice, F. Dick, MacBrothers, Fidelity Services Group, Snappy Chef, Callebaut, TrenStar, ScanBox, Kee Ingredients, Savannah, Midway Liquor Wholesalers, South African Airways, Distell, JLBranding, Sun International and CR Brands, Legacy Hotel Group and the official accommodation partner for the National Culinary Olympic Team – City Lodge Hotel Group.
Stephen Billingham, former President of the SA Chefs Association and owner of the HTA School of Culinary Art, concludes, “This team represents all of us – our people, cultures, hospitality, business, and the diversity and quality of our food from our country and our seas.”