Celebrating its 13th year, the HTA In-Service Apprentice Chef of the Year competition showcases the talent and skill of its recent apprenticeship graduates. A sector of training that’s often overlooked, apprentices work full-time in the industry while completing their formal studies through HTA. This year, eight recently-qualified apprentice chefs were selected to take part in the competition, namely:

  • Arman Venter Protea Hotel by Marriott Fire & Ice, Menlyn
  • Elaine Theunissen Protea Hotel by Marriott Fire & Ice, Melrose Arch
  • Gugu Ndhlovu Protea Hotel by Marriott Fire & Ice, Melrose Arch
  • Kaylee van der Merwe Feedem Catering
  • Tumelo Masango African Pride Melrose Arch, Autograph Collection
  • Khanya Magula Feedem Catering
  • Nixon Mandudzi Thabo Eco Hotel
  • Julius Msibi HTA School of Culinary Art

In the top spot was Tumelo Masango from the African Pride Melrose Arch, with Arman Venter and Nixon Mandudzi in 2nd and 3rd places respectively. Chef Tumelo, who cites her Chef de Cuisine Adrian as a mentor, wins R7 500 from HTA, a Snappy Chef induction unit, knife set from Furi Knives, glassware from Maxwell & Williams, as well as a hamper from both Rich’s and the SA Chefs Association.

“I practised and practised all of my dishes until I was happy,” says Chef Tumelo, who presented a starter of pork belly, main of chicken roulade and dessert of panna cotta. And of the elements that she’s proudest of? “The main course – I was proud of everything that was on that dish!”  Tumelo chose a career as a chef as it’s a growth industry job, with excellent career progression: “People will always want to eat out!”

The HTA In-Service Apprentice Chef of the Year is supported by a number of industry suppliers, with its headline sponsors Nedan and Afgri Milling. “The main objective of the competition, other than that of the educational and fun component offered through competitions, is to expose young Chefs, the next generation of industry leaders, to a wide range of products and to allow them to incorporate them into 4 or 5 Star Cuisine,” says Duane Riley from HTA.

Other sponsors included Ready Veg, Protea Hotels by Marriott, Ciro Beverage Solutions, Foodboys, Sir Fruit, Anvil, Be Well, Future Foods, SA Chefs, City & Guilds, Snappy Chef, KEE Ingredients, Prestige, MIC, Rich’s, Sigma Chef, Ecolab, Cape Herb and Spice, Sharp Edge Sharp Shooter and Lucky Star.

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Moira Mdakana