Sunday Times in association with Foodcorp is hosting the Chef of the Year Competition and is calling on all of South Africa's finest and most innovative culinary talent to enter the competition by Friday 14 September 2012.
Previously known as the Sunday Times Food Awards, the competition is now in its sixth year running and is a highlight on the culinary calendar. Chefs can enter in one of four categories, which include Chef of the Year; Young Chef of the Year; Stalwart of the Kitchen and Junior Chef of the Year.
The theme of this year’s competition is Modern South African Cuisine, where chefs have the option to choose ingredients from a specified list and submit a menu that will incorporate a new and exciting spin on traditional cuisine. Entrants in the Junior, Young and Chef of the Year categories are required to enter a three course menu; a starter, a main and a dessert. The Stalwart entrants will provide a two course menu; a starter and a main.
The Chef of the Year competition is open to all chefs resident in South Africa from the age of 30 years and up. This category will recognise and reward senior South African chefs who have shown dedication in their pursuit of culinary innovation, excellence and consistency. The first prize awarded in this category is R50 000.
The Young Chef of the Year category will identify and reward rising culinary stars that are ready to make a name for themselves in the industry. Entrants have to be resident South African chefs and be between the ages of 25 – 30 years. The winner will be presented with R20 000 cash prize.
The previous year’s category Chef School Challenge has now been replaced by Junior Chef of the Year and South African qualified chefs under the age of 25 yearscan stand the chance to walk away with a cash prize of R10 000.00.
The Stalwart of the Kitchen category is a true favourite within the competition and aims to recognise the large group of chefs and cooks over the age of 35, who have no formal qualifications, yet make up the backbone of this industry. The winner will be awarded a cash prize of R10 000 and once again, need to be a South African resident.
The panel of judges will select four finalists in each category. Andrew Atkinson, executive chef at the Michelangelo Hotel and Masterchef SA judge, will be the competition’s head judge. The kitchen judge is Arnold Tanzer, who acted as the culinary producer on the Masterchef SA competition. The tasting judges for 2012 are Ruben Riffel, owner of Reuben’s Restaurant in Franschhoek; Jackie Cameron, executive chef at Hartford House; Andrew Unsworth, editor of The Sunday Times Travel Weekly; Hilary Biller editor of The Sunday Times Food Weekly as well as Michel le Borgne, executive chef at Foodcorp’s The 7th Floor.
“The Sunday Times first launched this competition in 2007. The collaboration with Foodcorp took place in 2009, a partnership that works extremely well as both parties aim to create the opportunity to recognise the talented chefs and food innovators in South Africa,” says Jacqui Gunn, manager of the competition since its inception.
Foodcorp, a leading manufacturer of branded food products, is the third largest food company in South Africa producing some of the country’s best-known brands including Yum Yum peanut butter, Ouma rusks and Bobtail. As a proudly home-grown food company, their passion for SA’s top products is a perfect fit to source SA’s top chef.
The final award ceremony will take place from the 2- 4 October 2012 at Foodcorp Innovation Centre’s The 7th Floor, Cape Town.