On Friday, everyone in the hospitality industry was at the University of Johannesburg’s School of Tourism and Hospitality for the announcement of the winners of the Unilever Food Solutions’ Chef of the Year 2012.
The cook-off was held at the SA Chefs Associations kitchens, the Centre for Culinary Excellence, and this year there were five categories for chefs to compete in: Senior and Junior Chefs of the Year, Team of Four, Creative Canapés and Confectionery Showcase.
Winning R15 000 and the title of Senior Chef of the Year was Tiaan Langenegger from Overture Restaurant in Somerset West. Tiaan was one of the 8 finalists that had to prepare a 3 course meal from a mystery basket which included Duck Breast, Quail, Lamb, White Anchovies, Knorr Pronto, Knorr Jus, Carte d’Or Pannacotta and Knorr Mash Flakes. He impressed judges with his menu of Cured Duck Breast, Tomato Gel, Crispy Salami, Asian Rice Croquettes and Anchovy Emulsion as starter, with a main course of Roasted Quail Breast, Herb Crusted lamb Loin, Root Vegetables, Red Wine Jus and Fried Gnocchi. Dessert was a Vanilla Pannacotta, Macadamia Nut Praline, Strawberries and Mint. In 2nd place was Paul Bussey from Dubai and in 3rd place Mluleki Luthuli from the Palazzo Hotel.
Winning R10 000 and the title of Junior Chef of the Year is Liezl Bruce from the School of Tourism and Hospitality at the University of Johannesburg. The Junior competitors had to use fresh salmon, baby squid, pork fillet, salami, Robertson’s Veggie Seasoning, Knorr Demi Glace, Carte d’Or Strawberry Sauce and Knorr Mash Flakes. Liezl’s menu started off with a Tandoori Salmon, Salmon Ceviche, Gremolata Calamari and Beetreet Puree, with a main of Croustillant Blueberry Pork, Bubble and Squeak, Carrot and Butternut Purée and Blueberry Demi Glace. Liezl’s dessert was a Lemon Posset, Rosemary Marshmallow and Brandy Lava Cake. In 2nd place was Melusi Twala from Lekgotla Restaurant and in 3rd place was Kirsten Jane Howell from 54 on Bath.
The Team of 4 category was won by Capitol Caterers, who win R20 000. They needed to use pork fillet, calamari tubes, prawns, a whole chicken, Knorr Smokey BBQ Sauce, Robertson’s Veggie Seasoning, Knorr Demi Glace, Knorr Tomato Pronto and Carte d’Or Chocolate Mousse. Winning the Creative Canapé challenge and R7 000 was Dion Vengatass from the Mount Nelson hotel and winning the Confectionary Showcase challenge and R7000 was Minah Tshukudi from the Palace Lost City.
The judging panel for each of the categories included some of South Africa’s best-known names in the culinary world such as Garth Shnier (Sandton Sun), Pete Goffe-Wood (MasterChef SA Judge), James Khoza (Sandton Convention Centre) and Stephen Billingham (President of the South African Chefs Association).