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In a tightly contested cook off, the Fedics National Chef of the Year was won by Bernard Steyn from Grand West Casino Cape Town. An annual event hosted by Fedics, the food services division of Tsebo Outsourcing Group, this prestigious event showcases their top junior and senior chefs from each region.

Held last night (4 September 2007) at the University of Johannesburg’s School of Tourism and Hospitality in Auckland Park, this year’s theme for the competition was “mystery basket”. Chefs were given a list of ingredients a few hours before the event and had to plan their menu and prepare the food, all in three hours.

Senior chefs had to whip up a three-course meal comprising a starter, main and desert while junior chefs prepared a main course and desert. Contestants were judged not only on the final presentation but also on the preparation process including hygiene, safety, time keeping and wastage during preparation.

Five junior and five senior chefs competed for the title with Russel Swatton from Alexander Forbes being the runner up in the senior division. David Dhlamini from Carnival City proved he is someone to look out for in future winning the junior title and the award for best kitchen skills, with Neritha Bharuth from GrandWest Casino taking second place in the junior category.

Carnival City’s Steven Skinner won the award for best hygiene in the junior category with Nomfunda Mavundla from Toyota Durban winning the best kitchen skills award in the senior category and Ali Prezens from Lanbau Recreational Club taking home the best hygiene award in the senior category.

The judges include accredited judges from the South African Chefs Association (SACA): Stephen Billingham (HTA School of Culinary Art), Arnold Tanzer (Food on the Move), Jeff Schueremans, Craig Elliot (Unilever), Manfred Muellers (School of Hospitality and Tourism), Peter Dalzell (Fedics). Guest judges include Fedics clients’ Denis Scheuble (Life Healthcare) and Riaan van Rooyen (Carnival City).

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