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SA College for Tourism

Fabulous display of talent in Master Chef-style cook-off

Presenting their dishes to the judges.

In the spirit of International Day of Rural Women, it’s a privilege to share a light-hearted update from the SA College for Tourism (SACT), as the talented students of the not-for-profit organisation once again competed in the annual Fab Chef cooking competition.

Operating under the auspices of Peace Parks Foundation, the hospitality training division of SACT annually trains up to 95 young, unemployed and unskilled individuals (mostly women – above 95%) from rural southern Africa, to equip them to take up skilled positions in the nature-based tourism industry. More than 92% of the students find permanent employment in their field once they graduate – and the college has trained well over 1 200 women since its inception!

The Fab Chef competition is an important milestone for the culinary students each year. It illustrates the incredibly high level of skills and expertise that the students are equipped with at the College – making them sought-after employees in the industry, and empowering them to take charge of their futures.

The Competition

On Tuesday, 27 August 2019, the competition kicked off with a masterful cooking demonstration presented by Chefs Kevin, Ian and Wikus from Fleur du Cap Estate. The Chefs presented a variety of different dishes and provided great inspiration for all the aspiring chefs in the audience. The demonstration included impressive breads, salads and main course dishes, which students could sample. In addition, the Chefs prepared a variety of delicious biscuits for students to enjoy at tea-time.

Learning from the masters in a cooking demonstration.

After the demonstration, ten teams consisting of two students each were selected and each group was assigned a mystery basket containing six items to be used to create their special dish. All teams were given 10 minutes to do their planning and to collect any additional ingredients required. The teams then had one hour to complete their dish and present it to the judging panel. The students were observed by the three Chefs form Fleur du Cap as well as Chef Petru from the College. The students not taking part in the competition could watch the proceedings on a big screen television, kindly donated by Remgro Limited, and they were also afforded the opportunity to have a walk through the kitchen while the teams were busy cooking up a storm.

The judges carefully score the dishes.

Upon presenting their dishes to the judges, the teams had to explain how they incorporated all the ingredients from the mystery basket. The teams were scored based on presentation, creativity, utilisation of the mystery basket and on the taste of the dish. All teams presented creative and attractive dishes to the judges, making the decision a very difficult one. After tasting the food and with much deliberation between the judges, they finally decided on the top three teams.

(Front row from left to right) The winning team! – Meryl Sibuyi & Jeraydo Vermeulen. (Back row from left to right) Chef Wicus Prinsloo, Chef Ian Wallace, Chef Kevin Rottcher, Chef Petru Alberts (SACT Chef Trainer), Mariette Ferreira (SACT Manager: Operations & Training)

The winning team and runners up were announced in front of all the students, which was met by much applause. Remgro Limited kindly donated the prizes which consisted of knives sets and aprons branded with the College logo. After the prize giving presentation, students handed out small gifts to the Chefs to thank them for the “fabulous” day, experience and knowledge that was shared with them.

(Front row from left to right) Second place winners, Sindiswa Malunga & Zabian Jafta. (Back row from left to right) Chef Kevin Rottcher, Chef Ian Wallace, Chef Wicus Prinsloo, Chef Petru Alberts (SACT Chef Trainer), Mariette Ferreira (SACT Manager: Operations & Training)
(Front row from left to right) Third place fab chefs, Ceci-Leè Claasen, Tessnay Cornelissen. (Back row from left to right) Chef Kevin Rottcher, Chef Ian Wallace, Chef Wicus Prinsloo, Chef Petru Alberts (SACT Chef Trainer), Mariette Ferreira (SACT Manager: Operations & Training)

A sad farewell

After five years, it is with great sadness that the College had to bid farewell to Chef Kevin. The students prepared a special thank you song and presentation for him. Chef Kevin will be replaced by Chef Wikus, who attended the competition for the first time this year and is excited to be part of the Fab Chef team in the future. Once again, the competition was a smashing success and the College is looking forward to hosting the Fab Chef competition again next year!

The cooking competition is the brainchild of Jennifer Preller, one of the Board members of SACT, and supported by Mariza Lubbe, Director: Compliance and Corporate Social Investments at Remgro Limited.

Story and photos by the SA College for Tourism
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