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Taj, Cape Town

Vineyard Hotel & SpaLa Residence stunning winning tableTAJ, CAPE TOWN - A study a vegetables in silver





It was a glittering evening at the historic Vineyard Hotel & Spa on 26th September 2013. The culmination of much preparation, press lunches with Executive Chefs to introduce their candidates chefs and wine stewards. There were grape to glass experiences in the splendid vineyards with top winemakers and finally a two day cook-off at the South African Chefs Academy with the ten hotels who entered for the first Inter Hotel Challenge in Cape Town and a first in South Africa. 




The term hospitality embraces many facets and what the Inter hotel Challenge does is to promote nurturing and mentoring for our candidate chefs and wine stewards. Everyone should be congratulated on their splendid entries. We know that not everyone can be a winner, but what was important was that they participated and succeeded beyond expectation! 



The evening was the perfect time to once again thank everyone especially our host, Lex Petousis of the Vineyard Hotel & Spa, to Executive Sous Chef Shane Louw who prepared the most stunning dinner based on the superb entries of our candidate chefs and to introduce our speakers Ina Paarman and Elsa van der Nest. 


Ina Paarman, the perfect example of a woman who had vision, made it to the top and has become a celebrated name. South African born Elsa van der Nest, now the most dynamic caterer in Singapore, flew in to join us for the evening.


Lex Petousis (CEO Vineyard Hotel & Spa), Alan Romburgh (Director, The Cape Town Hotel School, part of the Faculty of Business at the Cape Peninsula University of Technology), Diana Romburgh (One&Only, Cape Town), Debra Algie (One&Only, Cape Town) and Roy Davies (GM Vineyard Hotel & Spa)


Wineland beauties; Cape Legends Global Marketing Managers Tanya Jordaan with Le Bonheur Winemaker Lauren Snyman, Uitkyk Winemaker Estelle Lourens, Gwen Job and Lize-Marie Gradwell. 

One of South Africa’s most dynamic journalists feisty Hilary Prendini Toffoli with her husband Emilio Toffoli and glamorous Janie van der Spuy Fivestar PR


Cape Legends CEO Naas Erasmus sent a message from Brazil to say, "We view our contribution towards this event as an important investment in the future of the young candidates and the premium gastronomy environment which are of great importance to us as a producer and distributor of fine wines." 



Stewart Banner, our distinguished master of ceremonies for the evening who knows how to charm an audience! 


Judges; Flower Walker (Petals Group) and Jay Smith (The Jay Smith Collection) with Chania Morritt-Smith (Managing Editor


Flower Walker and Jay Smith played a most important role in the evening and with great deliberation making the final judgement on the stunning table settings, an extremely difficult task! The challenge for the hotels was to orchestrate their tables down to the finest details in silver and white and what a show it was, breathtaking! The result of many intense hours of planning.  



Inter Hotel Challenge: Best Table - First Prize
Best Wine Steward - Second Prize

La Residence


Nick Solomon of La Residence with Annette Kesler Editor, Elsa van der Nest and Edward Morton of La Residence part of The Royal Portfolio, who were thrilled with their winning table designed by floral artist, Alyson Kessel.



Chilled glasses of Pongrácz, cheers all round with Michael Liffmann (F&B Cape Grace), Chris Weston (F&B Queen Victoria), Craig Paterson (Executive Chef of the three Newmark Hotels in the Waterfront) and Richard Kellond (Truth Coffee). 



A reunion moment for Alan and Diana Romburgh with Elsa van der Nest. Charming Aubrey Ncgungama of the One & Only, Cape Town and Ulf Grill - a judge in the ‘Best Bread Award’ with Dr Susanne Reuther of KitchenAid SA. 



Inter Hotel Challenge: Best Bread Award
Best Wine Steward - Third 
Mount Nelson


Dr Susanne Reuther (KitchenAid SA) with Ian Manley (Manley Communications.) (Below) Janice Gombert (Mount Nelson) with Mount Nelson Executive Chef Rudi Liebenberg and sought after prizes from KitchenAid SA. 



Rudi’s outstanding bread raises the bar! Among the finest in the land made with dedication and skill. Served daily throughout their restaurants and functions.



The bread basket, a symbol of hospitality, the finest welcome! 



Inter Hotel Challenge: Best Wine Steward - First Prize
Tinashe Nyamudoka of the One&Only, Cape Town


Winning Wine Steward Tinashe Nyamudoka of the One&Only, Cape Town with René Dehn of The White Club and The World of First Growths who has invited Tinashe to have a memorable sommeliers’ experience at his next wine club function in South Africa and moreover a working trip to one Switzerland’s top restaurants in 2014.


Congratulations to Farai Magwada of the Mount Nelson who came third in this prestigious Wine Stewards’ competition. 



Paul Hartmann of the South African Chefs Academy (SACA) with Ndaba Dube of the Vineyard Hotel & Spa, winning the most ‘Up & Coming Wine Steward’ award by the South African Sommeliers’ Association, and Roy Davies (General Manager Vineyard Hotel & Spa). 


Hats off to Evan Sampson of La Residence who came second in the Wine Steward category, Edward Morton (General Manager of La Residence, part of the Royal Collection). 

Lex Petousis (CEO Vineyard Hotel & Spa) with top journalist Penny Haw. 
Vineyard Hotel & Spa Candidate Chef Samantha Temmers with Annabel Wibberley (Phoenix Partnership). Their table was a symphony in silver damask with an antique silver candelabra brimming with masses of white orchids, napkins in dark silver caught with silver vines, and place names cut out in relief.



Alison Kranenburg (The Vineyard Hotel & Spa) who overseas their wonderful initiative, ‘Our Kids of Cape Fund’ on behalf of the Vineyard group of hotels, and Marilyn May (Atlantic Hope).



Floris Smith (Assistant General Manager and Executive Chef of Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat). South African Chefs Academy (SACA) Lindi Gibbs and Paul Hartmann who was the spokesman on behalf of the judging panel and whose academy has given unstintingly of their time and enthusiasm for this initiative. 



Bushmans Kloof Candidate Chef Sorita Booyson with Wayne Gabb (Lomond) and Floris Smith who has been an admirable and vital influence in the local community of Wupperthal as well sharing skills and mentoring across the board at Bushmans Kloof.

Michelle Grimbeek representing the Cape Wine Academy who awarded generous bursaries to the three winning wine stewards chosen by CEO Cape Wine Academy, Marilyn Cooper, who joined us from Johannesburg to judge the wine steward category on the Cook-Off days. Winning Tinashe Nyamudoka (One&Only, Cape Town) with Cape Legends’ Brand Ambassador Carolyn Miller-Krogh.



Inter Hotel Challenge: Best Table & Best Chef
Third Prize - Queen Victoria


A cleverly designed all white vegetable theme, caused a frisson of excitement!



Lisa and Neil Markovitz (CEO Newmark Hotels) presented the generous Newmark Award. 


Accolades to Queen Victoria’s Candidate Chef Thaabiet Adams who came third in the Best Chefs category under the mentorship of Chef de Cuisine Jamie Dempster and Executive Chef Craig Paterson. The winners received a fabulous selection of prizes from our prestigious line-up of gold standard companies; KitchenAid SA, Le Creuset, Scanpan, Lindt & Sprüngli and Struik Lifestyle.



Ulrike & Wolfgang Leyrer, a judge on the panel for the Inter Hotel Challenge and Andy Nold (Operations Director Newmark Hotels) and Winemaker Martin Moore of Durbanville Hills with Johané Nielson (Tuis & Home). 



The exquisite table created around the word ‘grace’ by the Cape Grace was worthy of a special occasion. Grant Thornton generously attended the dinner at the Cape Grace’s StreetSmart SA table. Streetsmart SA is a vital welfare organisation, recently including Johannesburg’s many restaurants.



Inter Hotel Challenge: Best Chef - First Prize
Gert Böcking of the Cape Grace


Cape Legends Global Brand Manager Lize-Marie Gradwell with Cape Grace Executive Chef Malika van Reenen, and winner Gert Böcking with Jenny Handley.


Gert’s starter was an exceptional saffron scented shellfish velouté. Full of flavour and richly delicious with poached hake, mussels, grilled prawns and a light coriander foam. Perfectly paired with Plaisir de Merle Sauvignon Blanc 2013 and Pongrácz Rosé. Each course at the prize giving dinner was paired with two choice estate wines, which made for an excellent conversation piece.  



(Left to right): Wayne Gabb, Craig Paterson, Therese and Allan Mullins, Edward Morton, Jim Freeman, Sheila Banner on the committee of Friends of the Animal Rescue Organisation and Nick Solomon. Pongrácz winemaker Elunda Basson with Janet Petousis.

Inter Hotel Challenge: Best Table & Best Chef
Second Prize - The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa 


Well done to you all and congratulations to recently appointed Executive Chef Christo Pretorius, Gavin Ferreira (F&B The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa with Neethlingshof Winemaker De Wet Viljoen  and Michael Nel (Deputy GM The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa) Paul Hartmann (SACA) and all the best for deserving Candidate Chef Oscar Ndlovu! 


Neethlingshof Winemaker De Wet Viljoen with photo journalist Judy Brower of popular



Chefs on the rise with Annette Kesler; Sorita Booysen (Bushmans Koof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat), Bonga Galada (Radisson Blu), Oscar Ndlovu (The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa), Thaabiet Adams (Queen Victoria), Catherine Adonis (Mount Nelson), Shu-Aib Bassier (Taj Hotels, Cape Town) and Gert Böcking (Cape Grace).  



Cape Legends Global Brand Manager Anabelle Fouche with Zonnebloem Winemaker Elize Venter and Fleur du Cap Winemaker Andrea Freeborough. The audience loved Ina’s comment, "It took 20 years to become an overnight success!" - and my has she succeeded! Reuben Riffel who has just brought out his latest cook book Braai - Reuben on Fire. 



Henry Uys (Peugeot Citroën), Jenny Everingham on the committee of Friends of the Animal Rescue Organisation, and Hans van Heukelum. Linda Uys with Louis Wege and Elma van der Vyfer.



Nigel Everingham with Dr Helene Wege. Higgo Jacobs founder of the South African Sommeliers Association (SASA), Craig Paterson and Chris Weston.



Katie MacDonald (567 CapeTalk), charming Michael Pownall (GM Taj, Cape Town) with Candidate Chef Shu-Aib Bassier (Taj, Cape Town).



Well known food and wine writers Myrna Robins with Samarie Smith, one of the judges on our panel. Hugely supportive Willem du Toit (F&B Taj, Cape Town) with Zonnebloem Winemaker Elize Venter and Alan McKinnon.


The enchanting Taj table had a sense of place. India inspired the theme exquisitely produced in silver and white down to the silver embroidered napkins and the silver vegetable place card holders in garlic, ginger and aubergine - sheer delight!  



Hersia and Pieter de Jaager of the Western Cape Pork Producers (WCPP). Guests of the Grant Thornton table.


Western Cape Pork Producers have been sharing education and upliftment events with Showcook for some years and we applaud them for continuously working towards making their industry one of the finest in the world with internationally admired farming practices. Versatile pork was the focus for the main course which Gert prepared to perfection for the competition. Wonderful flavours, interesting textures, his main course concentrated on oven roasted pork belly and delicious confit cheek served with an unctuous potato dauphinoise, braised red cabbage, caramelised apple and a ginger jus paired with Plaisir de Merle Malbec 2008. 



Lovely Brand Ambassador Carolyn Miller-Krogh of Cape Legends and Executive Chef Grant Kennedy of the Radisson Blu. The table, glamorous and exotic with South Africa’s big five striding across in streaks of silver and a wonderful centre piece which included sprays of fynbos. 




Roxanne and Naushad Khan (The Next48 Hours). Britt Geach (Khoisan Sea Salt) with Fleur du Cap Winemaker Andrea Freeborough. 


Khoisan Sea Salt, hand harvested from the finest pristine salt pans on the West Coast, is rich in natural minerals imparting a very special flavour highlighting everyday dishes.



Janie van der Spuy with Justine Kiggen (Food Editor, Fair Lady). Edward Morton with La Residence Candidate Chef Phumeza Maxwele and Executive Sous Chef Labbare Smit of La Residence. 



Guests at the Grant Thornton table. Roxanne Khan with Terri Dunbar-Curran (Cape Times). Sarah Morritt-Smith and Bilqees Baker who assisted with the raffles and prizes, and did splendidly!



Keith Mitchell and Robyn van Oudtshoorn who headed the banqueting team at the Vineyard Hotel & Spa, tirelessly orchestrated the ten hotels’ arrangements on the night.



Michael Liffmann (F&B Cape Grace), Gert Böcking (Winning Candidate Chef), Malika van Reenen (Executive Chef Cape Grace) and Sandy Pollard (GM Cape Grace). 


Many congratulations, to all that were involved you did your hotels and mentors proud!


  See… On the table with their Executive Chefs’ 

Out to Lunch features…
















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