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Launching the Cape Legends & Artisan Spirits  
Inter Hotel Challenge 2017



Celebrating five splendid years!



2017 Is the fifth year of the Inter Hotel Challenge, sponsored by Cape Legends fine wines and choice Distell artisan spirits, celebrated in the industry as the ‘Hotel Oscars’!


A remarkable national initiative embracing 30 top hotels in South Africa. Hotels that are known for their gracious style, vital support of their staff, willingness to uplift, train and educate.  Bringing about, over time, a transformation of lives.


“Understanding the social initiatives of each and every hotel has been a humbling experience. These incredible commitments reach out to communities countrywide and include all facets of life,” says Annette Kesler (Editor, Showcook.com).


Over the years the Challenge has had steadfast support. Deputy Minister SA Tourism Tokozile Xasa says, “Importantly this initiative contributes to the hospitality industry, the heartbeat of tourism and one of our most valuable assets. This competition acknowledges the talents of South Africa’s most creative young chefs and wine stewards, recognizing the crucial role of mentorship. I wish to pledge my support in better positioning South Africa for economic growth, job creation, skills development, investment potential and ultimately making South Africa the destination of choice.”


The Cape Legends & Artisan Spirits Inter Hotel Challenge has evolved beyond expectation," says Annette Kesler. "Becoming multi-faceted, designed to bring out skills and creativity, to nurture the thought process, give encouragement, goals and finally recognition. Both Chania Morritt-Smith (Managing Editor, Showcook.com) and I have been thrilled and delighted to see the transformation, which has taken place over the years.”


There are two basic initiatives, which have certainly developed far beyond the original concept; the Skills Exchange Development Programme and the Grape to Glass, which takes place in the Cape every year introducing the wine stewards to well known Cape Legends winemakers at some of the finest estates and given an excellent introduction to the world of spirits encompassing fine whisky and elegant brandies.


On the wine side there is tremendous growth with superb tuition from The Cape Wine Academy and The South African Sommeliers Association. They are pushing the boundaries introducing a more in-depth wine appreciation taking into consideration the students’ capabilities, ultimately preparing them for a satisfying career. Instilling and encouraging a love and understanding of wine culture, which has in turn produced some fine sommeliers, wine stewards and knowledgeable waiters. For them, we hope that this will become a commitment to a lifetime choice of career.


The Skills Exchange Development Programme has become a special date on the calendar with international chefs, South African star chefs, and up and coming stars who demonstrate and share skills. An exciting day for our aspiring chefs, while our wine stewards are introduced to the art of red wine blending and to making scintillating cocktails with Black Bottle!



The Regional Cook-Offs will take place in June in Johannesburg and Cape Town at the Capsicum Culinary Studio, in Durban at the International Hotel School.


“There is an art to designing a balanced menu, describing dishes precisely to excite both the palate and the imagination,” says Annette Kesler.


Using choice ingredients; Woodview Angus Beef creative cuts in myriad ways, Lancewood Cheese, Rio Largo Olive Oil and Khoisan Sea Salt. We look forward to introducing Bio-Wheat Stone Ground Unbleached Natural Flour to the Bakers. The Fourie family has been farming in the Overberg region for decades and has a choice range! 


Our panel of top judges throughout SA will be headed by Heinz Brunner (Honorary Lifetime President of the South African Chefs Association, past Vice-Chairman of the World Body of Chefs and team manager of the Culinary Olympics team), Marieta Human (Hospitality Consultant), Megan Angus (Woodview Angus Beef), Michelle Grimbeek (Director, Cape Wine Academy), Higgo Jacobs (Chairman of the South African Sommeliers Association), Sandy Harper (CWM) and Germain Lehodey (Sommelier at Mosaic)  



The 2016 winning chef, Rucita Naidoo representing Beverly Hills, Nederburg & Van Ryn’s, will be jetting off in May 2017 to the Michelin starred Radisson Blu Alcron in Prague for a brilliant opportunity of a three-week working visit. One week in the hot kitchen, one week in the cold kitchen and one week in the patisserie section. Return flights are generously provided by Distell. We are looking forward to hearing about Rucita’s trip and to perhaps having a taste of their exquisite patisserie which Prague is known for. 


The winning wine steward, Sibonele Nongqotho representing Cape Grace, Zonnebloem & Bain’s will be embarking on a brilliant opportunity of a ten-day travel experience with Distell including London, a two day stay at the superb The Montague on the Gardens - Red Carnation while working closely with the 67 Pall Mall sommelier team - the most exclusive wine club in the heart of St James then on to Scotland with visits to top distilleries; Deanston and Bunnahabhain. On the itinerary… France, Bisquit in stunning Cognac and finally an introduction to a world of wines in Bordeaux, La Cité du Vin! He has been awarded with a top bursary from the Cape Wine Academy and South African Sommeliers Association and had the opportunity of attending the launch of the prestigious Platter Wine Guide, tasting a large and varied selection of South Africa’s finest wines in the company of some of the country’s most experienced and trusted palates. 


This year the winning Candidate Chef will be awarded a brilliant opportunity of a three-week visit to Dubai with The Marriott Ritz-Carlton Hotel and their flagship JW Marriott Marquis where they will experience fine dining and large scale catering. 


Generous, practical and fabulous prizes will again be awarded by Cape Legends and Distell to the winning Wine Steward. Superb iconic kitchen appliances from KitchenAid SA, ScanPan Cookware and Global Knives from AL&CD Ashley. Meaningful bursaries from the Cape Wine AcademyCape Town International Convention Centre, Hospitality Property Fund, the International Hotel School and cash prizes from Avanti. In addition, delectable prizes from Lancewood,  Von Geusau Chocolates, elegant Riedel glassware and books for life from Struik Lifestyle.

“Certainly the past five years of the Cape Legends & Artisan Spirits Inter Hotel Challenge have been both exacting and exhilarating. Our winners deserve accolades for their dedicated commitment! There has been overwhelming support for the candidates from top management throughout, which has shown a true generosity of spirit!” says Chania Morritt-Smith 




We look forward to introducing the 2017 teams from…


Johannesburg;African Pride Melrose Arch, De Hoek Country Hotel, InterContinental JHB O.R. Tambo, The Palazzo Montecasino, Protea Hotel Balalaika, Radisson Blu Gautrain, Sun International The Maslow and Sun International The Palace of the Lost City


KwaZulu-Natal; Beverly Hills, Durban International Convention Centre, Hartford House, Protea Hotel Edward,Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani


Cape Town; African Pride Arabella Hotel & Spa, African Pride Crystal Towers, Belmond Mount Nelson, Cape Grace, Cape Town International Convention Centre, Grootbos Private Nature Reserve, NH The Lord Charles, One&Only Cape Town, Radisson Blu Waterfront, Southern Sun Cape Sun, Southern Sun The Cullinan, Southern Sun Waterfront, The Table Bay, Taj Cape Town, The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, Vineyard Hotel and The Westin.


Paired with Cape Legends Fine Wines; Allesverloren, Alto, Durbanville Hills, Fleur Du Cap, Jacobsdal, Monis, Nederburg, Neethlingshof, Plaisir de Merle, Pongrácz, Stellenzicht, Uitkyk and Zonnebloem


Distell Choice Artisan Spirits: Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, Bisquit Dubouché et Cie, Black Bottle, Bunnahabhain, Scottish Leader and Van Ryn’s.


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  1. March Newsletter 2017 - NH Hotels

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