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The winners of the 5th annual Distell Inter Hotel Challenge were announced at a glittering gala awards dinner at the Southern Sun Cape Sun. Attended by Richard Rushton (MD Distell) and Volker Heiden (Area Vice President, Protea Hotels by Marriott, Marriott International, Middle East and Africa), the cream of South Africa’s hoteliers, chefs, sommeliers and vintners as well as top companies that supply the hospitality industry. This year the theme was to celebrate our rich floral kingdom, one of the finest in the world!



Richard Rushton (MD Distell) and his lovely wife, Tracey, with John van Rooyen (Operations Director, Western Cape Tsogo Sun). In Van Rooyen’s address he highlighted Cape Town as a city that has been given a spectacular vote of confidence with multi-faceted events drawing significant numbers of international visitors. Richard Rushton gave his view of developments in the wine industry and spoke about the vital role of the Sommelier in presenting one of South Africa’s great assets to welcome guests to the historic wine estates of the Cape and introducing them to award-winning distilleries. 


The Distell Inter Hotel Challenge has become a red-letter annual event on the hotel industry calendar. 2017 marks the fifth anniversary of this initiative, a first in South Africa and a first internationally.



(Left) Volker Heiden (Area Vice President, Protea Hotels by Marriott, Marriott International, Middle East and Africa) who has recently arrived in South Africa representing Marriott spoke encouragingly and directly to both the young chefs and the wine stewards about expectations and rewards. (Right) Elsa van der Nest, Singapore’s No 1 caterer, gave a superb demonstration and talk at our Skills Exchange Development Programme, which took place the day before at Crown National with KitchenAid. Our candidates from the participating hotels and culinary academies were riveted with Elsa’s realistic and hard hitting message from the coalface. 


Volker Heiden awarded the ‘Best Chef of 2017′ two fabulous weeks at JW Marriott Marquis, experiencing catering on a vast scale and one week at the elegant Ritz-Carton Dubai, superb fine dining while the magic carpet will be provided by Distell. The winner, Eugene Ramcharan of the Beverly Hills who teamed with Durbanville Hills and Bisquit Debouché et Cie, was overwhelmed!



(Left to right) Enver Mally well-known for his contribution to tourism in South Africa with Rozanna Nell and Michael Pownall (PMR Hospitality). Hugely supportive Garry Reed (GM Southern Sun The Cullinan), Neo Mazibuko, Nicola Reed and Jacques Meyer (Regional Marketing Manager, Tsogo Sun) 


Described as a defining event for the hospitality industry in South Africa, the success of the Challenge has been labeled as the ‘Oscars of the hotel world’. Although a competition that provides glitz and glamour, the true role is serious and deep-rooted providing a vehicle and a public platform for creating an environment of mentorship for the country’s hospitality industry.


The initiative championed by Distell, is hotly contested as hotels around South Africa present their protégés. The candidates compete in different categories over a period of months culminating in a glittering gala event where the winners of the 2017 Challenge are announced!



(Left to right) Matt Deitchman (F&B Manager) and Carl van Rooyen (Executive Chef) with Roy Davies (General Manager, The Vineyard Hotel) 


2013 Was the hugely successful first awards event of the Distell Inter Hotel Challenge hosted by The Vineyard, one of our most historic and much loved hotels in the Cape. 2017 Saw one of our four launches around SA at a scintillating evening in March held at The Vineyard. The splendid tables were elegantly dressed by Flower Walker and her team from Petals Group. No two tables were alike and all were exquisite while the dinner was a simply outstanding collaboration from some of our leading Executive Chefs of the Cape co-ordinated by Carl van Rooyen.



Stewart Banner, recently retired from The Vineyard, has been a stalwart supporter of Showcook from its inception and we would like to thank him for his huge support. He is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant MC’s that South Africa has seen and we have been privileged to hear! Many thanks Stewart you have been greatly appreciated.


In the Chef Categories



Many thanks to Dr Susanne Reuther of international iconic KitchenAid for her boundless generosity, we salute her for tremendous contribution over the years!


Best Chef 2017: Eugene Ramcharan from
“Beverly Hills”


Eugene Clyde Ramcharan has been with the Beverly Hills since 2015 where he works as commis chef. As with many of our young chefs, Eugene’s love for food and cooking started at an early age. He used to watch his mother and grandmother cooking and he was always in the kitchen helping with daily food preparation as well as cooking the meal of the day. School holidays were happily spent experimenting with dishes and recipes. “I like to cook simple well flavoured dishes,” he says. “I am particularly drawn to Italian cuisine.” The Beverly Hills is thrilled with their winning candidate chef and describes him as being particularly cheerful and easy going!

Eugene hopes to travel and learn about different food cultures. His ultimate ambition is to own his own intimate Bistro sometime in the future.




(From left to right) Our winner, Eugene Ramcharan, together with mentors; Executive Chef Tony Kocke, Exec Sous Samantha Richmond and Lorna Gourlay of Beverly Hills. Celebrating the fifth anniversary of the Challenge Nicky Pearsall of British Airways, Comair is flying Tony for a fabulous weekend with his partner to The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa! 



Chefs unite - Jurie Swart (Grootbos) with Jean-Pierre La Motte (NH The Lord Charles)

Best Chef 1st Runner Up: Gizelle Els from
“NH The Lord Charles”


Gizelle Els began her culinary traineeship in 2013 at NH The Lord Charles Hotel. She began in the Main Kitchen specifically working on preparation of the breakfast buffet and food for Conference and Banqueting functions was prepared. According to Gizelle, she received a good culinary base in the “hot kitchen”. She then spent time in the Pastry Kitchen before setting her sights on the hotel’s a la carte restaurant, La Vigna. “I am a perfectionist and have a keen eye for detail,” says Gizelle. “ I enjoy the challenge of plating the perfect plate every time. To me cooking is an art; every plate in the kitchen is the chefs’ master piece.” She was selected as the Culinary Candidate for the Cape Legends Inter Hotel Challenge last year and was placed 2nd Best Chef – something she calls her greatest achievement to date. She continues to work hard towards completing her traineeship, specialising in pastry, and fulfilling her dream of becoming a Master Pastry Chef.


 Best Chef 2nd Runner Up: Samkelo Hlophe
from “One&Only, Cape Town”


Samkelo Hlophe was born and raised in Durban where his culinary journey began. He graduated from Capsicum culinary studio in Durban in November 2016. He also studied Social science at the University of KZN. He did his in-house training (practical cookery) at several of Durban’s top restaurants before taking the big move to Cape Town, where he feels that the culinary world is always evolving and highly competitive. His first job as a qualified chef was as Commis Chef at the One&Only, Cape Town. He is enthusiastic when it comes to African influenced cuisine, but his cooking style is very much influenced by modern Asian fusion. “Being chosen to represent the One&Only to partake in the Showcook competition is a dream come true,” he says.




Best Starter: Nicholas Freitas from
“The Palazzo”


Nicholas de Angelo Ribeiro Freitas knew he wanted to be a chef from an early age. He always had an interest in food and from when he first started cooking meals for his family, his career was clear. He studied at Capsicum Culinary Studio and graduated with a Diploma in Food Preparation and Cooking. After completing his apprenticeship he worked at DW Eleven - 13 and the Reef Hotel before joining The Palazzo Montecasino. Since then he has focused on learning and experiencing what Nicholas calls “the greater cuisine”. He is particularly driven and within a year of joining The Palazzo was promoted from Commis Chef to Chef de Partie. His big ambition is to become an Executive Chef within the next 5 years. Nicholas (a dedicated Blue Bulls man) is the dedicated chef for the Springbok Rugby Team when they visit The Palazzo. He’s always trying to come up with new ideas by deconstructing recipes and then reinventing them with the products presenting the freshness and most intense flavors.



Best Main Course: Marcas Hendry from “Belmond Mount Nelson” 


Marcas Hendry is of Scottish and Irish decent. He is only just starting his career in the culinary industry at the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel. He grew up traveling South East Asia with his mother and it was there that he fell in love with food and the emotions it evokes and inspires. He says “Every time I cook, I seek to recreate the sensory enlightenment once experienced as a child with no love for anything other than pasta and Heinz tomato sauce. I hope one day to be able to open the minds of others to the awe-inspiring nature of good food in my own way.”



Lancewood Best Dessert: Andile Ndlovu from
“Hartford House” and awarded the
‘Scanpan Excellent Kitchen Practice’ 


Andile began his career as a waiter in the hospitality industry at Fairmont Zimbali, but it was the food side that really attracted him. Eventually he joined the cold kitchen as a commis chef and later moved to the hot station where he learned about Indian cuisine. “must say that cooking is my great love,” he said. “I think this is because it makes people feel really good. Today, I am very proud of what I have achieved so far.” His big ambition is to one day find himself in charge of his own “brigade”! 



(From left to right) Litha Salimani and Attie Schultz (F&B Manager Southern Sun Waterfront) with Steve Ashley (AL&CD Ashley) who has been incredibly supportive and extremely generous with marvellous cookware from ScanPan and Global Knives, Michael Liffmann (Executive Assistant Manager, The Westin) and Debra Sivertson (GM Radisson Blu Waterfront)


Best Presentation: Litha Salimani from
“Southern Sun Waterfront”


Litha heralds from the Eastern Cape where his grandmother raised him. There was a strict rule in the Salimani household - the eldest sibling had to cook! In Litha’s case, it unleashed a passion for cooking that was to lead to his decision to study hospitality. He completed his studies at False Bay College and made it through some tough competition to take the position of trainee chef at Southern Sun Waterfront. After only 18 months, Litha was appointed as a Commis Chef and used the two years in that position to work in every section of the kitchen so that he could learn as much as possible and improve his skills. After two years, he was promoted to Chef de Partie and has never looked back!



Multi-awarded Togara Mabharani with Executive Chef Rudi Liebenberg from the Belmond Mount Nelson. Togara is currently passing on skills gained over the years working with Craig Hibbert Executive Pastry Chef.


Master baker Togara has been baking the famous Mount Nelson bread for the past six years. Together with his assistant baker Michael Pakati and in-house trainee Lerato Trapana, they produce a daunting amount of bread and pastries for the hotel for in-house guests for breakfast, lunch and supper, as well as the numerous daily banqueting functions and events. This is the fourth time Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel has won the “Best Bread” category. The secret of their success? According to Executive Chef Rudi Liebenberg there is no secret. Just a slow, dedicated bread making process without touching any chemicals. “And”, he adds, “Togara’s magic and good humour.” Togara is not afraid of experimenting and comes up with many different and creative new bread product. His love of baking goes home with him and he loves to share his talent with the neighbourhood of his township home in Gugulethu.



(Left to right) Tirsa Fourie of Bio-Wheat, Togara Mabharani (Belmond Mount Nelson), Brian Baumann (One&Only Cape Town), Lorraine Meaney (Head Pastry Chef Cape Grace), Chris Mare (Executive Chef Reubens, One&Only Cape Town), Cecelia Adams (Cape Grace), Kyle Hickmann (Head Pastry Chef One&Only Cape Town) with Heinie Fourie of Bio-Wheat.  


Best Bread Baker: Togara Mabharani from
“Belmond Mount Nelson”
1st Runner Up: Cecelia Adams from
“Cape Grace”
2nd Runner Up: Brian Baumann from
“One&Only, Cape Town”


BEST BREAD BAKER 1st RUNNER UP: Cecelia Adams from “Cape Grace” After falling in love with food during her Consumer Studies class in Grade 10, Cecelia knew she wanted to become a Chef. After school, she followed her dream. She obtained a National Diploma in Cookery from Northlink College, simultaneously completing six months of training at the Mount Nelson Hotel, where she specialised in pastry. After completing her studies, Cecelia worked at Asara Wine Estate as a pastry chef before joining the Cape Grace five years ago. Cecelia is a fan of hearty home-made cuisine. “My favourite dish and go-to comfort food is Breyani,” she says. “And my favourite sweet treat has got to be Pasteis de Nata.” This talented pastry aficionado is also a hard-working mom! She continues to study, having completed a chocolate training course at Lindt. She has set her sights on running her own business one day, preferably a boutique chocolate shop of her own.

BEST BREAD BAKER 2nd RUNNER UP: Brian Baumann from “One&Only Cape Town” Family man Brian Baumann was born and raised in Cape Town in the northern suburb of Bellville. Growing up under the feet of his mother and grandmother, who both spent a significant amount of time in the kitchen cooking up hearty feasts for the family, Brian was designated to onion chopping duty as soon as he was old enough to handle a kitchen knife. And that’s when it all began! Brian realised early on in life that he could, in fact, stand the heat in the kitchen and went on to study at the Cape Town Hotel School. During this time, he worked in hot kitchens in various Cape Town and Winelands restaurants and hotels. After completing his studies, he did a short stint at a Latino restaurant, a wine estate and helped with a restaurant opening in Franschhoek. In 2015 he joined One&Only Cape Town. With only hot kitchen experience, Brian decided to try his hand in the pastry kitchen as he wanted to learn more about baking and wanted to take his career in a different direction. Until then, Brian hadn’t realised that baking was his hidden talent. The rest, as they say, is history.



Showcook ‘Man of the Match’: 
Shaun Munro from
"Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani"


This award lies in the hands of Showcook duo Annette Kesler and Chania Morritt-Smith. They chose Shaun for their 2017 ‘The Man of the Match’ award as they felt he went the extra mile in every possible way. Throughout the competition, he pushed the boundaries and raised the bar. What particularly caught their attention was the way he played a strong mentoring role and was a source of inspiration to all his peers.




Best Team: “The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa"
tied with "NH The Lord Charles”



(From left to right) Hilary Prendini Toffoli with table decor judges; Jay Smith (Jay Smith Collection), John Jackson (Hospitality Consultant), Annette Kesler (Editor Showcook) and Debbie Hall (The Hall Collection)


Partners of Showcook, Annette Kesler and Chania Morritt-Smith, the high-energy organisers and founders of the Inter Hotel Challenge initiative, believe the most important achievement of the annual event is that the hotels encourage and mentor young talent in an industry that plays a crucial role in the South Africa’s tourist industry. 


“The hotel industry is the heartbeat of tourism,” says Annette Kesler. “It is essential that we maintain the high standards of our hospitality industry but we also have to make sure those same high standards are maintained going into the future.” 





Joanne Selby (GM Sun International The Table Bay Hotel) 


Hotel Awards: The Best Table Decoration won by
“Sun International Table Bay” Cape Town, 
was for their sensational representation reflecting
the ethos of the rich floral kingdom of South Africa. 



Charlene Haripersad (HR & Training Administrator, Protea Hotel by Marriott Durban Edward) 


The Most Glamorous Table was
“Protea Hotel by Marriott Durban Edward &
Protea Hotel by Marriott Umhlanga Ridge" 




The Table We Would Wish To Dine At,
“One&Only, Cape Town”



In the Wine Steward Category




(Left to right) Nicholas Holdcroft (Van Ryn’s, Distell) with Michelle Swart, Wilhelm de Fries (Winemaker Allesverloren), Jean-Pierre La Motte (Executive Chef), Lize-Marié Gradwell (Regional Business Manager, Asia Pacific, Distell), Michelle Swart, Gizelle Els, Adrienne Fromage, Angela Hoolaus and Daniel Méndez (Hotel Director) NH The Lord Charles 

Best Wine Steward 2017: Michelle Swart from
“NH The Lord Charles” who teamed with
Allesverloren & Van Ryn’s


Michelle has pursued her passion of becoming a world-class wine steward as far back as her Orientation Year for Hotel Management Traineeship back in 2014. She believes she was privileged to be exposed to the NH Lord Charles monthly Wine & Dine evenings as the experience broadened her wine knowledge. “I am always intrigued by the menus the chefs create around a wine estates wine selection,” she says. “Working at these events are a highlight for us in the restaurant every month.” Michelle recently completed the Cape Wine Academy South African Wine Course. She has set her next goals as working locally and abroad in order to achieve her ultimate goal of being a World Class Food & Beverage Manager.


The 2017 winning Candidate Wine Steward will look forward to a brilliant travel experience with Distell including London, a two day stay at the superb The Montague on the Gardens – Red Carnation working closely with the 67 Pall Mall sommelier team - the most exclusive wine club in the heart of St James then travel to Scotland with visits to top distilleries; Deanston and Bunnahabhain. On the itinerary - France, Bisquit in stunning Cognac and an introduction to a world of wines in Bordeaux at La Cité du Vin!


The winners will be awarded with a top bursaries from the Cape Wine Academy and the South African Sommeliers Association and will have 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.



(Left to right) Michelle Grimbeek (Director of the Cape Wine Academy) who has donated significant and meaningful bursaries each year. Alvezo Abrahams (Cape Grace) who was awarded with 2nd Place in the "Best Wine Steward’ category.  Judges, Higgo Jacobs (Chairman of the South African Sommeliers Association) and Sandy Harper (Cape Wine Master and International Wine Judge) 


Best Wine Steward 1st Runner Up: Alvezo Abrahams
from “Cape Grace” who worked with
Fleur du Cap and Bisquit Dubouché et Cie


Alvezo Abrahams was born in Robertson, Western Cape, and hails from a family who have worked in wine and hospitality industries. His Grandparents worked for the De Wet family on the internationally known De WetsHof Wine Estate in Robertson, which is what gave him his first taste of the wine and hospitality industry. He fondly remembers running around the cellar as a child, marvelling at the intriguing sights and smells. He joined Cape Grace 6 years ago in the In-Room Dining Department. He moved up to work in the Signal Restaurant, which is where he found his calling. His knowledge of cuisine has pushed him to further his wine acumen and hopefully move him towards his goal of Wine Steward and eventually Sommelier. “I love how the hospitality industry exposes one to new faces, new languages and simultaneously, new cultures,” he says. “No day in the industry is the same, which is what makes it such a rewarding career path.



Best Wine Steward 2nd Runner Up:
Melikhaya ‘Grant’ Sondezi 
“One&Only, Cape Town’ who teamed with
Durbanville Hills & Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky


Melikhaya ‘Grant’ Sondezi from “One&Only, Cape Town’ Grant started with One&Only in 2015, in the housekeeping department, as a houseman. After only two months, he was promoted to the Florist department but was still not satisfied. He was then accepted as a runner at Nobu before officially joining the Nobu team in March 2015. Last year Grant finished in the top 5 in the Inter Hotel Challenge. He feels his knowledge and confidence has grown since then. According to his colleagues, he is extremely passionate about his craft. His thirst for knowledge, relentless energy and constant pursuit of perfection has landed him a coveted role as a member of the hotel’s Sommelier team.



(Left to right) Michelle Grimbeek (Director CWA), Sive Godena awarded with ‘Most Promising Chef of 2017′, Sandy Harper (CWM & International Wine Judge), Nkululeko Khohlokoane ‘Most Promising Wine Steward  2017′, Julie-May Ellingson (CEO, Cape Town International Convention Centre), Higgo Jacobs (Chairman SA Sommeliers Association), Roberto de Carvalho (Executive Chef, CTICC) and (back) Nicholas Holdcroft of Van Ryn’s, Distell


Cheers to the winning duo 
‘Most Promising Candidates of 2017’ 
Sive Godena and Nkululeko Khohlokoane  
“Cape Town International Convention Centre”
teamed with Pongrácz and Monis.   


MOST PROMISING’ WINE STEWARD: Nkululeko Khohlokoane from the “Cape Town International Convention Centre” representing Pongracz and Monis. Nkululeko Khohlokoane was born and raised in the smalling wine farming town of Rawsonville along the Breede River Valley. He attended primary and high school in the town of Worcester famous for its brandy and wine production. After matriculating in 2009, he saw a newspaper article inviting unemployed youth to take up an internship opportunity. He grabbed the opportunity with both hands and through the course trained in different restaurants and bars. He completed the course after which he moved to Cape Town. Another newspaper advert propelled to apply as a wine stewards/sommeliers trainee. It took him one year to complete the intense level one sommelier course during which he also took on internship experience in different outlets. He was employed at the CTICC as a Beverage Supervisor last year and was recently appointed as fulltime Wine Steward. He is currently studying his WSET Level 2 Award in Wine and Spirits and already has plans to do level 3.


MOST PROMISING CHEF 2017: Sive Godena from “Cape Town International Convention Centre”.

Sive Godana is Cape Town born but spent many childhood years in the Eastern Cape. Sive faced quite a few personal difficulties during this time and landed up dropping out of matric. He returned to Cape Town, and take on household responsibilities, which is where the cooking started! Apparently Sive had a huge talent in the kitchen! The compliments for his cooking and presentation took him on a new path. He successfully undertook a 6-month course at Falsebay Campus in Khayelitsha before doing his practical work at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. He landed up staying with the CTICC having successfully securing a position as Food Service Assistant. Not long after that he was promoted to a Commis chef. It’s an astonishing story of perseverance. His hard work has paid off and he can now support his family and his child - doing this job that he loves so much.

His biggest dream is to one day wear a chef jacket embroidered with “Sive Godana – Executive Chef”!



(From left to right) Peter Robertson (Complex Executive Chef, The Palace of the Lost City, Sun City), Marie Manyoha and Herman Brits (GM Hospitality, Sun City Resort)  

 ‘Most Up & Coming’ Wine Steward Marie Manyoha
The Palace of the Lost City

Marie Manyoha from “The Palace of the Lost City’ representing Fleur du Cap and Black Bottle. Marie Manyoha grew up in Louis Trichardt, She comes from a humble background and completed her schooling at The Capital Hotel School & Training Academy in Pretoria. It was here that she first cultivated an interest in wine as well as the food and beverage industry. In 2014, she joined Sun International as Restaurant Manager for Crystal Court at The Palace and has since risen through the ranks to the position of Restaurant Manager at The Palace’s fine dining restaurant, Plume. She has grabbed every opportunity to develop her expertise and skills in the wine field and has completed several courses including Wine and Spirit Education Trust Wine Courses for which she is currently awaiting results of her level three course.


(Left to right) Mrs & Mrs Hashim Imtiaaz, Nicholas Holdcroft and Christelle Langenegger of Distell


Wonderful, practical and fabulous prizes were awarded by Distell. Superb iconic kitchen appliances from Dr Susanne Reuther of KitchenAid Africa, ScanPan Cookware and Global Knives from AL&CD Ashley. Meaningful bursaries from the Hospitality Property Fund and the International Hotel School. Cash prizes from Avanti. Work experience with Germain Lehodey, a week at noted and internationally recognized Restaurant Mosaic at the Orient known for their superlative cuisine and wine cellar. Special guest of Sandy Harper at the Old Mutual Executive Wine Club for a wine tasting on 11th October and an extravaganza Champagne tasting on 17th November. In addition, there are delectable prizes from Lancewood, Von Geusau Chocolates, elegant Riedel glassware and books for life from Random House Struik.


Candidate Chef Mpotseng Modise (Sun International, The Maslow), Candidate Chef Thato Khumalo (The Palace), Robin Brophy (Executive Sous Chef The Palace of the Lost City at Sun City) and Andessa Reddy were thrilled with Marie Manyoha’s win. Marie who was teamed with Fleur du Cap and Black Bottle was awarded ‘The Wonga Prize’ - a meaningful bursary from the Cape Wine Academy and the opportunity to be mentored by top Sommelier and Judge, Germain Lehodey, for a brilliant week at Restaurant Mosaic at the Orient. 


Apart from receiving sought after prizes, the winning candidates use this spotlight to springboard into the industry. Most candidates go on to take on jobs that fast-track them into key positions in hotels, safari lodges, restaurants and other parts of South Africa’s hospitality industry. Some go on to successful careers internationally, becoming ambassadors for our hospitality industry. The hotels regard the Challenge as a platform for their own skills upliftment programmes. The culminating gala evening is an opportunity to offer tangible recognition and public acknowledge of their own candidates. Many use the programme to ultimately promote from within.



(From left to right) Samkelo Hlope (One&Only Cape Town) with Judge Craig Cormack and Sive Godena (CTICC). Tinashe Chirikure (Belmond Mount Nelson), the lovely Fortunate Shambamuto (Grootbos Private Nature Reserve) and Nkululeko Khohlokoane (CTICC)  



(From left to right) Michelle Grimbeek (Director Cape Wine Academy) with The InterContentintal O.R. Tambo JHB Hotel team; Themba Mpofu, Mamello Fokane, Executive Chef Yoshan Naidu, Tshepang Tiisetso and Zanele Dube. (Right) Jacques de Villiers (Candidate Wine Steward, Radisson Blu Waterfront) 



(From left to right) Executive Chefs lead mentoring, Henrico Grobbelaar (Cape Town Marriott Crystal Towers), Norman Heath (Radisson Blu Waterfront) and Christo Pretorius (The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa). Sean Ingles (GM Grootbos Private Nature Reserve), Jurie Swart (Exec Sous Chef Grootbos), Mandy Swart (Lodge Manager), Kathryn Rae (Assistant Sommelier) and Eben Bezuidenhoud (Consultant, Sommelier)  



(From left to right) Mncedisi Dlamini, John Moatshe (Executive Chef, Durban ICC) with Candidate Wine Steward Beryl Dlamini and Candidate Chef Thokozile Nsibande. Chania Morritt-Smith (Managing Editor Showcook) with Malika van Reenen (Executive Chef Cape Grace) 


“The Distell Inter Hotel Challenge is an initiative that has far-reaching social responsibility objectives,” says Chania Morritt-Smith. Showcook acknowledges with much gratitude the judges and hotels for their generosity throughout this valued journey.




(From left to right) Estelle Lourens (Winemaker, Uitkyk), Rudi Liebenberg (Executive Chef Belmond Mount Nelson). Brenda Wilkinson (Rio Largo Olive Estate), Lorna Gourlay (Marketing and Comunications Consultant, Beverly Hills), Sandi Richmond (Executive Sous Chef), Megan Angus (Woodview Wagyu & Angus Beef), Nicky Pearsall (Comair, British Airways), Winner Eugene Ramcharan and Jody Fabre. 


This event is unique where those hotels participating have become a unified force ensuring a strong and viable hospitality industry, encouraging excellence, meeting the demands of this vigorously growing sector, in tourism, which has become a major player in job creation in South Africa. 



(Left to right) Sanjay Sood (GM Taj Cape Town), Willem du Toit (Director of Rooms, Taj Cape Town) and  AJ Snetler, top mixologist at the Twankey Bar (Taj Cape Town) Darron Marcus (Southern Sun The Cullinan), Marlvin Gwese (Sommelier, Cape Grace)




Ms Tokozile Xasa, Minister of Tourism who has given her continuous and unstinting support states, ‘While I can’t be with you tonight, I would like you all to know that our department will work hand in hand to grow this dynamic sector. I wish to pledge my support for your role in better positioning South Africa for economic growth, skills development as well as job creation, investment potential and ultimately to make South Africa a destination of excellent choices. The Inter Hotel Challenge is an epic programme that has grown in magnitude with the deeper objective to ensure a future generation of chefs and sommeliers - a showcase for young talent and the place and the event where hotels proudly present an ultimately elevate the cream of their new talent.  May this valuable initiative grow from strength to strength.’



For the StreetSmart Raffle - from diamonds to rugby and then living the high life at Marriott’s Crystal Towers! The Diamond Works Institute donated the most desirable 18K white and yellow gold 0.25 carat diamond ring valued at R53 290 - a fabulous win presented by Aimee Lentz - thank you!

Debbie Hall (The Hall Collection) presented a set of the finest woven linen by Quagliotti, makers to Paris’s gorgeous Hermès all in aid to raise funds for StreetSmart SA Hats off to the incredible work they do.


Thank you to all who donated superb prizes, The Diamond Works Institute, Tsogo Sun, KitchenAid, Cape Town Marriott Crystal Towers, Belmond Mount Nelson, Cape Grace, Sun International The Table Bay, Radisson Blu Waterfront, Debbie Hall Collection, The Jay Smith Collection, The Vineyard, Reciprocal Wine Trading, The Westin and the last word in exquisite, Von Geusau Chocolates! 







Overall sponsor: Distell 

Suppliers of superb local ingredients throughout the competition; Woodview Wagyu & Angus Beef, Lancewood Cheese, La Vie de Luc, Rio Largo Olive Oil, Bio-Wheat Flour, Khoisan Sea Salt and Avanti.


Providers of the competition’s major prize line-up; Distell, JW Marriott Marquis, Ritz-Carlton Marriott Dubai, ComairBritish Airways, KitchenAid Africa, Hospitality Property Fund, International Hotel School, AL&CD Ashley, Avanti CoffeeVon Geusau and Penguin Random House.


The level and quality of judging is an essential part of the process. There is a great deal riding on the coveted top awards. Throughouth the journey, the judges have generously given their time and wisdom, playing an active role in the mentoring process. Headed by Heinz Brunner (Honorary 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), Craig Cormack (Innovative Celebrity Chef), Megan Angus (Woodview Wagyu & Angus Beef), Higgo Jacobs (Chairman of the South African Sommeliers Association), Sandy Harper (CWM & International Wine Judge) and Germain Lehodey (CWM Sommelier at Mosaic).


Gauteng: De Hoek Country Hotel * InterContinental JHB O.R. Tambo * The Palazzo Montecasino * Protea Hotel by Marriott Balalaika * Sun International The Maslow * Sun International The Palace of the Lost City


KwaZulu-Natal: Beverly Hills * Durban International Convention Centre * Hartford House * Protea Hotel by Marriott Durban Edward * Protea Hotel by Marriott Durban Umhlanga Ridge * Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani


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


WINES & SPIRITS : Distell Fine WinesAllesverloren * Alto * Durbanville Hills * Fleur du Cap * Jacobsdal * Nederburg * Plaisir de Merle * Pongrácz * Uitkyk * Zonnebloem

Distell Artisan SpiritsBain’s Cape Mountain Whisky * Black Bottle * Bisquit Dubouché et Cie * Bunnahabhain * Monis * Scottish Leader * Van Ryn’s


Showcook acknowledges with much gratitude the judges and hotels for their generosity throughout this valued journey. There have been some very special people who have been involved in this initiative, Ashleigh Christie of the Hospitality Property Fund, has been invaluable and an absolute treasure! Rupert Jeffries and Mike Waller of Dragonfly Africa and to Linsey and Wayne Lotter of Globe Lotter who provide their swift transfers on time, every time! To the ever efficient and smooth running teams from Capsicum Culinary Studio and International Hotel School who host our Cook-Offs in Gauteng, Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal respectively for which we are enormously grateful. And last but not least, a very special thank you to Wendy Coetzee and Berniece Friedmann for their valuable assistance. 


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