2022 sees a splendid new home for The Reaching for Young Stars at one of the most celebrated hotels worldwide, the Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, Cape Town, hosted by General Manager Tiago Sarmento. 

The Young Stars initiative is 14 years old and each year has seen this unique competition gaining more momentum as it lines up some of the Western Cape top hospitality industry youngsters and launches them into their careers.

“We are enormously proud of the achievements of our candidates over time and how The Reaching for Young Stars was their starting point,” says the duo behind the initiative, Annette Kesler and Chania Morritt-Smith of 

Mentorship is what lies at the heart of the Showcook initiative. Although Young Stars is a combination of learning and competition, the nuances of the programme expose competing candidates from the various culinary academies to the cream of the hospitality industry. The candidates are introduced to opportunities, a heady and intense environment where top chefs, sommeliers, baristas and bakers offer their extensive knowledge inspiring young professionals destined to become the next generation of chefs, wine stewards, pastry chefs, bakers and baristas.

It has never been more critical than now, to find ways that will recognise the present and future role of youth in the social and economic landscape of the country. Every partner, mentor and supporter shares the need to find ways of promoting healthy young lives by fostering entrepreneurship and innovation.

The Skills Exchange Development Programme sees the launch of the competition on 22nd March 2022, where  ideas and strategies for a winning entry are shared. The Cook-Offs are on 4th June, annually hosted by the International Hotel School with the glittering Awards on 15th June, the day before Youth Day at Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, Cape Town. In addition, the programme is designed to raise awareness of local and global partnerships. Students are introduced to some of South Africa’s finest companies, long-standing participants and supporters. They meet local farmers who follow sustainable practices, engage with guest speakers who share valuable insights into the hospitality industry and meet the dynamic people behind international brands such as Belmond and Sanpellegrino. As a result, the candidates have found themselves being presented with career-making opportunities.

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