It has been a year of turmoil for everyone, but no business has felt it deeper than the hospitality industry. While strength and determination has underpinned many of the survival stories behind the last 18 months, it is essential that we prepare for a time of recovery and regrowth, starting with supporting the young and upcoming chefs, wine stewards, pastry chefs, bakers and baristas of the next generation.
The One&Only Reaching for Young Stars programme is more than a competition, providing as it does a platform for students of the culinary academies to learn from leaders of the industry, including professionals, teachers, farmers and product suppliers. The process of knowledge sharing culminates in a tough cook-off before a line-up of top judges from the industry, giving the stars of tomorrow’s hospitality industry a taste of what lies ahead for them. The experience – and the recognition – offers a first push up the ladder for their future success in South Africa’ and outside our borders.
Seven of the Western Cape’s culinary and hospitality academies will be participating in the 11th annual One&Only Reaching for Young Stars programme. Each participating academy has selected a team of talented youths to compete. The line-up represents some of the leading lights of the culinary educational world including Capsicum Culinary Studio, Chefs Training and Innovation Academy (CTIA), Eziko Cooking and Catering Training Centre (Langa), IHT Hotel School, International Hotel School, The Cape Town Hotel School (Part of the Faculty of Business Management Sciences of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology) and The Hurst Campus.
This prestigious event is hosted annually by One&Only Cape Town, home to the Launch Workshop, 26th May and the Awards Dinner, 27th July. GM Anne Scott has thrown her weight behind the endeavour, believing that learning and upskilling opportunities such as this, form an integral part of the students’ growth path.
“One&Only Cape Town is thrilled to be part of this fantastic initiative. The development and upskilling of students and colleagues alike is essential, and such an integral part of our industry. We are therefore pleased to have the opportunity to work with Reaching for Young Stars. We look forward to following them all on their career paths and seeing them reach their full potential in the future. May this mark the start of an exciting and fulfilling journey for them all,” says GM Anne Scott.
Apart from the experience of competing in such an event, the stakes are big, with the top winners being catapulted into international mentoring and learning experiences overseas. One&Only The Palm and One&Only Royal Mirage is set to host the 2020 winner Denzil Pedro (The IIE School of Hospitality & Service Management) for a three-week internship. In 2019, One&Only Le Saint Géran hosted Oigen Kaptein (The IIE School of Hospitality & Service Management).
The duo behind the initiative, Annette Kesler and Chania Morritt-Smith of Showcook.com, believe that South Africa can never afford to take the spotlight off mentorship, learning and skills sharing if we are to continue as one of the leading hospitality industries of international tourism.
“It is never easy for young people to find a career path,” says Annette Kesler.“At the workshop, we aim to broaden minds, give the tools to fuel ambition and the ability to reach out with more confidence. We offer a space where they meet South Africa’s top entrepreneurs in their field – those who have made a dream into a reality.’’
“If we are to continue as one of the leading hospitality industries of international tourism, we cannot afford to take the spotlight off these things,” Morritt-Smith added.
This year we were able to reintroduce the Beverage Students and whether it be wine, spirits, mineral waters or coffee there are special categories for them all.
“We are happy to say that the Western Cape’s splendid wine estates have remained a premier attraction for visitors over the years, and that their winemakers will be encouraging and guiding our youthful students through their first real overview of making wine at a top-level”, adds Annette Kesler.
The teams will partner with various wine estates; Anthonij Rupert Wyne with Capsicum Culinary Studio, Ernie Els Wines with The Hurst Campus, Kleine Zalze with Chefs Training and Innovation Academy (CTIA), Krone with International Hotel School, Lanzerac Wines with IHT Hotel School, Neethlingshof with The Cape Town Hotel School (Part of the Faculty of Business Management Sciences of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology) and Simonsig with Eziko Cooking and Catering Training Centre (Langa), and look forward to meeting their winemakers, seeing how the process of wine is made, and taste and select wines that ideally would inspire their three-course menu. i.e a pasta starter, vegetarian mushroom main and a lemon dessert – a lighter, healthier approach. The winemaker is invited back to the school campus becoming more involved with the process, forming part of the team resulting in a closer partnership.
The line-up of leading names in the industry start with the Launch Workshop and continue through the process of on-site knowledge sharing, cook-offs and judging, culminating in a gala awards ceremony.