The Distell Inter Hotel Challenge Orientations are held around South Africa each year for our candidates, but overall what is most important is we hold these for a purpose and a very important one: to provide an inspired vision from guest speakers who have had huge experience in their fields and therefore can offer the distilled wisdom of many years on a number of completely diverse topics. This year we were particularly thrilled with the line-up of guest speakers in each province who had so much to share. At the same time we introduced our partners who make it possible for us to continue this initiative; Distell Group with their amazing vision, South African Pork, Lancewood Cheese, Rio Largo Olive Estate, DENNY, Bio-Wheat Flour, Khoisan Natural Sea Salt and Avanti Coffee SA.

The stunning Taj Cape Town was the home for the 2019 Cape Orientation for the 17 participating hotels, the perfect setting for a day of introduction and learning.

A few words hardly describe the expertise of Marieta Human, a superb cook, nutritionist and so much more representing South African Pork. Marieta has a wealth of experience working in the areas of Consumer Science, Nutritional Advice and Food Marketing. She has won numerous Industry Awards in the fields of Advertising, Marketing and Communication, one of them the sought after Pork Industry Gold Medal for the most outstanding contribution to the growth and wellbeing of the Pork Industry.  In the most recent years of her career, she has developed a special interest in the innovation and product development of preservative- and additive-free food products and recipe development. She shares with us some of her insights into the keys to success in this competition, with a few nice hints based on her experience as a judge in the previous years’ Distell Inter Hotel Challenge. 

SA Pork – Stringent certification and auditing processes, including certification by International Standards Certificate (ICS) Global, has seen South African Pork of an excellent standard coming to the market. The Pork360 programme has set high standards for pork farms abattoirs and deboning and processing of pork meat. SA Pork serves the South African pork producer by co-operating within the organised agricultural fraternity and by liaising with various sectoral organisation’s role-players within the supply chain of the meat industry, the government and international interest groups. The industry focuses on biosecurity and food safety that includes traceability and eating quality.

Executive Chef Christo Pretorius (The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa) and Executive Chef Rudi Liebenberg (Belmond Mount Nelson)
both such caring mentors.
Charismatic Sommelier Jean Vincent Ridon of the Sommeliers Academy spoke at the Orientation to the Cape Wine Steward Candidates on service and more…
Mentors Unite! (Left to right) F&B Manager Andrew Makau (SunSquare Cape Town City Bowl), Executive Chef Lindsay Venn (Southern Sun The Cullinan), Executive Chef Juan Neethling (Southern Sun Waterfront), Executive Chef Marlene Makinson (SunSquare Cape Town City Bowl) and Georgio Meletiou (Regional Sommelier Tsogo Sun) Tsogo Sun

TAJ CAPE TOWN Concierge Charné Davids with Candidate Wine Steward Malitha Kupani 

 Concierge Candidate: Charné Davids TAJ Cape Town

“I have been very fortunate to be working in the Tourism industry for eight years, I enjoy working with people. 

Working in hospitality and tourism is my passion. It’s like having the world come to me meeting the people from all walks of life. 

I see myself as an ambassador for Cape Town, sharing valuable information with the guest to ensure they leave with great experiences. 

In my current role, I am part of the Concierge Service at the Taj Hotel Cape Town. I take our guests on a 2-hour guided leisurely walk to historic sites including St George’s Cathedral, the Slave Precinct, the Grand Parade, St George’s Mall, Company Gardens and Parliament. 

I enjoy working at the Concierge Desk where I can engage and interact with our many international and local guests. I am very excited to be part of the Distell Inter Hotel Challenge and I am looking forward to this journey.”

Candidate Wine Steward Malitha Kupani TAJ Cape Town

“I’m from the Eastern Cape, says Malitha, “where I matriculated at Bhongolethu High School in 2012.

In 2013 I moved to Cape Town to work at the Ambassador Hotel in Bantry Bay.  It is where I got the training to be a service ambassador and my passion for the hospitality industry was formed. 

In 2016 I took the opportunity to join the luxury 5 Star TAJ Cape Town hotel. My first role was as a breakfast server and then soon after I started also to work as a dinner server. This is where I learnt about wines and beverages. I am fascinated by all the various wine varietals, whisky and gin, especially the local South African crafted gin.

I am very excited to be part of the Distell Inter Hotel Challenge and I am looking forward to this journey.” 

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