Our South African olive oil ambassador at large. Brenda Wilkinson of Rio Largo Olive Estate shares the virtues of extra virgin olive oil, which, unlike wine, should be enjoyed as fresh as possible!

On opening the oil container, the aroma must be fresh and fruity and the taste should have sensations of bitterness (mouth) and pungency (throat) with varying degrees depending on variety and blend described as delicate, medium and intense.

Taste sensations can vary from green and ripe tomato, almonds (nutty), artichokes, bananas different herbs – it should have a pleasant satisfying taste when dipped in fresh bread.

Know the producer and origin of the oil – estate produced with a credible history and profile with benchmark quality parameters from international and local competition awards.

“When buying olive oil,” Brenda explains, “check for the harvest date and SA Olive Commitment to Compliance sticker as well as best before date giving you an assurance that the oil is indeed an extra virgin and latest year of harvest.

Use on salads, in soups with fresh bread and toast, frying, on ice cream, or simply add extra flavour when serving casseroles and curries – liberally add upon serving!
Try it – you will love it!”

Heinie Fourie says “We pride ourselves in producing a natural and healthy product from the premium quality wheat the Overberg has to offer.”

Tirsa & Heinie Fourie of Bio-Wheat

We believe strongly in farming for the future by caring for the soil today. We understand that in the process of cultivating our crops we need to consider people first. Their health and well-being is our focus.”

BIO-WHEAT™ is stone ground; a process in which the wheat is ground slowly between the stones without exposing it to excessive heat, thereby retaining the nutritional vitamins, enzymes, wheat germ and fibre. In essence, stone ground promises nothing added or removed. It’s all about traceability; from our fields to your plate.

“This 5th generation family business has become our way of life. Leaving a legacy is what this product is all about.”

Quality of the bread depends on the quality of the flour and in this case Bio-Wheat Stone Ground Unbleached Natural Flour is the king! When using Heinie Fourie’s Wholegrain it is essential to add a really good olive oil. 

Candidate Baker Ferdinand October, Wine Steward Tara Yon and Candidate Chef Clinton Haas
, NH The Lord Charles

Candidate Baker: Ferdinand October NH The Lord Charles

“I started Baking in 2000 working at a local Pick ‘n Pay. I was employed to clean the bakery each day and due to my curiosity, my supervisor promoted me to the baking tables. 

What fascinated me most was how certain ingredients reacted to others and how easy it is to make mistakes. This is where I realized that precision is a big part of my job. I worked on the dough tables for 5 years when I got the opportunity to move to confectionery where I realized how much there still is to learn and grow in the pastry department. I started feeling as if there is more to learn than what Pick n Pay had to offer me. 

I enrolled in Capsicum Culinary Studio doing a patisserie course. During my course, I fulfilled my practical hours at NH The Lord Charles Hotel. I fell in love with the dynamic, people and the passion they have for Pastry Arts. Chef Henrico gave me the opportunity to take on a current position after my course and shortly after I met my mentor Oscar Baard Head Pastry Chef. 

His mind is completely set on pastry and how to do new and exciting things in our department. He pushes me to do better and try new things and is my motivation on a daily basis. 

Chef Henrico has done so much for me and helped me grow even bringing in a Jac Kolver to teach me how to keep live yeast alive and how to bake with it taking my knowledge of baking bread to an entirely new level. My goal for this competition is to challenge myself in taking the amazing ingredients that I have been given from Bio Wheat and showcasing the amazing quality and my love for baking. I am extremely excited and thankful for this opportunity and think this is an amazing experience to give to anyone with a passion for baking.”

As long as you know how to bake, life is sure to be sweet.  

Candidate Wine Steward: Tara Yon NH The Lord Charles

I am from Gordons-Bay and an employee of NH The Lord Charles Hotel. I am devoted to self-growth and thus believe that this competition will be a huge benefit for me expanding my capabilities in the Food and Beverage industry by broadening my knowledge of wines and pairings. I believe that this competition will help me further expand my knowledge and skills within the industry. I feel that this is a stepping-stone that will allow me to lay the foundation to endless possibilities. I find that each opportunity and challenge I receive is preparing me for the amazing things that are yet to come. 

I live by the motto, “Don’t go through life, grow through life” as it inspires you to not allow the challenges of life to bring you down and instead to learn from those experiences to help you grow.

Candidate Chef: Clinton Haas NH The Lord Charles

My passion has and always will be making food. I grew up in Macassar and since a young age, I have had a fascination with how food is prepared and different strange ingredients my mother used in the kitchen. We did not have much growing up, therefore, I watched a lot of cooking shows to help further my knowledge and to keep me out of trouble. 

My mother is an amazing chef and taught me most of the basics I still use today. She is not only my hero but the person I want to make most proud when it comes to making a success in the field of the culinary arts. I started my culinary Journey in 2016 as an orientation trainee at the NH The Lord Charles Hotel fresh out of high school thinking I would be walking into hell’s kitchen. I soon found out that chopping onions and peeling potatoes would be my job for the first few weeks. I slowly but surely worked my way up and have been given the opportunity to work in the La Vigna where I can be part of an amazing team of chefs that have taught me so much. I get to experience our monthly wine and dine evenings, tasting Chef Henrico’s amazing and crazy flavour combinations that have opened my mind to new and exciting ideas.  

When I cook I feel as if my problems just fade away and I go into my happy place. I try to be the best at what I do as I see a great future for myself in this industry and I plan to work hard to get to be one of the best. Hard work in my eyes is what it takes to be the best. Lots of long hours and high-pressure situations is what will mould me to become a stronger person and chef in the making.

With the help of my mentor Henrico Grobbelaar I am very certain that I will have not only the support but an enormous amount of knowledge at my fingertips. I am extremely fortunate for this amazing opportunity that I have been given to participate in a prestigious competition of this calibre as I can see the doors it has opened for my fellow colleagues and I can assure you that I will put my blood sweat and tears into this competition.

Whatever you do, do with determination and pride

Asst. Chef Siyana Kozani with Candidate Chef Luqmahn
Cloete (Vineyard Hotel & Spa) and Candidate Wine Steward Tafadzwa Ndlovu (The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa)

Candidate Chef: Luqmahn Cloete The Vineyard Hotel

“For as long as I can remember,” says Luqmahn, “I wanted to be a chef. Growing up on my grandmother’s food truck, food has always been a big part of my life.

I decided to follow my heart by working in a restaurant in order to enhance my skills as a chef. A year later, I joined The Vineyard family and completed my studies.  At The Vineyard, I started as a trainee and worked my way up to a Demi Chef de Partie, this role has allowed me to learn from those around me and meet amazing people. 

Although the hospitality industry holds many challenges, I enjoy the rush and creativity that goes into it. I look forward to competing in the Inter-Hotel challenge with the aim of growing and developing, not only as an individual but as a chef.”

Candidate Wine Steward: Tafadzwa Ndlovu The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa

Tafadzwa was born in Zimbabwe on 21 April 1994. He arrived in South Africa in 2015 to finish his training in operating heavy machinery. After being convinced by a family member to go and try his hand at barista training, Tafadzwa joined the academy GroundUp, which focuses on coffee training and barista skills. After completing his theory training, Taffy was placed at The Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa to complete his practical assessment. Needless to say his work ethic and pure determination didn’t go unnoticed and landed him a position at the hotel in 2016. From there on Taffy has excelled in his duties and was promoted to Waiter in the Azure Restaurant last year.

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