The National Distell Inter Hotel Challenge Cook-Offs – A most exciting time as they head to the finishing line…

“Coming up will be the Awards – The Hotel Oscars continue…

“We congratulate all the candidates who entered the Distell Inter Hotel Challenge 2020. In the face of really formidable odds, coming to the fore, determined to prove their mettle and go forward. They have done so superbly! For many this will be a memorable achievement that they will carry with them in years to come,” says Annette Kesler Editor, Showcook. 

The candidates participated in the challenging regional “COOK-OFF & SERVICE PRESENTATION” hosted at Capsicum Culinary Studio and International Hotel School, in Gauteng, KwaZulu Natal and Cape Town where the esteemed jury, industry veterans of the Distell Inter Hotel Challenge 2020, will nominate the young individuals and teams! Winners will be unveiled virtually in early 2021 at the Awards Ceremony which will take place at TAJ Cape Town. 

The brief was tough and thorough in an effort to challenge the candidates and bring out the very best of the talent. Wine Stewards are required to showcase their creativity and understanding of spirits with brilliant cocktails; Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky, Cruz Vodka, Gordon’s London Dry Gin, Scottish Leader Whisky, Three Ships Whisky, Van Ryn’s Brandy, and Klipdrift Premium Brandy, serving S. Pellegrino, Essenza, and Acqua Panna to the judges. While the winemaker’s choice wines; Allesverloren, Durbanville Hills, Fleur du Cap, Nederburg, Plaisir de Merle, Pongrácz and Zonnebloem inspire the team’s Wine Stewards and Chefs to pair a three-course menu using only the finest of local ingredients; South African Pork, Lancewood, Denny Mushrooms, Bio-Wheat, Rio Largo Olive Oil and Khoisan Sea Salt. Baristas prepare Avanti coffee in popular guises and Concierges face the challenge of identifying and writing up 15 top experiences for guests in their regional area. 

We were fortunate to have Lancewood’s excellent quality soft white cheeses as inspiration for our Pastry Chefs to produce really exquisite desserts. Watch this space for the winner of the ultimate ‘Lancewood Best Dessert’, to be announced in early 2021!  The Distell Inter Hotel Challenge Pastry Chef of the Year will be invited to experience a three-week internship in France, at the exquisite Château de la Creuzette with hosts Louis Jansen van Vuuren and Hardy Olivier with flights courtesy of Lancewood. For our winner, this is a ravishing prize where they will continue to broaden their culinary skills at the same time they will absorb incomparable French flair. #DistellIHC2020 

The winning Pastry Chef from the Cook-Off will be awarded the magnificent prize of the CANON EOS M6 MkII 📸 and will take the CANON Camera with them to France to chart their journey at Château de la Creuzette in Boussac, France.
See more on Instagram #CanonChallenge2020


Belmond Mount Nelson, Beverly Hills, De Hoek Country Hotel, Durban International Convention Centre, Southern Sun Elangeni and Maharani, Sun Time Square, Taj Cape Town, The Lanzerac Hotel & Spa, The Liz McGrath Collection and The President Hotel


A formidable and highly experienced panel of judges were lined up to judge all categories for the competition. The regional food judges included Brian McCune, the late Dorah Sitole, Fatima Stanley, Hugh von Zahn, Jac Kolver, Kyle Hickman and Lorraine Meaney.

Kitchen Evaluation: Julietta e Silva.

Wine & spirit service presentation judges: Sandy Harper & Jean Vincent Ridon 

Regional wine and food pairing judges: Aubrey Ngcungama, Germain Lehodey, Karen Bloom, Kristina Beuthner, Mark O’Flaherty and Marlvin Gwese

Baristas: Alison Douglas, Caroline Ncube, Leah Nabakwe, Paula Visser, Robert Shazi, Tarryn van der Toorn, and Wayne Abrahams of Avanti Coffee 

Concierge Judge: Horst Frehse

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