THE WINNERS OF THE DISTELL INTER-HOTEL CHALLENGE 2020

Richard Rushton, Distell’s chief executive officer (CEO) says: “It’s an incredible honour for Distell to be the headline sponsor of the annual Inter-Hotel Challenge for the eighth year running.  Our long-standing involvement is a clear demonstration of our commitment to South Africa’s hospitality sector, and to skills development and transfer. 

“What makes the Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge such an important and progressive platform is the way it actively encourages the pooling of talent, skill and resources for greater impact, something that’s needed now more than ever before. Congratulations to the winners. We’re enormously excited by the potential of our country’s young hospitality talent and look forward to their contribution to this vitally important sector.” 

The categories of the 2020 Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge encompassed a wide field of hospitality talent including concierges, wine stewards, baristas, bakers, chefs, pastry chefs and more. 

The winners of the 2020 Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge are:

DISTELL INTER-HOTEL CHALLENGE WINE STEWARD OF THE YEAR: Keegan Terry, Belmond Mount Nelson (Nederburg & Three Ships Whisky)
2nd: Joint winners; Emile Liebenberg, The Liz McGrath Collection (Pongrácz & Cruz) and Nhlakanipho Justice Zondo, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani (Nederburg & Scottish Leader)
3rd: Xolani Mzileni, The Beverly Hills (Allesverloren & Klipdrift) 

MOST PROMISING WINE STEWARD: Joint winners; Sithembile Angel Khuzwayo, Durban ICC (Pongrácz & Cruz) and Lindokuhle Siyo, Lanzerac Hotel & Spa (Allesverloren & Three Ships)

MOST UP & COMING WINE STEWARD ‘THE WONGA AWARD’: Nhlakanipho Justice Zondo, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani (Nederburg & Scottish Leader) https://youtu.be/y9Gmq-oE2ww

EXQUISITE SERVICE: Keegan Terry, Belmond Mount Nelson (Nederburg & Three Ships)

DISTELL INTER-HOTEL CHALLENGE CHEF OF THE YEAR: Ivanna Ganesh, The Beverly Hills https://youtu.be/zgc42JbYHOQ
2nd: Joint winners; Rameez Ceres, Belmond Mount Nelson and Angeline Mthembu, De Hoek Country Hotel
3rd: Mfundo Gcwensa, Durban ICC

MOST PROMISING CHEF: Mathew Oliphant, TAJ Cape Town 

SCANPAN EXCELLENT KITCHEN PRACTICE: Duo of Chefs Ivanna Ganesh assisted by Sphesihle Dlomo, The Beverly Hills

Runner-Up SCANPAN EXCELLENT KITCHEN PRACTICE: Duo of Chefs Angeline Mthembu assisted by Austin Haywood, De Hoek Country Hotel 

BEST MENU PRESENTATION: Amber van Reenen, Lanzerac Hotel & Spa

MOST DELECTABLE DENNY STARTER: Ivanna Ganesh, The Beverly Hills
Study of Mushroom – Confit King Oyster Mushroom | Chevin Mousse | Hazelnut and Chilli Praline Dust | Pickled Exotic Mushrooms | Charred Onions | Lime & Dill Pearls | Apple & Date Compote | Crisp Sweet Potato ~ Allesverloren Chenin Blanc 2020 

THE PURPLE RIBBON AWARD FOR THE BEST SA PORK DISH: Ivanna Ganesh, The Beverly Hills
Duo of Pork – Roasted Pork Loin | Parsnip, Walnut and Cranberry Purée | Blueberry and Black Pepper Jus | Leek, Blueberry and Bacon Jam | Fondant Potato | Steamed Tender Stem Broccoli | Roasted Carrot Purée  ~ Allesverloren Shiraz 2017

DISTELL INTER-HOTEL CHALLENGE PASTRY CHEF OF THE YEAR: Sohail Seegobin, The Beverly Hills https://youtu.be/w0dmbTd01kE

LANCEWOOD BEST DESSERT:
1st:
Sohail Seegobin, The Beverly Hills
2nd: Olga Kobo, Sun Time Square The Maslow
3rd: Kristin Reagon, The Liz McGrath Collection

BUTTER CAKE:
1st:
Sohail Seegobin, The Beverly Hills
2nd: Alka Gyanda, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani
3rd: Rowan Pollecutt, Belmond Mount Nelson

DISTELL INTER HOTEL CHALLENGE BIO-WHEAT BAKER OF THE YEAR: Matthew Paulson, Belmond Mount Nelson
2nd:
Ntsiki Msweli, The Beverly Hills
3rd: Nokwasi Gigaba, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani

THE KITCHENAID MOST PROMISING BAKER: Desmond Nikwe, Durban ICC

TOP THREE BARISTAS:
Lungelwa Vivian Sigwiji, I Love Coffee formerly representing Protea Hotel by Marriott® Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton
Lungile Ignatia Mkhize, The Beverly Hills
Cedrick Thabo Sibi, The President Hotel 

TOP THREE COCKTAILS:
‘Passion Fruit Sunset’ with Three Ships – Keegan Terry, Belmond Mount Nelson
‘Sea Sour’ with Scottish Leader – Justice Zondo, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani
‘Senza Cruz’ with Cruz and S. Pellegrino Essenza – Emile Liebenberg, The Liz McGrath Collection

BEST FOOD & WINE PAIRING: 

STARTER: Pan-Seared Scallops with Denny King Oyster Mushrooms | Asian Greens | Lemon Gel | Tomato | Aji Dressing
~ Pongrácz Rosé
Chef Angeline Mthembu & Wine Steward Eid Dube, De Hoek Country Hotel

MAIN: Pork Loin, Bacon and Cabbage Wellington | Celeriac and Parsnip Pave | Prune and Pickled Onion Chutney | Baby Sautéed Vegetables 
~ Nederburg The Brew Master 2017
Chef Rameez Ceres & Wine Steward Keegan Terry, Belmond Mount Nelson 

DESSERT: Spiced Blueberries, Pistachio and Citrus Tart | Vanilla Mascarpone Crème
~ Nederburg The Winemasters Noble Late Harvest 2017
Pastry Chef Rowan Pollecutt & Wine Steward Keegan Terry, Belmond Mount Nelson

SHOWCOOK MAN OF THE MATCH: Patrick Fisher, Lanzerac Hotel & Spa 

MENTOR OF THE YEAR: Hagashen Moodley, Sous Chef, The Beverly Hills

THE DISTELL INTER HOTEL CHALLENGE GENERAL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: John Aritho, The Beverly Hills

CAPE WINE ACADEMY TOP RESULTS:

Sinead Sinclair, 97%, formerly of Protea Hotel by Marriott® Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton
Devika Giga, 97%, formerly of TAJ Cape Town
Danielle Fourie, 93%, formerly of NH The Lord Charles
Nhlakanipho Justice Zondo, 93%, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani
Xolani Mzileni, 93%, The Beverly Hills
Sakhile Ngubane, 90%, formerly of The Protea Hotel by Marriott Durban Edward
Keegan Terry, 90%, Belmond Mount Nelson

SOMMELIERS ACADEMY TOP RESULTS:

Sinead Sinclair, 96%, formerly of Protea Hotel by Marriott® Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton
Putuma Mbonwa, 96%, formerly representing Southern Sun Cape Sun and Sun Square City Bowl, CBD, Tsogo Sun
Lindokuhle Siya, 96%, Lanzerac Hotel & Spa
Fortune Joseph Sithole, 96%, formerly of Protea Hotel by Marriott® Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton
Ayabonga Makupula, 94%, formerly of The President Hotel
Nhlakanipho Justice Zondo, 94%, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani
Xolani Mzileni, 92%, The Beverly Hills
Devika Giga, 92%, formerly of TAJ Cape Town

ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: SINEAD SINCLAIR Formerly of Protea Hotel by Marriott® Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton (Durbanville Hills & Scottish Leader) 

TOP THREE CONCIERGES:
Anel Rust, Lanzerac Hotel & Spa
Michael Chihwai, The President Hotel
Khatao Lawrence Magedane, Protea Hotel By Marriott® Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton 

BEST TEAM AWARD Presented by KitchenAid Africa: The Beverly Hills 

A formidable and highly experienced panel of regional and travelling judges were lined up to judge the various categories for the 2020 Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge at Capsicum Culinary Studio in Rosebank and Cape Town, and at the International Hotel School in Durban. The food judges included Hugh von Zahn, Brian McCune, the late Dorah Sitole, Fatima Stanley, Jac Kolver, Kyle Hickman and Lorraine Meaney. The kitchen evaluation judge was Julietta e Silva. Wine and spirit service presentations were conducted by travelling judges Sandy Harper and Jean Vincent Ridon. Regional wine and food pairing judges included Aubrey Ngcungama, Germain Lehodey, Karen Bloom, Kristina Beuthner, Mark O’Flaherty and Marlvin Gwese. Baristas were judged by Alison Douglas, Caroline Ncube, Leah Nabakwe, Paula Visser, Robert Shazi, Tarryn van der Toorn and Wayne Abrahams, and Concierges by Horst Frehse.

The prizes:

The Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge Wine Steward of the Year 2020’ looks forward to a brilliant travel experience with Distell to Scotland with visits to two of its top distilleries; Deanston and Bunnahabhain. On the itinerary: France and an introduction to a world of wines in Bordeaux at La Cité du Vin. A two night stay in London at the superb The Montague on the Gardens with Red Carnation while working closely with the 67 Pall Mall Sommelier team – the most exclusive wine club in the heart of St James and an opportunity to work with Eric Zwiebel at the exquisite Summer Lodge in Somerset, England. In addition, the winner will receive a bursary from Distell to attend further training with the South African Sommeliers Association (SASA) and the Sommeliers Academy. http://youtu.be/memcvRaYICw  

The Diamond Works Institute awarded each of the participating Wine Stewards a hand crafted gold lapel pin.

The ‘Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge Chef of the Year 2020’ is set to enjoy a three-week internship with Taj Hotels in India (https://youtu.be/msVjMpUNQCY), with flights sponsored where possible by Distell. Over the years winners have been invited to Long Beach Mauritius (2013), Taj Mahal Palace India (2014), the Shangri-La in Dubai (2015), The Alcron in Prague (2016), The Marriott Ritz-Carlton Hotel and JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai (2017), NH Collection Barbizon Palace hotel, D’Vijff Vlieghen and Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky (2018), and most recently Minor Hotels in Bangkok; at Anantara Riverside Bangkok Hotel, Anantara Sathorn Bangkok Hotel and Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotels (2019), and assisted with Michelin star chefs who participated in the World Gourmet Festival.

See Complex Executive Chef Adrian Vaughan with Johandré Grobler, Chef of the Year 2019 https://youtu.be/lAHzHG6jVxU.

The Purple Ribbon Award, a R10 000 cash prize from SA Pork for the best main course dish.

The Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge Pastry Chef of the Year 2020’ is invited to experience a three-week internship in France, the home of fine patisserie at the exquisite Château La Creuzette in Boussac with hosts Louis Jansen van Vuuren and Hardy Olivier.

A ravishing prize where the winner will continue to broaden their culinary skills and at the same time absorb incomparable French flair.
In addition, the winner will receive a superb Canon EOS M6 MkII camera to chart their journey.  https://youtu.be/Mh2oI-yek3U
Flights courtesy of Lancewood plus a cash prize.

The ‘Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge Baker of the Year 2020’ receives a KitchenAid Food Processor while the hotel collects a KitchenAid Commercial Mixer.  

The Top Three Concierges each receive an exquisite diamond-studded, hand-crafted gold lapel pins by The Diamond Works Institute.

The Top Three Baristas are rewarded with meaningful prizes by Avanti Coffee SA, KitchenAid Africa and AL&CD Ashley

The Best Team receives the KitchenAid Africa Floating Trophy

The GM of the Year  receives exquisite hand-crafted gold cufflinks by The Diamond Works Institute.

Sinead Sinclair (formerly of Protea Hotel by Marriott Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton) benefits from the International Hotel School’s R30 000 online bursary, designed to give candidates the tools to further their business aspirations, awarded for academic excellence.

‘The Wonga Award’ for 2020, awarded to Nhlakanipho Justice Zondo of the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani, affords him a R30 000 bursary from the South African National Youth Development Agency to pursue an online business course with the International Hotel School

A splendid weekend at The Vineyard, set in five acres of some of the most exquisite gardens, is the memorable historical destination for the Mentor of the Year. A rewarding prize for a valuable key player for the success of the team. http://youtu.be/bCp8QIMvI44  

Superb prizes for all the winners from KitchenAid Africa with Dr Susanne Reuther including KitchenAid Artisan Mixers, Gadget & Utensils, Ceramics, Bakeware and more.  

Highly desirable and stunning prizes from AL&CD Ashley including SCANPAN the finest of Global Knives, Brabantia, Avanti, Bodum, Severin and Joseph Joseph

Meaningful bursaries from the Cape Wine Academy  to the winning Wine Stewards and stunning hand-crafted lapel pins by The Diamond Works Institute

Didactix  has offered the ‘Scanpan Excellent Kitchen Practice’ duo of chefs and runners-up a one-day training programme and online examination to achieve the international certificate in the Highfield Qualification Level 2 Award in Food Safety & Catering.

Generous gifts from S.Pellegrino, Acqua Panna, Italian Delionline, The Hall Collection and Rio Largo Olive Oil. Books for life from Penguin Random House and best-selling South African wine advisor, Platter’s South African Wine Guide, plus the recent Gourmand awarded book Passion for Pairing by Jean-Vincent Ridon, and the last word in delectable prizes… Von Geusau Chocolates

Suppliers during the challenge: 

Distell Wines: Allesverloren * Durbanville Hills * Fleur Du Cap * Nederburg * Plaisir de Merle * Pongrácz * Zonnebloem 

Distell Spirits: Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky * Cruz * Gordon’s London Dry Gin * Scottish Leader * Three Ships * Van Ryn’s * Klipdrift

Additional: S. Pellegrino * Acqua Panna * S. Pellegrino Essenza * SA Pork * Lancewood Cheese * Denny Mushrooms * Lurpak Butter * Rio Largo Olive Oil * Bio-Wheat * Avanti Coffee * Khoisan Sea Salt 

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