Stepping up to the Plate #OOYoungStars2021

The One&Only Reaching for Young Star Chefs are looking forward preparing their starters and main courses within the three hour Cook-Off period. The starter is a Pasta dish using Bio-Wheat Cake Flour and the main course is a Vegetarian dish featuring Denny Mushrooms with the superb use of Rio Largo Olive Oil.

What the judges are looking for…

One&Only Cape Town award a three-week assignment at one of their international establishments to the winning culinary student. GM, Anne Scott shares what they are looking for: “Sometimes we find young stars in the kitchen and they are great cooks, their food tastes plate-scrapingly delicious, but they don’t have a great set of people skills. Or we find people that are incredible at being part of a kitchen brigade and working together to create something exceptional, but their cooking skills are average. Occasionally you come across somebody who can do both – and that is what we are looking for.” 

The Judges – Rudi Liebenberg (Executive Chef Belmond Mount Nelson) & Farrel Hirsch (Head Chef Green House Restaurant at the The Cellars-Hohenort Hotel

Meet the Chefs…

MIGUEL NAIKER
INTERNATIONAL HOTEL SCHOOL

“I’m from the International Hotel School in Cape Town,” says Miguel Naiker. “I’m currently studying Culinary Arts & Patisserie. I love cooking and baking and I always strive to do my best. I would love to graduate and work either on a cruise liner or at a resort overseas. I’d then like to come back and start my own restaurant and I was also thinking about starting a cooking programme for young aspiring teens who are interested in The Culinary Arts, but that’s just a dream as of right now.

I look up to Gordon Ramsay because he has shown everyone that you can start from the bottom and through really hard work you can get to the top and be successful. Chef Reuben Riffel inspires me, not only because he is a celebrity chef, but because he wasn’t scared to leave this country and work at a startup restaurant, which then became huge. It makes me feel as if I can do it, if he did it and it really makes me think that the stars aren’t too far if you are willing to reach out far enough.

At the moment I’m studying very hard and doing a lot of research when it comes to dishes and especially vegetarian dishes. I couldn’t believe that they were so versatile. Not just cooked vegetables, but that they can actually be transformed into a good and delicious meal. I’m also watching a lot of shows and YouTube videos.”

BRAAM POTGIETER
THE HURST CAMPUS 

“I’m 23 years old and come from a small town in KZN called Ladysmith. I grew up around food as my parents own a restaurant, so it has always been a part of life to make and share food. I love to explore and experiment with new and innovative recipes so that’s why I wanted to be trained as a chef. I feel that food is what brings people together and that it is an experience that should be memorable and worth the time and effort to sit down and eat at a table,” says Braam.

“I have been blessed with several wonderful role models, starting at home with my family. My parents gave me their 100% support to study formally to become a chef. They have always had my back. My grandmother is also so special because initially, I found my passion for cooking in her kitchen watching her make lunch or dinner. Simple, but tasty recipes such as fish and chips or spaghetti bolognaise – food that brought joy to our family. 

My professional mentors have also played a major role. Chefs Warehouse at Maison with Chef Dave Schneider taught me how to work with a prep list and do things step by step. Learning about how to work with meat with Chef Pete Geoff-Wood and the art of curing preserving food at Jewells with Chef Neil. I have also worked at La Chene in Franschhoek which was all about refined technique and am currently working with Chef Ryan Shell, learning his way of running and working in a kitchen with Asian flavours.

I would not have known what I do today without having got my basics at The Hurst Campus and then valuable working experience training with these wonderful mentors in their kitchens.

Travelling is another passion, and I’m keen to get back out there and continue to explore the world. I want to harvest cuisines, flavours and cultures to use when I ultimately open my own restaurant. Japan and a return visit to Italy are high on my list of initial destinations post-COVID-19. 

I live for food. I’m constantly on the internet looking at what is new and what are the latest trends. I also love to explore the gastronomy side of food. I experiment on my off days with new recipes and see how I can remake them into something I can call my own. I also treat myself to going out to eat at a restaurant twice a month to see what the local chefs are doing and how they are using their ingredients to bring out their best qualities and just see what they are combining and bringing to their customers.”

JOSHUA URDANG
CHEFS TRAINING & INNOVATION ACADEMY

“I’m 20 years old and studying towards a full QCTO Trade certificate and Advanced Management at Chefs Training and Innovation Academy (CTIA) in Stellenbosch. At one point I studied a degree in Biology but I’m now following my passion to become a Chef!” says Joshua Urdang.

“My most compelling experience and wins to date is working with Chef Benjamin Conradie and Jurie Swart at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve in Gansbaai and being able to participate in the One&Only Reaching for Young Stars Competition.

I am a hard-working dedicated student with good team working skills. I’m trying to become a very knowledgeable chef and to also become the best possible version of myself. I am a perfectionist and I thrive under pressure. I am very passionate about food and cooking. I love learning new things and this competition will allow me to learn a lot and gain experience very quickly.  I also love the challenge of creating food and I aim to please and make a delicious flavourful dish.”

COURTNEY GASSERT
IHT HOTEL SCHOOL 

“I hope to one day open my own bed and breakfast on the Island of Santorini,” says Courtney. “Until such day arrives I hope to spend my third-year internship at a hotel in either Greece or Italy, after which I plan on travelling for a year or two picking up odd jobs at different hotels along the way. I don’t feel that I’m quite ready to enter the working world and would love to spend my early twenties travelling and working as I go; thus allowing my knowledge of both the world and the industry to grow.

I would have to say that I am not inspired by a particular person, but rather by a culmination of qualities that people possess. I find the following qualities to be of inspiration: independence (especially in young females); resilience and self-reliance; the ability to adapt and embrace change; the ability to continue learning even after having left the classroom; the desire to try, try and try again; and most importantly, self-respect. I find that I am often complimented on my independence and my ability to do things alone, I have learnt such a skill from my mother and from my own need to start living life now.

I am trying to take in as much of the world around me as I can, I practice saying no, I didn’t know that, please do tell me more as opposed to pretending I have an idea of the topic of conversation and then getting lost along the way. I want to start doing a few online courses, things such as Human Anatomy, digital marketing, English literature; I have an absolute fascination with the human body and mind and wish to develop my knowledge on the subject. I have been working in hospitality environments since the age of 16 and don’t shy away from new working and learning opportunities. I started working at a small bakery, then worked in an art gallery. I started working at a Surf School and then completed my hospitality industry practical at a guest lodge. Each experience has presented new and diverse learning opportunities and has taught me to remember just how different we all are despite the obvious similarities. I hope to continue to learn both in and outside of a classroom and work environment.”

JADON LEE HARILALL
CAPE TOWN HOTEL SCHOOL
(Part of the Faculty of Business Management Sciences of
the Cape Peninsula University of Technology)

3rd Year Professional Cookery Student Jadon Lee Hariall says, “Success is something that I have always strived to achieve by putting a great deal of hard work into every aspect of my daily life. I am an energetic and ambitious young man who has developed a mature and responsible approach to any tasks or situation that I am presented with. I am a team player and can work well and communicate with others to accomplish a set out goal. I always choose to see the positive side of things. I am outspoken, conversational and think out the box to come up with practical solutions to any task. I am a people’s person and get along well with people from all walks of life. 

For as long as I can remember, since I was a little boy growing up, my dream was to be a chef and travel the world, and I am now very happy to be working toward this dream every day. My plans for the future will include first graduating from the hotel school with my diploma and then working for a few years and experiencing what the world has to offer. I would like to travel a lot, I am grateful that my kind of work will allow for this, working on a cruise liner or an airline is also on my list. I plan on broadening my knowledge in the culinary and hospitality industry with all my travels and I also plan on furthering my studies in the next five years to get my post graduate degree, I first want to work for a bit and gain more knowledge and work experience in the practical environment. 

I never really had role models in my life, coming from a broken home was not always easy for me. When I look for qualities of a role model it can be somebody who inspired me to never give up, made me believe I could do anything I set my mind to and always made me see that I could also be the best.

My role model is a person who never believed in the words “it’s impossible” or “I can’t” and hated hearing “but” as the beginning of a sentence after he had challenged me to give something my best. As a result, I am more assertive, competitive and eager to learn and achieve as much as I can in life. I say “yes” to opportunities and always try to make an attempt at something rather that shying away and saying I cannot do it.”

IMTIYAAZ HART
CAPSICUM CULINARY STUDIO

“After graduating from Capsicum Culinary Studio, I’d love to travel the world, ideally Asia, Australia and Europe to learn techniques and gain more knowledge,” says Imtiyaaz.

“I’d then like to work on a few cruise ships to save up money before coming back to South Africa. I hope to work at one of South Africa’s top restaurants and eventually open my own. I’d love to bring out a few cookbooks and perhaps start a Cooking Show. 

My role models are Chef Reuben Riffel because he knows his spices and is such an inspiration for all young South African chefs starting out in the industry, and Chef Jan Hendrick van der Westhuizen. Not only is he absolutely incredible at what he does but the way he takes South African food and reconstructs it into fine dining is just amazing! He is also the first South African chef with a Michelin star and I can only dream of receiving one as well. Lastly, Chef Heston Blumenthal – simply because of his incredible Molecular Gastronomy techniques and interesting flavour combinations. 

I am constantly watching cooking shows like Masterchef to see what new techniques are out there. I always follow food trends and eat at the best restaurants in Cape Town to broaden my knowledge and then go home and try out new techniques in my kitchen.” 

MCEBISI MACINGWANA
EZIKO COOKING & CATERING TRAINING CENTRE

“I’m 22 years old and my aim for the future is to be the best baker in the world and run my own bakery. I want to learn how other bakers work with flour,” says Mcebisi who is entering the One&Only Reaching for Young Stars 2021 as the Chef and Baker.

“My role model is my mom and other chefs like Pj Lacky, Chef Mo, Siyazukisa Mqele and Siyanda Matiwane.

I want to learn more in the baking industry. I want to lift up my baking knowledge and experience.”

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