A Passion for Pastry & Baking #OOYoungStars2021

Meet the One&Only Reaching for Young Stars Pastry Chefs of 2021!

For the Cook-Off, which was held at the International Hotel School on Saturday 21st August, the Pastry Chefs had to prepare a DESSERT using Lancewood and LemonGold® seedless lemons within three hours, presented as the team dessert and a BUTTER CAKE which they prepared off-site using Bio-Wheat Cake flour, Lancewood, Lurpak and ClemenGold® – sweet aromatic soft citrus fruit.

The Bakers presented a ciabatta, baguette and a whole-wheat health loaf made with Bio-Wheat flour to the Judges; Craig Hibbert (Head Pastry Chef at The Vineyard) and Jac Kolver (Product Developer: Bakery & Market Bakery Woolworths Foods).

(Part of the Faculty of Business Management Sciences of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology)

“I am a 23 year old aspiring pastry chef,” says Saudiqah. “I have considered myself privileged to have found my passion at a very young age in pastry. I have always taken a substantial amount of interest in dessert making and overall baking. I had baked my very first cake at only the age of eight. It was certainly not the best, but it was my first. I have since considerably improved my abilities in the kitchen!

Creating desserts and cakes makes me happy, excited and feel alive. I could not afford to study a pastry course, but I was determined to pursue my dream. I decided to study at a public institution where I would be able to receive a bursary and will later on study the pastry course after working a few years. 

I would like to be one of South Africa’s top pastry chefs and be internationally recognized for my craft. I would like to own a dessert bar and bakery. I have started a small business from home to assist in making my dream a reality. I have a Facebook and Instagram page where my work is displayed under the business name ‘Dekadent’ and ‘saudiqah_gelandtt’. I offer an array of baked goods such as cakes for special occasions and other desserts. I hope to work a few years abroad, expand my knowledge before officially launching my business at a location in Cape Town.

The best way in which I gain more knowledge and techniques is through the internet. Not being able to afford a course doesn’t mean you can’t learn. Our generation fortunately revolves around social platforms and basically anything can be found on YouTube.

Chef Gordon Ramsay is one of my biggest role models and an absolute inspiration. He may be impolite and aggressive on his television shows but having a look into his life off camera he has worked hard and came from nothing. He didn’t use that as an excuse instead used it as fuel to become successful. He encourages, motivates and mentors other chefs to be as great as he is. He has climbed the ladder and when he reached the top he stuck his hand out to help others climb.” 

(Part of the Faculty of Business Management Sciences of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology)

“I am currently a third Year Practical Cookery student at the Cape Town Hotel School,” says Afika.

“I would like to visit Italy for more Italian inspiration, because I would like to open my own fine dining Italian African restaurant. One of the reasons I love Italy is because I love the variety of pastas and cheese that they offer which will add a touch of uniqueness to my restaurant and I will not be focusing on just one cuisine, but I will have a variety that my customers can choose from.

I would also like to own a farm to produce fresh vegetables and herbs. Fresh produce is so important because it is less expensive and you know that you will be producing quality foods when cooking for your customers. 

My inspiration comes from home, which is in the Eastern Cape where my grandfather owns his portion of the farm. His father who is my great grandfather was the owner of the whole farm and it was divided by the number of children he had. There are a variety of vegetables and fruit that we produce. We sell our sheep wool to clients in Cape Town and they create various types of clothes with it including coats. We also have livestock that we sell. During harvest time, most of my family members go to the farm to help. This is when we divide chores and I always chose the kitchen because I enjoyed working alongside my late grandmother and aunt. We are quite a family, so we had to cook huge portions of food outside because at that time we did not have electricity. We had to wake up at 5AM to make coffee and porridge. During Christmas everyone is at the farm and that is one of the family events I enjoy most because I get to cook anything and everything.

My role model has to be Guy Fieri, besides the fact that I love meat and he enjoys that too. I like that he does not only focus on one cuisine, he travels and he goes to local areas of each place. He goes to and gives reviews on those affordable restaurants. My second role model is a South African Chef Zola Nene she focuses more on South African cuisine and takes it to the next level.

I broaden my knowledge by watching food channels and follow food pages on social media (Instagram). I also started my food page on Instagram and when I need inspiration on what to cook next I always watch Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver for my next food content. I do not have a specific cuisine that I focus on, anything that is simple to make and affordable.”


“I’m currently studying towards becoming a pastry chef and I will be continuing my studies towards being a great cake artist,” says Chaney van Eeden.

“Psychology would be next on my list knowing that I would love to start a therapy bakery. My goal would be to open a training centre for people who struggle with mental illnesses, for them to bake in a place of comfort and safety.  Therapy baking is not only a helping tool to conquer a lot of struggles, but also a huge inspiration to succeed.

I would say that studying at CTIA and being the owner of my bakery, Oak Hearted Bakery, is definitely a wonderful experience and a big win. I’m looking forward to the competition as not only would I be working with other great pastry chefs, but I will also be able to exceed my limits, learn from my weaknesses and grab on to any opportunities coming my way.”


“I’m a student at Chefs Training and Innovation Academy (CTIA), I also own a small bakery business with my sister. I wanted to go into engineering and did my N4 engineering after finishing my AS levels, now I’m doing the CTIA patisserie programme with the possibility to go further with CTIA.

I aspire to taking life as it comes and making the most of the opportunities presented to me until I find where I feel I’m meant to be.  One of my most compelling experiences was when I went on a 14 month tour around South Africa with my family stopping in towns learning the history and different cultures of the country.

I’m certainly going to work hard at making the most of the opportunity of entering the One&Only Reaching for Young Stars Competition.”


Her passion for baking came around when she baked her brother’s birthday cake at the age of 8. “It was a simple oil based vanilla cake with icing over it and everybody loved it,” says Aaliya. She has been making the family cakes ever since. 

Many people told her that it was great as her passion but could never be her profession, but here she is today proving them all wrong. Her goal after graduating is to further study in the USA at the Amaury Guichon Pastry Academy and then travel the world and work with some of the best pastry chefs and chocolatiers such a Pierre Hermé, Michael Bartocetti, Adriano Zumbo to name a few.

“If you follow your passion, success will follow you!”


Itumeleng Nolonolo is 19 years old, currently studying culinary arts and pastry at the International Hotel School. Her love for cooking started blooming at a young age.

“I remember playing with mud as little girl and making what I called ‘food’. I would go from crafting pieces of meat to crafting tiered cakes using just mud a few sticks and my imagination,” she says. Her game of pretence soon escalated in her mother’s kitchen where she started cooking and baking real food.

“I love how food brings people together, how it creates smiles and memories,” she says. This is when she started her own imaginary cooking shows in the hope one day she will have her own show to share her culinary experiences and recipes. In this way she can spread the joy that food has brought into her life with the rest of the world. 


“I am a 19-year-old farm girl from Paarl. I went to Paarl Gimnasium school and now studying in my second year at The Hurst Campus Chef School. I have a passion for food especially baking, I just love how ingredients come together and evolve into a beautiful product.

From a young age, I loved to bake. A wonderful memory of my childhood is being given a birthday gift book called “Klein Kook en Geniet” I tried all the recipes in my own way and most of them flopped! However, it was at this stage that my passion for food started to grow. I started to love cooking, and this was fueled by the fact that there was always something being cooked or baked in my mother’s kitchen. I also remember baking on weekends with my Ouma and ‘Soetkoekies’ and ‘Hertzoggies’ were some of my favourites.

I am so excited to be baking in this competition and to learn new things on the journey including meeting people and interesting suppliers.

My aim is to successfully finish my studies, work at different places to learn from the best and one day open my own restaurant.

My major role model is Chef Pierre Lombard from The Hurst Campus. He can bake anything, and it will be the best version of it you have ever had. 

I am reading lots of recipe books, old and new and I believe that you learn when you actually do things. When I enter a kitchen, I always listen carefully for tips or any other helpful information that might be mentioned.”

Joint winner of the Lancewood Q&A at the Launch Workshop:) 

“My intention is to achieve my career goals and go far within the hospitality industry. I would like to travel the world getting experience from many different countries.

My role model is myself. I’m a young and strong woman and grew up independent. Also when I believe in something I push, I don’t give up easily without seeing success. I’m brave at the same time am eager to learn from others. 

I would like to expand the skills and experience that I have by training myself and know what I want to achieve in life. Also, get exposed to the industry and have my own recipes and restaurants.”


“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 and currently in industry training with Master Baker Togara Mabharani at I LOVE COFFEE.

“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.”

Joint winner of the Lancewood Q&A at the Launch Workshop:) 

“I’m 18 years old and studying at Capsicum Culinary Studio in Cape Town. In the future I see myself overseas, working with people that share the same passion as I do. I can broaden my knowledge in the culinary world, by learning new techniques, different flavour profiles as well as new concepts and plating ideas for desserts. I will also see how different chefs work and put their own individual twist on their dishes. 

Some of the pastry chefs that have inspired me are Adriano Zumbo and Reynold Poernomo as both chefs push the boundaries when it comes to their desserts.

Food has always played a very important role in my life, as I can express myself through dishes that I create and it allows me to experiment with different flavours and textures.”


“After a very tough matric year in 2020, I was very confused regarding what I wanted to do this year. I ultimately decided to pursue a career in the culinary industry. After years of experimenting in the kitchen and watching countless episodes of Masterchef, I realised that cooking and baking is my passion.

Watching chefs like Peter Gilmore, Heston Blumenthal and Reynold Poernomo inspired me to want to create such beautiful desserts,” says Qira.

“I believe that to broaden your knowledge, you should take advantage of every opportunity that you can. I hope to learn a lot through the One&Only Reaching for Young Stars Competition as well as during my industry placement.”


“I have many goals but in the short term, it is to complete my studies at IHT Hotel School and graduate Cum Laude. My more long term goals include my lifelong dream of opening my own upmarket coffee shop.

My role model in the industry is Jamie Oliver. I admire and follow his work because he is very innovative. His work with the ‘Feed me Better’ campaign is inspirational. He tries to make a difference with his food which is something you don’t often see. 

Outside of the industry, one of my biggest role models is my mother. She left the security of corporate life when she was already a mother of four, to study further and pursue her dream of teaching young minds. Even though her field and mine are completely unrelated, she taught me that it is never too late in life to learn new things and to pursue your passions.

The biggest way that I am currently expanding my knowledge is through my studies at IHT Hotel School. However, in my free time, I try to gain practical experience by working with my uncle in his restaurant. I try to keep in contact with people in the industry and find out about how they are dealing with all the changes that this industry brings. Lastly, I also spend time studying specific subjects to grow my knowledge and better my skills.”


“I would like to start up a 5 Star Game Lodge in the North Eastern Caprivi Strip in Namibia, which one day will expand into a Lodge and Touring Company, taking guests on tours throughout Africa. 

My role model is Dr Jordan B Peterson, just because of the way he looks at life and how he tries to help people overcome the struggles in life in the 21st century. His podcasts have motivated me to become the best version of myself which I work on every day.

I am broadening my knowledge by meeting new people from different countries and cultures. Trying to understand how different people perceive the world from all corners of the world. Reading up on history and cultures is one way of me broadening my knowledge. I think being in the Hospitality Industry it’s important to try to understand the background of all the diverse guests coming to your establishment, this will, in turn, help you better their stay and make them feel more comfortable and at home in your establishment.” (Pic to follow)

See more… https://showcook.com/blog/2021/07/29/a-passion-that-knows-no-bounds/

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