The young men and women we meet as candidates throughout the challenge, are the same individuals who go on to become the leading lights in South Africa‘s hospitality industry. Hospitality is the backbone of tourism, a core South African sector. Without mentorship programmes like this, and the passionate commitment of sponsors, the hotels and their management teams, sommeliers, executive chefs, farmers, food and beverage producers and educators across the disciplines, our hotel industry would not be able to sustain the high standards by which we are known around the globe.

This is the time to meet the candidates and we look forward to hearing more as the regional Cook-Offs take place over the next few days!

The Liz McGrath Collection, Cellars-Hohenort

I am a friendly person who enjoys working and learning. I want to become a great wine Sommelier. Ian Cauble is one of just 269 Master Sommeliers in the world, and also one of the youngest. In 2011, Ian was named ‘Best Young Sommelier in the World. He is my role model. I would like to have the opportunities to taste more wines, although we do get to taste wine from time to time at The Greenhouse Restaurant. The Cape Wine Academy Level 1 is the book that I’m reading at the moment. I’d love to visit France.

The Vineyard Hotel

I would describe myself as intelligent. I would like to become a wine expert, a Sommelier and have my own Vineyard. My role model is Joseph Dafana. I worked with him for a very short time and he showed me that anything can be possible. He won ‘Sommelier of the Year’ a few times and he has his own wines as well. In my spare time I love to go to different wine farms and taste wines with friends. To broaden my knowledge I enjoy researching online.

The President Hotel

I would describe myself as a bubbly and open minded person. My aims for the future would be to better myself and gain more knowledge. I love working as part of a team and in the next five years I’d like to be a Bar/ F&B Manager. I would love to visit France and Italy. Our Food & Beverage Ops Manager Ndaba Dube at The President Hotel is my role model. I’ve joined the Wine of the Month Club which provides me with different types of wines and descriptions every month.

Taj Cape Town

I am extraordinary. I would like to be a hotel owner. I would love to visit The Bahamas.

The Capital 15 On Orange

“I’m enthusiastic, talkative and I love people,” says Odwa Gongo. “In five years I’d like to see myself in a well established property holding a managerial position. My brother and Steve Harvey are my role models. I’m broadening my knowledge by listening to podcasts and reading. I would love to visit France and USA.”

Ellerman House 

“I am a humble and calm person,” says Sylvain. “I believe I am diplomatic and wise for my years. In five years time I see myself opening my own tourism company in partnership with a hotel. I would love to visit Canada.”

The Pepperclub Hotel

“If I had to describe myself in one word it would be AMAZING,” says Sakumzi Damon. “I would love to be working on a wine farm and talking wine everyday. If I could visit one place in the world tomorrow that I’ve never been to it would be Greece.”

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

“I’m a hardworking team player ready for any Challenge, says Fortunate. “I would love to own my own restaurant in five years time and pass on the knowledge to others. If there was any place I could visit tomorrow it would be France!”

De Hoek Country Hotel

Eid Dube describes himself as a cool guy who would like to work on cruise ships and travel to France. 

Ivory Manor Boutique Hotel

Ivory Manor Boutique Hotel Candidate Wine Steward Tapiwa Jamu says, “I’m energetic, driven and most of all curious! I aspire to reach heights in the wine and spirits industry, having my own wine schools across nations helping the future generation of sommeliers.
My role model is Joseph Dhafana of Mosi wine…inspired by his story from the gardens to the pinnacle of the wine industry. We share a similar background. And his story guaranteed my vision.
I’m broadening my knowledge by accessing books from graduate students from CWA and WSET. I also talk to sommeliers, learning a lot from them. I’m currently reading a WSET Level 3 textbook.
I would love to visit Italy.”

Sun City Resort

I am a very passionate and driven individual, always hungry for knowledge,” says Tumelo Maoba. “I am currently studying hospitality management at the International Hotel School. I would like to be a hotel manager in five years. Our General Manager Brett Hope is my role model. Being in the USA has always been my dream. I am reading my course books.”

Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch

I am an ambitious, enthusiastic, flexible person who loves to learn. I would like to be a Sommelier in our hotel, the Johannesburg Marriott Hotel Melrose Arch,” says Prince Mashatola. “I would love to visit the United Arab Emirates.”

Durban ICC

I am an ambitious, professional person. In five years I would like to become a Food & Beverage Manager. If there was one place I could visit tomorrow it would be to France,” says Bongani Makwa of the Durban ICC.

The Oyster Box Hotel

I would describe myself as humble and hardworking person,” says Nkosinathi Dube of The Oyster Box hotel in Umhlanga. “I would like to become a qualified sommelier in one of the best hotels in the world. I would love to visit the winelands in Bordeaux, France.”

Beverly Hills

My name is Lethukuthula Ngubane currently working at the Beverly Hills Hotel as a waitron. I entered the hospitality industry seven years ago when I started at Mugg & Bean Westville Mall as a waitron but with an idea to be knowledgeable with all aspects of the business. I would like to one day be someone with as much knowledge as possible about hospitality as a whole.

Along the way I’ve been so lucky to have mentorship from different managers, including my current assistant managers at the Beverly Hills together with my Food & Beverage Manager. It is such a great pleasure that I have them as the people I look up to, and I work every day to try and achieve what they have over the years.

Being within the Food & Beverage department I’ve had a privilege to attend or serve a few wine dinners and have had luck to hear great wine experts talk about wine. I’ve also been exposed to some books that give you information on many wines and spirits made of natural ingredients, that has also added to my knowledge. And I haven’t stopped working on finding even more information about this industry.

I am currently reading a book called Emotional Intelligence, which is a book that so far I’ve seen how to grow as a person. It discusses how to manage your emotions, how you control yourself and how you see what is right for you and so on.”   

Hartford House 

“I am very good at taking control of the situation and encouraging people around me,” says Prudance Ndlovu of Hartford House. “I would like to be owning my own business in hospitality. I would love to visit Bordeaux, Norway and Canada if I could. My role model is Maretha Langenhoven, my GM, because of the way she believes in herself and me. I’m broadening my knowledge by talking to people, researching with Google and other social networks. The book I am currently reading I Healing a Soul of a Woman by Joyce Meyer.”

Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani

“I am a passionate, hard working, self motivated, disciplined and responsible person. I would like to see myself as a Food & Beverage Manager in five years time. I’d love to visit Paris in France.

There are great men and even greater women but none is greater than my mother and father. As I was growing up, I saw the passion, persistence and drive my dad had to change his life for the better. Unlike his brothers he gave up herding cattle to look for a job at a foreign place, where he was then employed as a miner at the Gold mine. He worked very hard to provide for his family despite being uneducated. My mom a phenomenal woman, was always there being the pillar of his strength supporting him and nurturing the family. Though life was hard and extremely challenging they never gave up. The love, respect and patience they have is Extraterrestrial…

I always engage in training programs at work and online. In my spare time I read and watch interesting TV programmes eg. Discovery Channel, National Geographic & Cooking Programmes.

48 LAWS OF POWER by Robert Greene and I recently started 5 AM CLUB by Robin Sharma

Sun Time Square

Coming soon…

Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, Cape Town

“I am loving person,” says Manduleli Solani. “In five years time I see myself in a higher position than where I am now. To be specific I want to be a Master Sommelier. I would love to visit Bali in Indonesia. I am my own role model reason being I am hard worker. I have worked so hard to be where I am right now and that gives me a motive each and every day. To broaden my knowledge I read books and I do a lot of research as well. I’m reading As a Man Thinketh, a literary essay by James Allen.”

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