Meet our young stars enjoying in-depth inspiration from top winemakers, celebrated distillers and training on the art of coffee. Gearing up for the 4th June where they will be presenting two creative cocktails using KWV Brandy and Cruxland Gin with Sanpellegrino Italian Sparkling Drinks.

Lyam Johnson
Beverage, 21

I was born in Singapore, my mother is South African and my father is British but I grew up in France. In high school, I was a competitive basketball player and in my spare time, I coached a young basketball team.  I have a passion for service and entertainment. I pride myself on being a perfectionist and having an eye for detail. I’ve been working as a bartender for the past year where I was able to develop my hospitality skills and learn more about the industry.

In Five Years: I see myself being in a position that will help me get to a managerial level or learn how to manage my own company or brand.

Role Model: When I was younger, I watched VHS tapes of Jamie Oliver who introduced me to the world of cooking. I must mention my parents, who enjoy cooking, and I am grateful that I was able to grow up eating food from across the world thanks to them. I fell in love with the beverage industry thanks to social media it showed me how creative you can be with just a simple drink or idea. 

Reading: Stand up Straight by Major General Paul Nanson 

Daniel Scholtz
Barista, 20

I am a Zimbabwean with a passion for people and food. My goal in life is to be involved in food in any way I can be. I am a true believer in healthy foods and to live the best life you must consume the best food.

In Five Years: My plan is to hopefully work on the nutritional side of my parent’s restaurant. I would love to make the menu a better provider of fresh and healthy food.

Role Model: My father because no matter how hard life has gotten for him he still makes a way of pushing through and sees the light at the end of the tunnel.

Gustav Duvenhage
Beverage, 20

I would describe myself as an energetic, hardworking and passionate person with a sense of humour as well as being a focused worker.

In Five Years: I would like to see myself working as a chef de partie in one of South Africa’s top hotels.

Role Models: Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen is one of my role models as he strives to be the best and he has accomplished big things in his career.

Reading: Adriano Zumbo’s Fantastical Kitchen of Other-Worldly Delights by Adriano Zumbo

Faith Neethling

I always try to be the best me I can be.

In Five Years: I see myself travelling and working my way towards my dream job.

Role Model: My mother as she cares so much about the way she makes food for others.

Sandrine Theron
Beverage, 20
Faculty of Business and Management Sciences
Cape Peninsula University of Technology | #WeAreCPUT 

I’m a passionate, focussed and determined young lady.

In Five Years: I would like to have acquired a vast amount of knowledge about the hospitality industry from working in every position I could. I love to travel and perhaps not only work overseas in Michelin star restaurants but to open up a test kitchen and film the process of recipe development and how to make those recipes. I believe that information should be shared and I would like to teach as many people as I can through social media. After that, I would like to come back to South Africa and share knowledge with the next generation by lecturing. 

Role Model: I would love to say that I have a celebrity role model who inspires me all the time, however, I don’t want to lie. My role models are all of the people who have helped me to become the person that I am, all my family members, friends and teachers in my life that supported me in my career choice and how have opened my eyes to all the possibilities out there for me to reach. 

Reading: The French Laundry Cookbook by Thomas Keller 
Jerry Thomas’ Bartenders Guide and Sourdough from Scratch by Dr James Morton  

Codey Olivier
Barista, 22
Faculty of Business and Management Sciences
Cape Peninsula University of Technology | #WeAreCPUT 

I’m a third-year student at the Cape Town Hotel School. I’m hardworking, dedicated, committed, pay attention to detail and I love what I do. My inspiration for this industry started years ago when I was around six years old watching my grandmothers bake and cook. It always fascinated me how you can turn ingredients into something so wonderful. How you can make a beautiful cake out of an ingredient that doesn’t even look close to the end product. How you can take a raw piece of fish, meat, and chicken and turn it into a delicious dish that excites a guest’s palate by the small and visual properties. 

My inspiration for coffee started around the same time. The first thing that hooked me to coffee was that beautiful aroma that comes from freshly ground coffee beans before the cup is even made. The intense aroma that follows when you add hot water is so rich that it starts to make your mouth water. I found and still find it so amazing how you can do so many different styles of coffee with one bag of beans. 

In Five Years: I’d like to travel, learning about different cultures and techniques.

Role Model: My grandparents have shown me what dedication is in everything I do. They continue to encourage me in everything I set my mind to, to push myself and to never stop learning. I love to challenge myself as I know the only way to better myself is to challenge myself, so what better way to challenge myself than entering this competition.” 

Reading: Descending into Greatness by Bill Hybels

Aidan van Gemst
Beverage & Barista, 20

I would describe myself as very relaxed and down to earth. 

In Five Years: The idea would be to own a food truck business alongside a craft bar specifically cocktails and beer. The other option would be to seek work opportunities overseas, such as in Germany or Holland.

Recently, I have taken an interest in the Food & Beverage industry. Specifically the beverage side; wine, brandy, whisky and craft beer. I see myself pursuing a career in this field one day. 

Role Model: The American actor Johnny Depp, Timothy Hollingsworth – an American chef and restaurateur, and veteran chefs Mark Best and Shane Osborn, two Australian based Chefs. 

Reading: The Dwarves by Markus Heitz 

Craig Munemo
Beverage & Barista, 32

I am a positive minded person who puts passion and dedication in everything I do.  I look forward to learn new skills and improve my knowledge to advance my career.

In Five Years: I see myself as a knowledgeable professional having an in-depth knowledge of the food and beverage industry.

Role Model: My mother. I learned from her what is required to succeed in life. She inspired me to work hard, love and respect to all.

Reading: Binge by Tyler Oakley

Chevonne van Rooyen
Beverage & Barista, 17

Hardworking and eager to learn.

In Five Years: I’d like to see myself working on cruise ships.

Role Model: My mom is my greatest role model as she is a very independent lady.

Reading: Nomhlekabo My Chosen One by Kedibone Dire

Martinique Meyer
Beverage & Barista, 20

I’d describe myself as having a good personality and being very communicative.

In Five Years: I would like to see myself working as a hotel manager in the next five years or perhaps working on cruise ships.

Role Model: My mother because she was a chef in a very high position and she gives me lots of motivation. 

Reading: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

Kgaogelo Magopane
Beverage, 22

I’m a self-disciplined, motivated individual who strives to succeed in any task I perform.

In Five Years: I would like to see myself starting my establishment where I can make the food I love and go for the stars as a young woman starting in the hospitality industry. 

Role Model: Would have to be someone I’ve grown up around, someone I’ve learnt so much from and someone I took my love for cooking from – that would have to be my mother! She has done so much in her life and mine that she made it easy for me to choose her as my role model.

Reading: Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson

Bongani Zazaza

I am a self-motivated and solution-driven individual with a vigour to learn.

In Five Years: I would like to have achieved a multi-skills set, which would allow me to hold a senior position in the hospitality industry and travel the world to learn more and expand my horizon. 

Role Model: Thomas Keller, the reason I started my journey as a chef and seeing his work on videos made me believe in myself and motivated me to live a life with purpose.

Reading: The Purpose Driven Life by Pastor Rick Warren

Don Johnson Nkomo
Beverage, 28

They say money makes the world go round but I now believe food makes the world go around! I say this because not only do we all need food to survive, but because eating and dining is an essential part of any family or chefs’ life.

My name is Don Johnson Nkomo, 28 years old, I am from Zimbabwe. I came to The Hurst Campus to study to be a chef, but little did I know just how big the world of food is. I realize now that I knew nothing at all.

My first week in Cape Town was rough. No sooner had I arrived than I received the news that my beloved great grandmother who was like a mother and father to me, had passed away. That really shook and shaped me because money was tight, I could not go back for the funeral. 

I told myself that I will work extremely hard on what I came here to do and succeed.

The first few months were hard because I did not know anyone and most of the food techniques and ingredients were new to me. I struggled with my first internship and almost gave up, but I kept pushing and now I am really enjoying what I do. My 2nd internship at Tokara has been so different and because of my previous experiences and encouraging mentors I have found my feet. Chef Carolize, Head Chef at Tokara, also studied at The Hurst Campus so I have witnessed first-hand what is possible with a solid foundation, dedication and a few more years of hard work.

I started going to wine farms last year and I fell in love with it. Now every moment I get, I try to go to different one to learn as much as I can. We are very privileged in Paarl because there is a lot of them near the campus. 

I don’t really have a lot of childhood memories when it comes to food because I grew up in a family that ate simple food and had little culinary knowledge. Though, I remember my great grandmother making rice pudding for us which we didn’t really like. That is something I have thought about recreating in memory of her as soon as I have enough knowledge to put a modern, palatable twist on it.

In Five Years: I am dreaming of traveling the world to learn about different food cultures. I am inspired to then put all the knowledge in my arsenal to good use, and when I get the chance, to open my very own high-class restaurants around Africa.

I want the other African countries to get to know about the wonderful food experiences available globally and right on their doorstep.

Cara Kleynhans

I am Cara Kleynhans and am enrolled as a student at The Hurst Campus Chef School in the Paarl. Currently tackling my 2nd year of studying towards the completion of the 3 Year Advanced Programme in Culinary Arts and Food & Beverage Service.

I am originally from Krugersdorp but so enjoy living in the Cape. After leaving school at 18, I decided to pursue my dream to become a classical pianist. I finished my undergraduate and postgraduate studies in piano performance at the Universities of Stellenbosch and Pretoria in 2011. After completing my studies, I was a common feature of the many South African concert series and taught piano and the violin at various South African schools.

The love of food and coffee came early to me, since this together with beautiful music and special company make for particularly good times. All things both joyful and stressful can be processed over a good Cup of Joe in the Kleynhans family home. In the Kleynhans vocabulary the word “coffee” equates to “currency”.

I have embraced becoming a student again with an open heart. It can have its challenges but the rewards of learning the finer details of baking, pastry, the bustling environment of the hot kitchen and the art of front of house service keep me focused on my ‘new’ future and career.

I am resolute in becoming the best version of myself, whether it be in the kitchen or front of house.

So super excited to have been selected as a brand ambassador by The Hurst Campus and having the opportunity of being part of this prestigious annual competition.”

See More… Mount Nelson Reaching For Young Stars YouTube Playlist

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