Who are these innovative chefs garnering attention in this year’s Inter Hotel Challenge, sponsored by HEINEKEN Beverages? They define their essence in a single sentence, unveil their ambitions for the future, highlight their role models, and spotlight the traits they hold in high esteem. We advocate for cultivating a love for reading, embracing both enjoyment and learning. Our chefs are sharing their current literary interests as we delve into uplifting narratives that serve as beacons of inspiration, offering a hopeful glimpse into what lies ahead.
PROTEA HOTEL BY MARRIOTT ® CAPE TOWN WATERFRONT BREAKWATER LODGE
I am a persistent warrior chef, always eager to learn new skills and grow in my craft. I come from an impoverished background, but I’ve used what I had to make things work. Someone once told me that ‘The world is your oyster,’ and that is the adage I live by.
In five years, I envision myself working overseas in a Michelin-star restaurant. I will strive to earn those stars for my restaurant in my role as Head Chef.
French chefs inspire me; figures like Paul Bocuse and Raymond Blanc have left a lasting impression on me. The chefs in Cape Town are also exceptional, and I’ve learned a great deal from them.
Massimo Bottura is one of my favorite authors and a restaurateur. He is the chef patron of Osteria Francescana. His vast knowledge and inspiring recipes ignite my creativity. I aspire to become one of the best chefs in South Africa.
Omayya Ismail (F&B Manager), Gina Marziani (Head Pastry Chef), Phathiswa Plaatjie (Pastry Chef) and Siyanda Kuzani (Chef) The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa
THE TWELVE APOSTLES HOTEL & SPA
I’m a person with strong interpersonal skills and the ability to get along well with others. I enjoy challenges and am always seeking creative solutions to problems. I believe in values and actions that define one’s character. I learn quickly from my mistakes and am confident in my abilities.
My goal is to complete our internal training modules and further my training to reach a senior position, which aligns with my top career aspiration. Additionally, I aspire to work abroad for a few years.
Chef Ken Hom, Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, Marcus Wareing, and Monica Galetti are my role models.
I have a passion for cookbooks and am currently reading Gordon Ramsay’s Great British Pub Food, Jamie’s Dinners, and The Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking by Linda Collister.
Xolane Zwene (Chef), Nadia Sibanda (Wine Steward), Thapelo Tladi (F&B Manager), Charles Maboshigo (Barista), Ntombizodwa Maphila (Pastry Chef) and Derrick Brink (Executive Chef), Ivory Manor Boutique Hotel
IVORY MANOR BOUTIQUE HOTEL
I would describe myself as a hardworking chef who is eager to learn as much as possible about the hospitality industry.
In five years, I envision myself as an Executive Sous Chef and running my own pop-up restaurant to supplement my income.
Chef Siyebuleleh Kabo and Chef Derrick Brink inspire me to become a better chef.
Currently, I’m reading Lettuce and a Lady’s Breast by Billy Gallagher.
Guest Speaker James Khoza (Executive Chef, Sandton Sun & Towers) with S’fundo Siyanda Zikalala (Wine Steward),
Thabo Letsholo (Mentor Chef), Mbongeni Mapumulo (Candidate Chef)
SANDTON SUN & TOWERS
I am a very dedicated person who loves his job and enjoys giving back to junior chefs by training and developing their skills.
Over the next 5 years, I would love to see myself as an Executive Chef within the group.
My inspirational figures include Chef James Khoza, the late Chef Billy Gallagher, Chef Gerard Vingerling, and Chef Shimmy Sello. They are very focused and, with their extensive experience within the industry, they excel in executing their menus.
I’m currently reading Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Cornelius Suthse (Candidate Chef, Sun City Convention Centre)
Thapelo Letsogo (Executive Chef, Toadbury Hall Country Hotel) with Chantel Senekal of Lancewood
SUN CITY CONVENTION CENTRE HOTEL
I am a highly skilled chef who is confident in the kitchen and a strong team player. I believe in learning from others. I have an open mind and am eager to learn new things every day.
In the next five years, I see myself as a Sous Chef, actively working on self-improvement to reach the position of Executive Chef and publish my own book featuring creative menus.
I draw inspiration from my Executive Chef, Jaco Truter, who impresses me with his exceptional management skills and teamwork. He leads by example, displaying great patience with his staff and a willingness to develop and teach them new skills.
Currently, I’m reading Professional Cookery by Wayne Gisslen.
Priyen Pillay (Chef) and Phakeme Zondi (F&B Manager, Southern Sun The Edward) with Ashwin Jose (Hotel Manager, The Oyster Box)
SOUTHERN SUN THE EDWARD
I am a young, energetic individual who is passionate about the culinary industry. I love learning new things, am always up for a challenge, and have a very creative mind.
In the next five years, I envision myself as a chef de partie, mastering molecular gastronomy, opening my own restaurant, and traveling the world.
Heston Blumenthal is one of my inspirations. He is highly creative and pushes the boundaries in culinary arts. His unique perspective on the food industry challenges conventions.
SOUTHERN SUN THE CULLINAN
I would describe myself as someone who is open to new experiences in life.
Over the next five years, I aspire to travel the globe, immerse myself in various kitchens, and continue learning.
My role models are my sous chefs, Dorliga and Bruce, who have supported me since the beginning of my career and continue to stand by my side.
I am currently reading The Larousse Gastronomique by Prosper Montagné.
TAJ CAPE TOWN
I’m a people person, bubbly, and humble. I’m hardworking and passionate about my career, always setting goals.
In the next five years, I see myself in London as a travel chef.
My mother is hardworking and taught me a lot. She helped me become the person I am today, wise and strong.
Priyen Pillay (Chef, Southern Sun The Edward) Notha Maphumulo (Chef, The Beverly Hills), Thando Mahlekelele (Pastry Chef Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani) and André Harvey (Chef, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani)
SOUTHERN SUN ELANGENI & MAHARANI
I am a diligent, hardworking person who is honest and loyal, with a passion for cooking. Cooking was instilled in me at an early age, and I fell in love with it. Learning new things alongside experienced chefs brings me great joy.
In the next five years, I see myself as an integral part of the kitchen brigade, creating new recipes, and eventually owning a kitchen of my own.
My late grandmother inspired me. She was hardworking, very creative, and from a young age, she taught me to put effort and flavor into my food, always cooking with love.
Currently, I’m reading Along Came a Spider by James Patterson.
The Oyster Box Team; Kishan Gokul (Head Concierge), Senzo Khumalo (Baker), Samkelisiwe Fortunate Nyandu (Barista), Theodore Snyman (Concierge), Alicia Murugan (Pastry Chef) and Tyra-Lynn Gail Taylor (Chef)
TYRA-LYNN GAIL TAYLOR
THE OYSTER BOX
I am an individual who has been using cooking as an escape, and my passion for it grows stronger with each passing day.
In the next five years, I envision myself in the UK or Canada, running a small café that serves South Africa’s finest cuisine.
My grandmother and my father are my inspirations. My grandmother showed me how food can mend all issues, and my father consistently worked hard to provide for us and ensure we received a good education.
Currently, I’m reading Sherlock Holmes: A Study in Scarlet’ by Arthur Conan Doyle.
YANDISA NEVILLE MPONGWANA
THE PRESIDENT HOTEL
I am a hard worker and a team player with a passion for food.
In the next five years, I aspire to run my own kitchen or become a head chef for one of the big companies.
Chef Gordon Ramsay is an inspiration. He has a deep passion for food and technique.
THE SILO HOTEL
I am bubbly, introverted, possess a great personality, and am known for being funny and witty.
In the next five years, I would like to open a small café.
My parents have put in a lot of effort to support my education and way of life, and they have also instilled in me important values and morals.
Currently, I’m reading The Map of Life by William Edward Hartpole Lecky.
Njabulo Prince Zondo (Wine Steward), Romeo Mlambo (F&B Manager), Tshepang Mohafa (Barista), Thato Prudence Sigoalo (Chef), Pleasure Shaku (Concierge), Nosipho Maphumulo (Pastry Chef & Baker) and Sihle Dlamini (Executive Sous Chef)
InterContinental Johannesburg O.R. Tambo
THATO PRUDENCE SIGOALO
INTERCONTINENTAL JOHANNESBURG O.R. TAMBO
I would describe myself as a very determined and highly motivated person who is also fun to work with.
In the next five years, I see myself continuing to grow in my career and taking on more responsibilities within our company by leveraging the expertise I have gained from working in this industry.
My Sous Chef, Sihle Dlamini, is my role model. All great chefs aren’t born great; they become great due to their knowledge, skills, creativity, determination, and talent, and Chef Sihle is one of them.
I love reading recipe books.
Eric Labuschagne (Candidate Chef), Megan Conradie (Pastry Chef) with Executive Sous Chef Moizyll Baatjies and Chef Hopewell Buthelezi (Marriott Johannesburg Hotel Melrose Arch)
MARRIOTT ® JOHANNESBURG HOTEL MELROSE ARCH
I’m always willing to learn and have a good sense of humor.
My goal is to become a highly skilled hot kitchen chef.
My role models are Jamie Oliver and my fellow South African, Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, especially since Jan received a Michelin Star.
Currently, I’m reading White Heat’ by Marco Pierre White.
NOZIBUSISO INGRID NOMPUMELELO MAPHALALA
54 ON BATH
I am results-driven, trustworthy, an effective leader, and a team player.
Over the next five years, I plan to continue developing both professionally and personally. I intend to achieve this by completing more training and development courses and taking on challenging projects to enhance my skills and earn qualifications that will enable me to start my own company.
I draw inspiration from all African chefs, especially my senior chefs.
Currently, I’m reading Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons in Life by Richard Branson.
Vuyani Mabaleng (Pastry Chef) & Omphile Lohanga (Chef) The Palace of the Lost City
OMPHILE BRIDGET LOHANGA
THE PALACE OF THE LOST CITY
I am a very friendly person, always smiling. I am an enthusiastic and dynamic young qualified chef.
My career objective is to be an integral part of a dynamic organisation in which my enthusiasm and hard work will contribute to the success of both the organisation and myself. I aspire to become one of the executive leaders in a well-known large hotel or to have my own restaurant.
My college lecturer, Mr. Meyer, has been instrumental in shaping me into the person I am today. He has provided me with guidance and encouragement. My aspiration is to be part of a strong hospitality team that promotes creative skills, critical thinking, and collaboration as its modus operandi to create value, giving us a competitive edge.
TOADBURY HALL COUNTRY HOTEL (No pic)
I am a respectful person, always eager to learn and strive for excellence.
I envision myself as a professional chef.
I draw inspiration from many chefs, including Chef Teboha and numerous others from African Lodge.
Executive Sous Chef Stanley Skosana and Chef Itumeleng John Mogale
ITUMELENG JOHN MOGALE
SUN CITY HOTEL, SUN CITY RESORT
I am a passionate chef who thrives on challenges. I believe in working smart, and I constantly seek opportunities for growth in everything I do.
Currently, I work in a five-star fine dining restaurant with the aim of becoming a Chef de Cuisine, where I can create the most amazing dishes and menus.
My role model is my Executive Sous Chef, Stanley Skosana. He maintains a positive attitude no matter the circumstances and always finds a way to achieve our goals.
I’m currently reading How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman
SOUTHERN SUN ARABELLA HOTEL, GOLF AND SPA
I am calm, hardworking, passionate, and attentive.
In five years, I would like to be working in a cruise ship in a senior-level position.
Gordon Ramsay is a master of culinary art.
Lee-Anne Lundell Pick n Pay and Notha Maphumulo (Chef, Beverly Hills)
NOTHA LANDIZIPHO MAPHUMULO
I would like to describe myself as a passionate, confident, and creative chef with the skills to plan menus, prepare outstanding food, manage budgets, and deliver quality service to your customers.
I envision myself exploring the diverse cuisines of the world.
Wandile Mabaso is a chef who brings Michelin star skills to South Africa’s shores by creating his own African cuisine, inspiring me to work my way up.
Currently, I’m reading Rick Stein At Home.
DYLAN CRAIG HENDRICKS
QUEEN VICTORIA HOTEL & MANOR HOUSE WATERFRONT
I am a hardworking individual who is committed to my work, and I have a deep love for food.
In the next five years, I envision myself in a higher position and starting my own restaurant.
I look up to Gordon Ramsay because of the way he runs his kitchen and his creativity with food.
Currently, I’m reading Gordon Ramsay’s cookbooks.
KEELYN BIANCA SCHEEPERS
SOUTHERN SUN CAPE SUN
I am an honest, kind, and hardworking individual, and I find comfort in the kitchen like nowhere else.
In five years, I would like to be traveling and exploring the different and unique cultures around the world in the hope of discovering my specialty and eventually opening a restaurant in Cape Town.
My mother is my inspiration. She has been my guiding light, offering support and making endless sacrifices throughout my life. Her wisdom and guidance have taught me valuable lessons about life, love, and resilience. Her unwavering belief in me has given me the confidence to pursue my dreams and embrace my true potential.
Currently, I’m reading The Housemaid by Freida McFadden.
More to come…