WINNERS OF 2023 INTER HOTEL CHALLENGE ANNOUNCED 

“They’re smart, ambitious, and primed for success,” said Millicent Maroga, corporate affairs director for HEINEKEN Beverages, of the newest generation of Inter Hotel Challenge (IHC) winners. “It’s our view that when you show talent and determination, every effort should be made to help you get ahead,” she said regarding the gala event at which the national winners were announced. 

“It’s a win-win all round. The challenge is structured to fast-track training in hotel and restaurant services. That raises hospitality standards, expands job creation, and promotes economic inclusion. It’s an opportunity for all the sponsors to cultivate brand ambassadors and it also helps South Africa to offer local and international tourists a world-class experience, enhancing the country’s competitiveness as a foremost travel destination.”  

HEINEKEN Beverages is the lead sponsor of the annual national competition that identifies potential hospitality talent and then provides preparatory training and mentorship for all participants.  

Among the other IHC sponsors are the National Youth Development Agency, Pick n Pay, Lancewood, KitchenAid, ScanPan, Global Knives, International Hotel School, IIE School of Hospitality & Service Management, The Diamond Works Institute, Penguin Random House and Avanti Coffee. For cheffing competitors using seafood, it was mandatory to choose from WWF/SASSI-approved options with the excellent use of Rio Largo olive oil, LemonGold and Bio-Wheat who follow sustainable farming practices.

This year, a total of 26 hotel chains and boutique establishments in the major metropoles and other top tourist destinations put forward their best and brightest for the challenge. As a condition of entry, they all had to attend workshops in their respective fields, presented in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban by leading experts.  

Participants then competed across a variety of hotel and restaurant services categories, from wine stewards and mixologists to chefs and pastry chefs, bakers, baristas, concierges and more.  The judges, all seasoned professionals, and many of whom have been IHC judges for several years, were unanimous in their praise of the standard of entries this year. 

Said Chania Morritt-Smith, co-founder of the IHC in 2012: “Across the board, standards have continued to rise year after year.”   

This year’s biggest prizes were awarded to the IHC’s top wine steward, chef and pastry chef. They have all won travel opportunities outside South Africa. 

The 2023 IHC Wine Steward of the Year is Nkanyiso Zikhali of the KwaZulu-Natal boutique hotel, The Oyster Box. The one-time waiter and specialty wine shop assistant will be flying to Amsterdam, for a whirlwind exposure to the city’s fine dining milieu and wine retailing. He will be joining Margot Janse’s acclaimed SAAM restaurant, exploring the culture of the city, visiting museums and learning more about the HEINEKEN brand. “The Netherlands is a key source of international tourists for our country. What better way than to experience how they pair their wine and food at home and learn about the wines to which they exposed. That will give Nkanyiso valuable context in building his career,” said Maroga. 

His prize also includes bursaries from the Sommeliers’ Academy and South African Sommeliers Association (SASA). 

Cornelius Suthse of the Sun City Convention Centre took the title of Chef of the Year. Currently a commis chef, he hopes to see his career trajectory accelerated by his three-week internship with O&L Leisure Hotels & Lodges at Swakopmund’s upmarket Strand Hotel, that is a popular Namibian tourist spot. 

Phathiswa Plaatjie of The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, along Cape Town’s Atlantic seaboard, is a pastry chef de partie. Her prize includes three weeks at Château de La Creuzette in Boussac, France. Courtesy of Lancewood.  

The Most Up & Coming Wine Steward and winner of The Wonga Award, was Londeka Mkhize of Durban’s Beverly Hills Hotel, who earned an International Hotel School online bursary worth R30 000.  

Wasseem Carrim, CEO of the National Youth Development Agency, said tourism was a critical growth engine of the South African economy. “It provides quality and meaningful opportunities for young people, which is why we support the challenge with such pride.”

Inter Hotel Challenge, sponsored by HEINEKEN Beverages
See Prizes
To access images, click here for the Winners
For the Prize Giving Awards evening here!

INTER HOTEL CHALLENGE WINE STEWARD OF THE YEAR 2023:  
1st Nkanyiso Zikhali (The Oyster Box) 
2nd Lucian Hendricks (Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, Cape Town) 
3rd Ashley Klassen (Queen Victoria Hotel)

MOST PROMISING WINE STEWARD: Njabulo Prince Zondo (InterContinental Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) 

MOST UP & COMING WINE STEWARD ‘THE WONGA AWARD’: Londeka Mkhize (Beverly Hills) 

EXQUISITE SERVICE: Sinalo Yanga Ngubo (54 on Bath)

BEST COCKTAIL 
1st Nkanyiso Zikhali (The Oyster Box)
2nd Lucian Hendricks (Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, Cape Town) 
3rd Ashley Klassen (Queen Victoria Hotel)

ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: Nadia Sibanda Ivory Manor Boutique Hotel 

Cape Wine Academy Top Performers
Lucian Hendricks (Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, Cape Town) 100% 
Nadia Sibanda (Ivory Manor Boutique Hotel) 97%  
Wandile Mpakumupaku (The President Hotel) 95% 
Sibusiso Khumalo (Durban ICC) 90%
Njabulo Prince Zondo (InterContinental Johannesburg O.R. Tambo) 87% 

Sommeliers’ Academy Top Performers
Ashley Klassen (Queen Victoria Hotel) 94,83%
Sibusiso Khumalo (Durban ICC) 94,83%
Nadia Sibanda (Ivory Manor Boutique Hotel) 93,1%
Siyanda Craig Mthethwa (Southern Sun The Edward) 91,38% 
Sinalo Yanga Ngubo (54 on Bath) 89,66%

CHEF OF THE YEAR: 
1st Cornelius Suthse (Sun City Convention Centre)
2nd Keelyn Scheepers (Southern Sun Cape Sun)
3rd Huwitt Strydom (Protea Hotel by Marriott Cape Town Waterfront Breakwater Lodge) 

THE RIO LARGO MOST PROMISING CHEF:
Shantel Ndlovu (The Silo Hotel) 

SCANPAN EXCELLENT KITCHEN PRACTICE:
Hot Chef Cornelius Suthse (Sun City Convention Centre)
Pastry Chef Thando Mahlekelele (Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani) 

LANCEWOOD PASTRY CHEF OF THE YEAR:
1st Phathiswa Plaatjie (The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa)  
2nd Flora Lebogang Takai (Sun City Convention Centre) 
3rd Nokubonga Dladla (Beverly Hills) 

MOST PROMISING PASTRY CHEF:
Lingelihle Tshemese (Arabella Hotel, Golf & Spa)  

KITCHENAID AFRICA BIO-WHEAT BAKER OF THE YEAR:
Senzo Khumalo (The Oyster Box) 
Wiseman Manshele (Durban ICC) 
Wandile Shange (Southern Sun The Cullinan) 

MOST PROMISING BAKER:
Lindiwe Masango (Toadbury Hall Country Hotel) 

TOP THREE AVANTI SA BARISTAS: 
Gauteng & North West Province
1st Vusumzi Sithole (54 on Bath) 
2nd Mpoe Charles Maboshigo (Ivory Manor Boutique Hotel
3rd Vuyo Kenneth Zuma (Sun City Convention Centre) 

Western Cape
1st Pumla Hanise (Arabella Hotel & Spa) 
2nd Siyabonga Kunene (The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa) 
3rd Nandipha Msindeli (Southern Sun The Cullinan) 

KwaZulu-Natal
1st Samkelisiwe Nyandu (Oyster Box Hotel) 
2nd Sfundo Mhlongo (Beverly Hills Hotel)  
3rd Tracy Colbeck (Durban ICC)

BEST FOOD & WINE PAIRING: 
Dishes using Lancewood, Bio-Wheat, Rio Largo Olive Oil Rio Largo Lemon infused Olive Oil, LemonGold with WWF-SASSI green list fish, Fish4Africa, Pick n Pay and Lurpak butter 

Starter: Chef Keelyn Scheepers & Wine Steward Ruaan van Helden (Southern Sun Cape Sun) 

Fish4Africa WWF-SASSI green list Cape Yellowtail tartare | avocado salsa | charcoal tuille | dill cream cheese | Nederburg Double Barrel gluhwein jelly & herb oil
~ Nederburg The Winemasters Chardonnay 2022

Main: Chef Itumeleng John Mogale & Wine Steward Richard Mannafela (Sun City Hotel)  

Potato and courgette ravioli | capsicum sauce | Rio Largo basil oil | Lancewood sour cream | beetroot dust | micro greens
~ Nederburg The Winemasters Chardonnay 2022 

Dessert: Pastry Chef Nokubonga Dladla &Wine Steward Londeka Mkhize (Beverly Hills)  

Lancewood Coconut mousse | LemonGold curd | Passion fruit compote | Coconut tuile | Caramelised Italian meringue | Lemon Chantilly cream | Pineapple 
~ Pongrácz Demi Sec MCC

WWF-SA WWF-SASSI Environment Awareness Award
The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa 

SHOWCOOK MAN OF THE MATCH:
Christo Pretorius (The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa)

MENTOR OF THE YEAR:
Jaco Truter (Sun City Convention Centre) 

CONCIERGE OF THE YEAR:   
1st Pleasure Shaku (InterContinental Johannesburg O.R. Tambo)
2nd Robyn Ann Dyer (The Oyster Collection) & Thokozile Gazi (The Lagoon Beach Hotel)
3rd Mkuseli Innocent Vanqa (TAJ Cape Town) 

THE KITCHENAID AFRICA BEST TEAM AWARD (presented by Dr Susanne Reuther of KitchenAid Africa): Sun City Convention Centre Hotel, Sun City Resort 
GM: Nombuso Buthelezi
Executive chef: Jaco Truter  
F&B manager: Patrick Carty 
Kitchen coordinator: Thabang Mogole
Executive assistant: Tshepiso Melato  
Wine steward: Christopher Tshepo Nawe
Chef: Cornelius Suthse
Pastry chef: Flora Lebogang Takai
Baker: Letta Kgothatso Sebokoane
Barista: Vuyo Kenneth Zuma

GENERAL MANAGER OF THE YEAR: Madeleine Roux (54 On Bath, Southern Sun)  

Judges: 
Wine and spirit service: Sandy Harper (CWM) and Jean Vincent Ridon (sommelier)  
Wine and food pairing: Aubrey Ngcungama, Deon Roets, Wanda Cronje (CWM), Germain Lehodey (sommelier), Kristina Beuthner (CWM), Karen Bloom (CWM) and Mark O’Flaherty 
Food/cheffing skills: Hugh von Zahn, Jocelyn Meyers-Adams, Fatima Stanley and Elsu Gericke  
Kitchen skills: Julietta e Silva Overmeyer, Marlon de Freitas, Candice Adams, Ukhonaye Mconi, Nandile Bongekile Mtshaha and Sharon Visagie 
Barista skills: Oz Davids, Johandré Delport, Caroline Ncube, Ree Moya, Malusi Ngwane, Wayne Abrahams, Paddington Chivare and Shaakira Mohamed 
Concierge skills: Horst Frehse, Jeff Rosenberg, Lorna Gourlay, Mike Waller, Tarryn Tomlinson and John de Canha 

#HeinekenSA | #InterHotelChallenge2023 | Showcook

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