HONOURING EXCELLENCE

Dynamic MC Wendy Coetzee of Showcook, Verona Naidoo, Director of Talent and Culture for Sub-Saharan Africa at Accor, and Renato Lardelli, Hotel General Manager at Century City Conference Centre & Hotels, extended a warm welcome to the nominees, industry guests, and our esteemed Keynote Speaker, the Deputy Mayor of Cape Town, Eddie Andrews at the Century City Conference Centre. In his address, Deputy Mayor Andrews commended the initiative for its outstanding contribution to nurturing young culinary talent and emphasised the importance of such programs in fostering the next generation of industry leaders. His presence underscored the significant support and recognition from regional leadership, further highlighting the awards’ impact on the local and international culinary scene.

“The winners of the Cape Grace Reaching For Young Stars awards will soon embark on a transformative journey to the United States and France for international mentorship programs. This opportunity is expected to be life-changing,” says co-organizer Chania Morritt-Smith of Showcook.com. 

Together with culinary expert Annette Kesler, they started the annual initiative 16 years ago to nurture and showcase young culinary talent. Over the years, this program has witnessed numerous students successfully carve out a place for themselves in the hospitality industry. Many have risen to notable prominence, spearheading innovation and establishing new benchmarks within this demanding yet rewarding field. This trend persists, and the community of accomplished young people continues to grow and expand their horizons. This year’s winners will have the chance to work with renowned chefs, gain invaluable industry insights, and bring back innovative techniques to their home kitchens.

“We acknowledge the indispensable support of the leading culinary academies in the Western Cape, highlighting the pivotal role played by their dedicated principals and academic heads. Their interest and enthusiasm has significantly contributed to the success of the initiative and its current impact,” says Annette Kesler.

A strong focus is placed on promoting eco-sustainability by raising awareness of the excellent work that WWF-SA is doing especially with SASSI and their emphasis on zero waste practices, reducing the use of single-use plastics. Pavitray Pillay, Environmental Behaviour Change Practitioner & WWF-SASSI Manager says, ”WWF-SASSI maintains that the chefs, and young upcoming chefs can transform the culinary industry environmentally and socially.  With our food systems in crisis, chefs can make the changes, leading the way, safeguarding our natural resources, ensuring that we have healthy, sustainable food into the future.” 

The importance of expertise in beverages, whether in wine stewardship or barista skills, is gaining greater prominence. Wine stewardship has an established reputation throughout the hospitality industry. The academies are continuing to provide ongoing intensive training and producing excellent results throughout, while the Cape region is increasingly recognized as being the coffee capital of South Africa, and baristas are in demand for their proficiency and expertise.

“The NYDA is an honoured and proud partner of the Cape Grace Reaching For Young Stars. We must pay attention to these stars of our industry and ensure the sharing of skills and abilities, critical for our future as an industry. It is vital that prizes offer global travel to experience other cultures and pass on much that they have learned to their own workplaces. We are delighted to continue our Business Management courses to fast track bursaries for possible entrepreneurship. They will be eligible to request financial assistance having completed the first stage of the programme.” – Micarlo Malan Western Cape Regional Manager, Operations of the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) 

SA Chefs Association Judge Joceyln Myers Adams provided her valuable skills. We appreciate the cooperation and interest that is being shown by the SA Chefs Association.  What we see as a future objective is the entering of one of our major star pastry and hot kitchen chefs winning a place on the SA Culinary Olympic Team. 

The candidates drawn from various academies were fortunate to be partnered with prominent winemakers from great wine estates of the Cape who were both forthcoming and encouraging. Giving our blossoming students inspiration for a possible career in wine.

CAPE TOWN HOTEL SCHOOL, PART OF THE CAPE PENINSULA UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY, CPUT & VAN LOVEREN FAMILY VINEYARDS 
CAPSICUM CULINARY STUDIO & ANTHONIJ RUPERT WYNE 
CHEFS TRAINING & INNOVATION ACADEMY, CTIA & NEETHLINGSHOF ESTATE 
COOKTASTIC & KWV WINES
FALSE BAY TVET COLLEGE & SIMONSIG WINE ESTATE
INTERNATIONAL HOTEL SCHOOL & KLEINE ZALZE WINE ESTATE
NORTHLINK TVET COLLEGE & SUTHERLAND VINEYARDS
SUPERYACHT CULINARY ACADEMY & STELLENZICHT WINES 

Generous suppliers of superb local ingredients made this competition possible and what was even more appreciated was the degree of participation and keen interest during the various workshops. Very special thanks to Avanti Coffee, Bio-Wheat, ClemenGold®, Imagin, Denny Mushrooms, Früt SA, KWV Brandy, Lancewood, Lurpak Butter, Chorizo  and the newly launched Namibian Lamb Bacon and by Hartlief Continental Meat Products and Farmer’s Meat Market, a division of Ohlthaver & List Group. and Rio Largo Olive Oil.

 

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About CAPE GRACE, A FAIRMONT MANAGED HOTEL
The distinctive Fairmont Managed Hotel, Cape Grace is part of Accor. A French multinational hospitality company that owns, manages and franchises hotels, resorts and vacation properties. It is the largest hospitality company in Europe, and the sixth largest hospitality company worldwide. Accor operates in 5,445 locations in over 110 countries.

About CENTURY CITY CONFERENCE CENTRE 
Voted Africa’s most sustainable venue in 2019, the Century City Conference Centre stands out as Cape Town’s only conference facility developed within a mixed-use development, earning a 4-Star Green Star Certification from the Green Building Council of South Africa. The Century City Conference Centre offers a comprehensive, all-encompassing solution for the conferencing and event needs of corporate clients and professional organisations. It can accommodate up to 1,900 guests across 20 thoughtfully designed spaces, set within a first-world, New Urban environment that is centrally located.

About SHOWCOOK
Showcook.com is an online platform dedicated to the culinary arts and the hospitality industry. It aims to celebrate and showcase the richness of culinary talent, fine dining, and high-quality food and beverage products. The platform serves as a hub for food enthusiasts, culinary professionals, and anyone interested in the gastronomic world, offering a variety of content that ranges from recipes and cooking tips to in-depth articles on food and wine, chef interviews, and industry news.

Showcook has a particular focus on promoting local and international culinary talent, sustainable and ethical food practices, and the importance of quality ingredients. It often features profiles of chefs, highlights from culinary competitions, and insights into the operations of top restaurants. The site may also provide coverage of food and wine events, cooking classes, and workshops, aiming to educate and inspire its audience about the art and science of cooking.

An important aspect of Showcook’s mission is to support the development of young culinary talent. This is evident in its involvement with culinary competitions and initiatives like the “Reaching for Young Stars” program in South Africa, which provides a platform for culinary and hospitality students to showcase their skills and gain recognition. Through such initiatives, Showcook contributes to nurturing the next generation of chefs and hospitality professionals.

Showcook.com is not just a resource for professionals within the hospitality industry but also for home cooks and food lovers looking to expand their culinary knowledge and skills. By offering a blend of educational content, industry insights, and culinary inspiration, Showcook aims to foster a deeper appreciation for the culinary arts and to encourage a more thoughtful and sustainable approach to food and dining.

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