Spotlight on Success: Meet the Winners

Hats Off to the Champions! Check out all the photos of the candidates and highlights from the awards event here!

Hot Chef HUWITT STRYDOM, 22
Capsicum Culinary Studio 

“I am a young warrior chef, always on the lookout for new things to learn. I am a persistent and goal-oriented individual. I’ll stand tall and show the world what I’m made of. In the next five years, I envision myself owning my own 20-seater fine dining restaurant in Cape Town. I will strive to become one of the greatest chefs in the world. 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. I’m currently reading ‘Institut Paul Bocuse Gastronomique’.”

Hot Chef GILLIAN ZENDA, 21
CTIA – Chefs Training & Innovation Academy

“I am a bubbly soul. I walk into a room and strive to make a difference.
In the next five years, I see myself in a kitchen, expanding my knowledge, working on bettering myself as a chef, while also focusing on my business plan. My parents are my role models. They have taught me how to work hard for the life I want. Nothing good in life comes easy. They have also taught me to give back to my community and those in need, and not to be selfish. I’m reading ‘Finding Me’ by Viola Davis.”

Hot Chef MZIMASI GONTSHI, 23
Cooktastic

“I’m a young, dynamic chef who would like to have a positive impact on the culinary landscape. I see myself owning two famous restaurants, including a fine dining and catering company, and one of the best chef schools in the world. Gordon Ramsay and Brandon Coetzee are inspirations to me because of their techniques when it comes to food and their passion. I’m reading ‘Chef’s Table: Concepts and Recipes for Gathering’ by Sonya Keister.”

Hot Chef MUSA NTANTISO, 27
Cape Town Hotel School, part of the Faculty of Business Management Sciences of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, CPUT

“Entertaining is my passion. In the next five years, I would like to start my own beverage brand. My sister is my role model. She has taught me the importance of chasing your dreams and to never give up. I’m reading ‘Atomic Habits’ by James Clear.”

Hot Chef KENNY CHIVANDIRE, 19
International Hotel School

“I would describe myself as a driven, open, and honest individual willing to explore. In the next five years, I aim to work in a Michelin-star establishment in Europe. My role model is Chef Curtis Duffy; he works hard and does not settle for average. I’m reading ‘5 Ingredients Mediterranean’ by Jamie Oliver.”

Pastry Chef KAYLA REINDERS, 18
International Hotel School

“I am an inquisitive, creative person who likes to be challenged. I would like to be overseas to experience different cultures of food and learn how to incorporate them into my own style. Amaury Guichon is my role model and inspiration.  I like keeping up with the trends, and Amaury always comes up with new, exciting concepts. I love his eye for detail and creating new pastry ideas. I’m reading ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’ by Stephen R. Covey.”

Pastry Chef TSHWANELO KOOSENTSE, 21
Cape Town Hotel School, part of the Faculty of Business Management Sciences of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, CPUT

“I am a bubbly, curious, and passionate person, always eager to connect and explore new ideas and experiences. In the next five years, I’d like to have a home bakery. Nara Smith is my role model. She always cooks for her family, making food from scratch. I’m reading ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ by Robert T. Kiyosaki.” 

Pastry Chef TSHEPANG CHAUKE, 19
CTIA – Chefs Training & Innovation Academy

“I’m hardworking, and I really push myself and won’t allow inconveniences to break me down. In the next five years, I would like to be a Sous Chef as well as starting my own business. My Grandmother is my role model.  She has persevered as a single mother and worked really hard to get what she wanted and I want to work as hard to earn what I want. I’m reading ‘The Purpose of Driven Life’ by Rick Warren.”

Pastry Chef MUHAMMAD MOLLAGEE, 20
Capsicum Culinary Studio

“Dedicated, motivated, and hardworking, but stubborn, rigid, and short-tempered. I aspire to work at a 4 or 5-star restaurant in the Mediterranean or Middle East. My role model is the Prophet Muhammad (saw) because I am Muslim, and I believe he is the best of all creation. Additionally, my father serves as my role model because I have never met a man more selfless and hardworking than him. I’m reading ‘The Wheel of Time – Book 1’ by Robert Jordan.” 

Baker RYAN FLANDORP, 26
Capsicum Culinary Studio 

“I would describe myself as a blank canvas that is always open to learning new things. In the next five years, I would like to be travelling the world and learning new things. My mother and father are my role models. They have made me the person I am today. They are the most hardworking people I know. I’m reading ‘Joshua Weissman: Texture Over Taste’.”

Baker ANELE VELEM, 24
Northlink TVET College Protea Campus

“I am passionate, hard-working, and always observing. In the next five years, I would love to work as a pastry chef in one of the finest restaurants. Cédric Grolet is my role model. His baking style and the way he showcases his skills is admirable. I’m reading ‘Almost Paradise’ by Susan Isaacs.”

Baker AMYNA SALOMO, 25
Cooktastic


“I am a vibrant, inspired young woman who loves baking and wants to travel the world, grow, shine, and never give up. In five years, I want to own a coffee shop where I serve all kinds of healthy breads and pastries—a beautiful place for people to gather and connect over a cup of coffee. Chef Rohan Mudenda, I love his way of working with people. He’s such a great leader and chef, and I’ve learned so much from him. His approach to leadership inspires me greatly. I want to be like him. I’m reading ‘Foodies of South Africa, Kitchen Shortcuts’ – Quivertree Publications by Jean Winshaw, Kelsey Cobie and Cassidy Nydahl.”

Beverage DANIÈLE STRYDOM, 20
CTIA – Chefs Training & Innovation Academy

“I am straightforward, kind, and hardworking. I would like to have started planning my business in the next five years. Chef Wesley Aucamp  was my first mentor in the industry and he  really taught me a lot. I’m enjoying reading the ‘Larousse Cookbook’.”

Beverage  BONGANI ZAZAZA, 24
Superyacht Culinary Academy

“I am dedicated, loyal, hardworking, and outspoken. I would like to open a coffee shop and bar. Cristiano Ronaldo is my inspiration; he is hardworking.
I’m reading ‘Stoicism: A Guide To Stoic Philosophy For Beginners; Learn How To Achieve Modern Life Happiness With Ancient Wisdom’ by Sharon Nash.”

Beverage NURAAN HENDRICKS, 26
False Bay TVET College

“I am a very hardworking, committed, and friendly person. In the next five years, I would like to work in the front of house on a cruise liner. One of my role models is Sol Kerzner. I admire the influence he has on the hospitality industry and hope to one day do the same. I’m reading’ The Extra One Percent’ by Dr. Rob Yeung.”

Beverage NKOSIKHONA SANDI, 24
Cape Town Hotel School, part of the Faculty of Business Management Sciences of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, CPUT

“I am optimistic about pursuing a career in hospitality in Monaco. My role model is Refiloe Maele Phoolo, professionally known as Cassper Nyovest, is a South African rapper, songwriter, entrepreneur, record producer and amateur boxer. He is the only South African artist to fill up different stadiums. I’m reading ‘The 48 Laws of Power’ by Robert Greene.”

Beverage NICOLE BOLAND, 20
International Hotel School

I am a positivity-driven, creative dreamer with a drive to push my limits and challenge normal standards. In the next five years, I would like to have started my own events company, branching into weddings in Cape Town. My role model is my sister because of her drive and dedication; she will do anything to achieve her goals. As well as Anna Nguyen, who advocates for cultural diversity and women in the bartending industry. However, I believe every day one should aspire to be their ideal role model. I’m reading ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ by Robert T. Kiyosaki.”

Barista AQEEL HOOSAIN, 16
False Bay TVET College

“Driven and soft by nature, I am very passionate about what I do. I aspire to serve the best coffees on Royal Caribbean Cruises. I draw inspiration from Dritan Alsela, a famous barista from Germany. His passion for coffee fuels my own passion and artwork for coffee. Currently, I am reading ‘The Boy Who Never Gave Up: A Refugee’s Epic Journey’ by Emmanuel Taban.”

Barista THOMAS LIDSTONE, 20
International Hotel School

“I would describe myself as passionate. In five years, I would like to be a Housekeeping Manager somewhere in Europe. My dad is my role model. He is the hardest worker I know and always shows up, and my brother for never giving up. I’m reading ‘Rich Dad Poor Dad’ by Robert Kiyosaki.”

Barista CLINTON STROEBEL, 48
CTIA – Chefs Training & Innovation Academy

“I always strive to do better. I would like to be a Sous Chef in the next five years. My role model is Pierre Gagnaire – Do see https://pierregagnaire.com/en/pages/esprit-gagnaire. I’m reading ‘The Blue Mansion: The Story of Mandarin Splendour Reborn’ by Lin Lee Loh-Lim.”

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The Reaching for Young Stars is the primary platform in the Western Cape where culinary academies present their most gifted young students, all competing for prestigious recognition.

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