The competition sees five young, budding chefs from hotels around South Africa being selected from the many entrants to take part in a beat the clock, mystery basket challenge. Each of the selected participants spent a month with their selected mentor, learning the art of mastering their passion, tips and most importantly time management under pressure in the kitchen. The result – a starter and main course, plated and presented to the judges for their scrutiny.
“Mastering time in the kitchen environment is all about mastering your passion,” says Michel Mellis, MD of Unilever Food Solutions in South Africa. “It’s about maintaining control of all aspects of the food preparation process at all times; even in the most challenging circumstances.”
Entrants needed to fulfill a number of requirements to be selected for the competition, such as being under the age of 25 and need to have been working in the hotel industry for three or more years. The grand prize – a trip to London valued at R 50 000 to experience some of the world’s top rated Michelin restaurants.
The 5 mentors are culinary legends in their own right – Craig Cormack of All Things Culinary in Cape Town; Dion Vengatass, Sous Chef at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town; Executive Chef James Khoza of the Sandton Convention Centre; Executive Chef Stuart Cason Area Executive Chef of Sub Saharan Africa, Radisson Blu Hotel; and Executive Chef Leon Hatton-Jones of Hilton in Namibia.
“As Unilever Food Solutions, we believe in giving back to the industry by developing talent. We also believe that there is a need for young chefs to be mentored. The Master your Passion—Mentorship Movement competition gives senior chefs the opportunity to take the lead and be part of the mentorship movement – and nominate their young chefs,” explains Mellis.
Well done to the winner, Abdul Fredericks of Southern Sun Cape Sun in Cape Town, who was nominated by Chef Alfred Henry and was mentored by Stuart Cason of Radisson Blu Gautrain Hotel.
A very big shout out to Unilever for their participation, as these sorts of events require involvement from not only a monetary aspect, but also ingredients etc and I am already looking forward to the 2016 competition. Transferal of skills is key – and this is one of those events that not only creates publicity, but leaves those involved in a better place than when they started. And we like that.
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