Both Clifford Ross, recently retired CEO of the City Lodge Hotel Group, and new COO Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo were recognised at the South African Chefs Association President’s Awards this year. They were among just 8 recipients of the awards, which honours individuals who have given over 25 years of service to, and had a far-reaching impact on, the hospitality industry.

“Having spent 44 wonderful years in the hospitality industry, it is indeed a great honour and privilege to be recognised by the SA Chefs Association and I am sincerely humbled by this magnanimous gesture,” says Clifford.

Lindiwe says she was taken by surprise at receiving this award, adding, “As the medal was hung around my neck by Chef Stephen Billingham, my eyes brimmed with tears of joy as I remembered my father asking me 33 years ago whether I had lost my mind when I explained to him I wanted a career in hotels.”

The awards, which take place every 2 years, marked the last official duty of outgoing SA Chefs President Stephen Billingham, with Chef James Khoza voted in as president earlier this year.

Fellow 2018 Award Recipients are:

  • Sharmaine Dixon aka Chef Dixie, chef, lecturer and entrepreneur, and past owner of 1000 Hills Chefs School in KwaZulu-Natal
  • Dr Reinie Mornet, veteran hotelier and past director of the Technikon of Witwatersrand Hotel School, which relocated and was renamed the School of Tourism & Hospitality at the University of Johannesburg
  • Gilbert Lebea, previously assistant lecturer in mass catering at the School of Tourism & Hospitality and prior to that a cook in the main kitchen at the Hotel School Hostel in Smit Street
  • Vijay Loosen, national sales and marketing director of Sir Fruit, and veteran retailer to the hospitality industry
  • Peter Dalzell, Tsebo Solutions Group head of learning and development, responsible for the development of some 40 000 staff across four sectors and three SETAs
  • Gillian Saunders, special advisor to the Minister of Tourism and previously deputy CEO, head of advisory services and global leader for hospitality and tourism at Grant Thornton

Pictured: (From left) Tony Balabanoff, CLHG divisional director: operations; Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo, CLHG chief operating officer; Heinz Brunner, SA Chefs honorary president; Zuki Jantjies, CLHG divisional director: sales & marketing.