The industry gathered at a glittering Gala Dinner Awards function for the results of the annual Distell Inter Hotel Challenge, now in its sixth year. The aim of the challenge is to promote the hotel industry’s culture of excellence, and sees hotel teams competing across culinary and service categories. This year, the gala dinner awards were attended by not only the who’s who of the hospitality industry, but also Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom as well as Director General Victor Tharage who have been hugely supportive of the competition. Here are a few pictures of the night:

MENTOR OF THE YEAR, Sandi Richmond Chef de Cuisine at Reuben’s One&Only Cape Town with Asst. Chef Sarah de Villiers and Chef of the Year SIYA MOLEFE. Huge congratulations in addition for winning the Lancewood Best Dessert prize and the best Food & Wine Pairing with Durbanville Hills Rhinofields Noble Late Harvest!

Samantha Swartz, Wine Steward of the Year! Here with proud F&B Manager Hilton Ruch and Sommelier Gregory Mutambe (The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa) who teamed with Plaisir de Merle & Van Ryn’s winning meaningful bursaries from Distell, a brilliant travel experience and more!

Runner-Up Best Wine Steward Alvezo Abrahams, Cape Grace (1st Place Cape Wine Academy Examination result tied with Veronique Booysen, Taj Cape Town) with Wine Steward of the Year 2017 Michelle Swart, NH The Lord Charles, guest speaker, having just returned from her overseas trip with Distell! NH Hotels have awarded the ‘Chef of the Year 2018’ a three-week intense mentorship with the cream of their Michelin star Chefs in Amsterdam, flying the royal way with KLM!

Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom with James Khoza (Executive Chef Sandton Sun and President of the Chefs Association) with Chief Judge Heinz Brunner past Vice-Chairman of the World Body of Chefs and team manager of the Culinary Olympics 2016!

Sue Rosenberg, Victor Tharage (Director General, Department of Tourism), Jeff Rosenberg (Chairman FEDHASA, Cape Region) and Petunia Tharage.

Tsogo Sun Gauteng Team (Sandton Sun & The Palazzo) Candidate Chef Taneille Ellis with ‘Most Promising Bio-Wheat Baker of the Year’ Alessandria Jordan who wins a two week mentorship programme with Belmond Mount Nelson, Head Pastry Chef Craig Hibbert and four times winner, Togara Mabharani Belmond Mount Nelson) travelling with British Airways operated by Comair.

Litha Salimani, Attie Schultz (F&B Manager), Deputy GM Southern Sun Waterfront, Mercia Horn with Runner-Up Best Chef Xhamela Marawu with mentor Juan Neethling (Executive Chef and Jacques Moolman (GM Southern Sun Waterfront). Winning an exceptional bursary from the International Hotel School, KitchenAid, Avanti Cash Award, Scanpan, Global Knives and much more!