In an exhilarating culinary showdown spanning three cities – Johannesburg, Durban and CapeTown – the semi-finals of the RCL Foods Young Chef & Baker Challenge 2023, held on September 14, 2023, showcased the exceptional skills and creativity of young chefs and bakers from various culinary training programmes across South Africa.

Amidst fierce competition, the top three teams from each Semi-Final event have emerged victorious, securing their coveted places in the forthcoming National Finals. The stakes are high at the national final, with generous cash prizes awaiting the top three teams – R30 000 for the first placed team, R20 000 for the second place, and R15 000 for the third placed team.

These talented culinary enthusiasts, all aged under 27, impressed judges with their culinary creativity, precision, and teamwork:

Western Cape:

  • Catherine Sainsbury and Robert Zituta (Silwood School of Cookery)
  • Gillian Zenda and Tshepang Chauke (Chefs Training & Innovation Academy – CTIA)
  • Wade Pheko and Tamia Pienaar (West Coast College – Hospitality School)

Gauteng:

  • Travis Hilton Elske and Milan Taylor Jacobs (Prue Leith Culinary Institute)
  • Marco Fourie and Kylene (Sade) Zietsman (Chefs Training & Innovation Academy – CTIA)
  • Marna Brandt and Micaela Ntuli (Chefs Training & Innovation Academy – CTIA)

KwaZulu-Natal:

  • Mohammed Ebrahim and Jean Pierre Pistorius (Chefs Training & Innovation Academy – CTIA)
  • Amaara Sulaiman and Lalana Santana Pillay (Capsicum Culinary Studio)
  • Siphokazi Zondo and Emmah Moloi (1000 Hills Chef School)

Chef Bradley Kavanagh, Head Chef of RCL FOODS, emphasised the importance of culinary competitions in developing and fostering young talent, stating, “Culinary competitions like the RCL FOODS Young Chef & Baker Challenge play a crucial role in nurturing and honing the skills of our young chefs and bakers. These competitions provide a platform for emerging talents to shine and grow.”

Chef James Khoza, President of SA Chefs, praised the semi-finalists, saying, “Amidst a pool of exceptional talent, the journey to culinary excellence has reached an exhilarating point as we proudly announce the selection of the RCL FOODS Young Chef & Baker . The calibre of entries we’ve received is a true testament to the passion and dedication that South African chefs pour into their craft.”

The National Finals, scheduled for October 12, 2023, will bring together these exceptional young culinary talents from diverse backgrounds to compete for the top honours. The SA Chefs judges, comprised of seasoned culinary professionals, will evaluate the teams’ culinary creations using a specially designed application for food competition judging. Each dish will be scrutinised for creativity, presentation, and adherence to the competition’s requirement of incorporating RCL Foods, Rainbow, Siqalo Foods, and/or LiveKindly ingredients.

For more information, keep an eye on the RCL FOODS Your Food Partners page.