RCL FOODS, in partnership with SA Chefs Association (SA Chefs), is proud to unveil the exceptional young culinary talents who have earned their place in the regional semi-finals of the RCL FOODS Young Chefs & Young Bakers Challenge 2023. The competition is dedicated to cultivating the careers of the country’s most promising culinary students.

Selected from a pool of outstanding entries from across the nation, these semi-finalists represent the cream of the crop among South Africa’s future culinary leaders, showcasing their outstanding skills and unwavering passion for the culinary arts.Their culinary journeys have now propelled them to the semi-final round, which will be held simultaneously on 14 September in Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town.

RCL FOODS Young Chefs & Young Bakers Challenge 2023

RCL Foods Young Chefs Competition Winners 2022, Nicole Bowes and Matthew Maree from Silwood School of Cookery with James Khoza (President of SA Chefs Association), Stewart Jones (customer marketing executive, RCL FOODS) and Brad Kavanagh (Head Chef, RCL FOODS)

The selected semi-finalists are as follows:

Western Cape:

  • Luke King and James Ovendale (Silwood School of Cookery)
  • Catherine Sainsbury and Robert Zituta (Silwood School of Cookery)
  • Gillian Zenda and Tshepang Chauke (Chefs Training & Innovation Academy -CTIA)
  • Leo Brierley-Bekker and Finlay Lochtie (Silwood School of Cookery)
  • Samuel Doveyand Andrea du Plessis (Silwood School of Cookery)
  • Liam Francis Ellis and Aviwe Matsha (Capsicum Culinary Studio Nelson Mandela Bay)
  • Patience Muzungu and Vimbainashe Mazhindu (International Hotel School)
  • Wade Pheko and Tamia Pienaar (West Coast College – Hospitality School)
  • Natascha Jones and Anzio Jones (Capsicum Culinary Studio)
  • Mushfiq Karriem and Bernice Kefuoe Bitsoane (Capsicum Culinary Studio)


  • Natalie Carstens and Xolisile Mahlungu (HTA School of Culinary Art)
  • Travis Hilton Elske and Milan Taylor Jacobs (Prue Leith Culinary Institute)
  • Hlobisa Mkhize and Kamogelo Papo (Capsicum Culinary Studio Rosebank)
  • Makgobokele Nchabeleng and Thato Amese (Chefs Training & Innovation Academy – CTIA)
  • Marco Fourie and Sade Zietsman (Chefs Training & Innovation Academy – CTIA)
  • Nqobile Ntando Simelane and Cheryl Manana Ncube (Johannesburg Culinary & Pastry School – JCPS)
  • Danielle Wachter and Sahil Singh (HTA School of Culinary Art)
  • Marna Brandt and Micaela Ntuli (Chefs Training & Innovation Academy – CTIA)
  • Reitumetse Gomolemo Phala and Luthando Trinity Mbuli (Capital Hotel School)
  • Nozipho Khanyile and Lebone Photo (International Hotel School)


  • Mohammed Ebrahim and JeanPierre Pistorius (Chefs Training & Innovation Academy – CTIA)
  • Cayla Leigh Jansen and Louis Hardus Grundling (1000 Hills Chef School)
  • Amaara Sulaiman and Lalana Santana Pillay (Capsicum Culinary Studio)
  • Siphokazi Zondo and Emmah Moloi (1000 Hills Chef School)
  • Malindi Mashaba and Mphephile Madlala (Chefs Training & Innovation Academy – CTIA)
  • Aphiwe Siphokazi Zuma and Sive Siphiwokwakhe Bhembe (1000 Hills Chef School)
  • Matt Acton and Angela Dzerefos (1000 Hills Chef School)
  • Itumeleng Mabeko and Brianne Frankson (MasterChef Academy)
  • Mariska Blaauw and Michelle Jansen van Vuuren (FBI Chef School)
  • Bokamatso Mothupi and Lesedi Letsatsi (FBI Chef School)

These gifted young chefs and bakers will face an exciting challenge as they navigate the semi-finals. The competition will take the form of a Mystery Basket-style event, where teams must showcase their culinary artistry by preparing three courses, namely a Bread Course, Restaurant Main Course and Restaurant Dessert Course. The heat will be on, as the chefs battle the clock to present their three-courses to the SA Chefs judges in the allocated time frame.

Chef James Khoza, President of SA Chefs, remarked on the exceptional talent displayed by these 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 our RCL semi-finalists. The calibre of entries we’ve received is a true testament to the passion and dedication that South African chefs pour into their craft.

“He added, “The excitement surrounding the upcoming semi-finals is noticeable, as we witness the culmination of hard work, innovation, and a shared commitment to pushing culinary boundaries. Each semi-finalist embodies the spirit of creativity and mastery that is at the heart of our culinary community. We’re eager to showcase their talents and celebrate their journey towards becoming the next generation of culinary leaders.

“The RCL FOODS Young Chefs & Bakers Challenge 2023 continues to provide a dynamic platform for emerging culinary talents, pushing boundaries, and fostering innovation within South Africa’s culinary landscape.

RCL FOODS Young Chefs & Young Bakers Challenge 2023

RCL FOODS Young Chef & Baker Challenge 2022 competitors in action


RCL FOODS is a leading South African food manufacturer employing over 21 000 people, producing a wide range of branded and private label food products which we distribute through our own route-to-market supply chain specialist, Vector. Our strategy is founded on a clear sense of who we are and where we are going as a business. We aim to create the future Our Way – driven by Our Passion and Our Ambition and guided by Our Values.