In this article by SA Chefs President James Khoza, who is also the Sandton Sun Executive Chef, Banqueting and Conferencing, and a Hostex Ambassador, shares the reimagined focus of SA Chefs going forward – and what visitors can look forward to at Hostex 2022

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” Martin Luther King Jr.

The SA Chefs Association has always taken its responsibility to its members and the wider cheffing sector seriously – and now, as we glimpse a brighter future beyond the pandemic, we recognise the need for the association to transform and be more relevant and sustainable in our ‘new normal’.

The Covid pandemic changed how people live and how business operates. The future is about adaptability, agility, and for SA Chefs, we’re now more than before being driven by the needs and expectations of our membership.

The association’s leadership’s role is to be innovative and strategic forward planners who will grow the membership, even in difficult times, and enable our chefs to be resilient and sustainable.

It is with this mindset that we’re approaching the offering and features on our Skillery stand at Hostex 2022. We will be guided by hope and faith in the future, and doing what’s right for our membership.

SA Chefs’ work starts with membership interests and ends with membership satisfaction – and Hostex 2022 will our launch pad.

SA Chefs reimagined

We are reimagining SA Chefs – which is fuelling redesign. We’re embracing a reimagined SA Chefs with three key principles in place – membership, product, revenue and profit.


We’re exploring and expanding our understanding of membership choices. Do we position human needs and behaviours at the centre of our innovation process, refining the new insights through experimentation and prototyping? Can we use data science to better understand our membership and their needs and expectations? How do we engage the whole ecosystem of our diverse membership categories in a positive manner for all?

We believe that through meticulous attention to SA Chefs’ reinvented operating system, we will deliver a repackaged experience that better serves our membership.


We’re committed to defining exactly what our product entails and how we work. Do we have a ‘secret ingredient’ that we offer our industry, and if so, what is it? What are we good at? How can we create improved social cohesion in our cheffing community?

Revenue and profit

To help our members turn behaviours into profitability, we must adopt a start-up mindset to recover revenue. To achieve the full value of a redesigned SA Chefs’ offering, there must be a willingness to reorganise and make sure that transformation happens at scale.

This means ‘smashing the iron rice bowl’ and restructuring and realigning the interests of SA Chefs, incorporating collaboration, communication, and a powerful sense of personal accountability. It also requires greater levels of transparency to mitigate possible apprehension.

To be implemented

Implementation will entail a strong focus on membership, partners, government, and other industry bodies and individuals who can help to grow the association. We believe that impactful and strategic collaboration will assist the association to turn around more rapidly.

Watch some of the highlights from Hostex 2020:

At Hostex 2022

The Skillery at Hostex 2022 will deliver an educational edge, aiming to provide solutions to the challenges that the cheffing community has faced through the pandemic.

Our focus on membership will reimagine SA Chefs to evolve from traditional ideologies and embrace what is current and real, re-awakening South Africa’s culinary giant. Our industry needs to know it can trust its stakeholders, and at Hostex, SA Chefs will help to instil confidence that together with the industry, we will turn things around. Other features at the Skillery will include:

  • Space for small businesses to showcase their products and services.
  • Chef demos by experts representing various membership categories of SA Chefs.
  • South African cuisine demonstrated by high-level chefs who elevate it to fine dining menus.
  • Sustainable cuisine, such as plant-based foods, on display.
  • Ready, steady, cook competitions.
  • SA Chefs leadership, who will be on hand to meet and greet our membership.
  • Sustainability that will be addressed through SA Chefs’ Chefs with Compassion initiative.
  • Leading speakers who will tackle wide-ranging and relevant topics that include entrepreneurship, women in the culinary sector, is a diploma enough for a chef graduate, restaurant operations, digitisation and robotics, South African cuisine, cooking vs management for the post-pandemic chef, is sustainability worth it, price dilemma, surviving future threats to business, and more.

See you at the Skillery

We look forward to engagement, support, insights and contributions from the wider hospitality, food and drink industry at the Skillery at Hostex.

To find out more about Hostex, click here.