On Tuesday the 19th of October, the South African Senior and Junior National Culinary Teams left South Africa to compete against 32 other nations in the IKA Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany. The Olympics are taking place from 22 – 25th October, where the teams will have six hours to prepare their three-course menus to serve 110 people, and we wish these fantastic chefs all the best of luck!

“The IKA Culinary Olympics is the oldest and most prestigious global culinary competition; an event that, like the sporting Olympics, takes place only once every four years. The South African National Culinary Team is honoured to participate once again. They have been hard at work for four years, fine-tuning and practicing our Olympic menu to prepare ourselves for one of the toughest challenges on the culinary calendar,” explains the President of the South African Chefs Association, Stephen Billingham.

The chefs on the South African National Culinary Team are:

  • Henrico Grobbelaar of Southern Sun The Cullinan
  • Dion Vengatass of Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel
  • Blake Anderson of 3SIXTY and Billy G, Montecasino
  • Trevor Boyd of Michelangelo Hotel
  • Minette Smith of HTA School of Culinary Art
  • Kirstin Hellemann of Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel
  • Arno Ralph of Lindt & Sprungli SA

The Junior Team under the guidance of Klaus Beckmann

  • Zandria Platt
  • Tayla Schou
  • Thabang Masango
  • Thapelo Aphane
  • Jasmin Marsal
  • Tevin Evans

In the spirit of the wording on the team emblem “Masakhane” – which means let’s build each other – the South African National Culinary Team is inviting the nation to follow their journey to the IKA Culinary Olympics on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram under their newly-launched hashtag #SAOlympicChef.

“A strong show of support and interest on social media by our fellow South Africans and foodies will give our team a tremendous boost towards bringing home the gold. Messages of encouragement should include the hashtag #SAOlympicChef,” adds team manager Heinz Brunner. The South African National Culinary Team brought back a gold medal in the Hot Kitchen section in 2008 – the first gold to be won by South Africa in 16 years. In the same year, the South African National Culinary Team was awarded the official South African team status by the Department of Arts and Culture’s Bureau of Heraldry.

“We are going to the Olympics as proud ambassadors of South Africa and representatives of a great heritage of culinary excellence in this country,” says Brunner. “We will put in all the necessary hours to do our country proud – and we’re delighted at the growing support we are getting from people within the culinary industry and from the general public. It’s inspiring!”

Both the Senior and Junior South African National Culinary Teams will be participating in the IKA Culinary Olympics under the auspices of the South African Chefs Association. Their Senior Team’s participation has been made possible through the generous sponsorship of headline sponsor LSC/Imperial, along with partners City Lodge Hotel Group, ChefWorks, Turn ‘n Slice and N1 Restaurant Suppliers.

The Junior Team’s participation has been made possible through sponsorship of BOSASA, Sir Fruit, Sun International: The Maslow and The Palace, Turn ‘n Slice, Ecolab, Braeside Meats and Maestro Chef.

You can follow their journey on facebook, twitter and instagram and show your support by using the hashtag #SAOlympicChef