Chef ‘mystery basket’ finalists announced

2016-09-20 06:00

AT the end of the close-run Unilever Food Solutions Chef of the Year mystery basket national finals, the winners to emerge are Henrico Grobbelaar from Tsogo Sun’s Southern Sun The Cullinan (Cape Town) in the Senior Category and Richard Ellis from 1000 Hills Chefs School (Durban) in the junior category, taking the prizes from six other finalists in each of the categories at Unilever Food Solutions’ head office in Durban on 8 September.

Grobbelaar’s top prize for the Senior Chef of the Year title is R20 000 and Ellis’s prize for the Junior Chef of the Year title is R15 000.

For Junior Chef of the Year, Aaron Subroyal from 1000 Hills Chefs School in KZN won R7 000 in second place and Amerae Vercueil from Ameroozle in Johannesburg won R5 000 in third place.

Participants in the Junior and Senior categories of this year’s Chef of the Year were required to create recipes using Unilever Food Solutions products for a starter, main course and dessert, with accompanying photographs. These recipes were assessed by an experienced judging panel and the regional finalists took part in the regional final cook-offs in July in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban respectively, bringing the finalist numbers down to seven in each category.

“Our heartiest congratulations to all the finalists and particularly to the winning chefs in each category on what was a nerve-racking challenge producing world-class dishes,” says Remco Bol, MD of Unilever Food Solutions South Africa.

“Our theme for this year was ‘A Cut Above’ which by all accounts inspired chefs from all over the country to enter highly innovative and tasty recipes in the competition. The end result was a powerful line-up of top calibre chefs going head to head in both categories in the final cook-off, giving our judging panel the difficult task of identifying the top chefs.”

The judges in the senior category included Garth Shnier (Executive Chef of Sandton Sun, InterContinental Johannesburg Sandton Towers and Sandton Convention Centre) as the head judge, Tony Kocke (Beverly Hills), Warren Frantz (Ushaka Marine World), and Shaun Smith (Fusion Cooking School) as the kitchen judge. In the Junior Category they were Desmond Davies (International Convention Centre, Durban), Nardia Adams (Fudart), Clinton Bonhomme (Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani), and Sean Webber (Bravo Foods) as the kitchen judge.

Junior Chef of the Year, Richard Ellis’s dishes were pan fried salmon, scallop ceviche, tartare foam, thyme granita and vegetables finished in beurre monte finished in smoke for starter; braised pork belly, roast vegetables, cauliflower puree, pomme crumpet, rosemary caramel, beetroot jus and duxelles for main course; and sable pastry tart, meringue and poached fruit with red wine melting peppered candy floss sauce for dessert.

Craig Elliott, Executive Head Chef of Unilever Food Solutions, said: “The Chef of the Year challenge has boosted many careers over its auspicious 40-year history and we’re delighted that the prestige of the competition this year was significantly enhanced by the quality of the entries and entrants who strived for the renowned Chef of the Year titles.” - Supplied.

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