Redlands Hotel chef’s winter menu takes top honour in ‘cook-off’

2010-06-28 00:00

REDLANDS Hotel chef Deno Sodalay took top honours on Saturday when he won the Hirsch’s Cook-Off, beating two other prominent Pietermaritzburg chefs.

Sodalay, along with Devika Jadoo from Curry Court and Victoria Country Club’s Jonathan Kalika, were given one hour and a work space in Hirsch’s showroom to whip up a sumptuous, “winter warmers”-themed three-course meal. They competed, in front of a mesmerised audience, for a state-of-the-art Elba gas stove.

Sodalay’s menu of Asian spiced duck breast, wilted spinach and orange marmalade on angel hair pasta for starters; rustic lamb rack with cinnamon honeyed butternut mash and a mint sauce for main; and decadent chocolate fondant for dessert, won the judges over.

He said he carefully chose his menu according to the theme. “I thought about the types of food that really embody winter, and this was what I came up with,” he said.

Although quite at home in the kit­chen, Sodalay admitted to being slightly unnerved at the thought of cooking in front of the enthralled crowd. “All these people watching me made me quite nervous, I’m used to being in the kitchen,” he laughed. “But all I did was keep my head down and concentrate on what I was doing,” he said.

CEO of Pietermaritzburg Tourism and judge Melanie Veness said she was delighted with her job for the day.

“It was really such a treat to taste all these amazing dishes,” she said.

Veness said Pietermaritzburg should be proud of its foodies.

“There is a huge amount of talent in our city; all three of these chefs are incredible in their own right, and I really think this is proof that we have a lot to offer on the food front.”

Perhaps the only person with a bigger smile than Sodalay’s at the end of the event, was Redlands general manager Paul Laing. “We pride ourselves in our exceptional menu, and Deno really showed our diversity today,” Laing said.

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