Culinary students’ skills put to the test

One&Only resort head sommelier Luvo Ntezo inspecting wine at a presentation.

Seven culinary schools are competing in the Reaching for Young Stars competition, which started at the One&Only hotel last Wednesday, May 26.

The culinary and hospitality competition doubles as workshops where the students can learn from industry leaders and judges including Julietta e Silva, Rudi Liebenberg, Reuben Riffel, Alison Douglas, Tarryn van der Toorn and Luvo Ntezo.

Competitors will be judged in various categories ranging from cooking, presentation as well as food and wine pairing.

“This competition is important because it brings about future leaders of our industry, it exposes them to the best and to be the best. We want the young ones to look at the best chefs and sommeliers and to confidently say we can be better than them, that’s how we improve this industry,” said One&Only ambassador and sommelier Luvo Ntezo.

The competition ends on Tuesday July 27 with the announcement of the winners and prizes at an awards evening at the One&Only.

Mr Ntezo says during this time the students must show passion and adhere to the basics.

“Most of the things we judge them on are things they have learnt at school, wear your uniform, look the part, be punctual, be prepared, speak with clarity yet not loud, smile, we are in hospitality,” Mr Ntezo said.

Leo de Smidt and Lisle Stopforth from International Hotel School with One&Only head sommelier and competition judge Luvo Ntezo.

The competitors represent Capsicum Culinary Studio, Chefs Training and Innovation Academy (CTIA), IHT Hotel School, International Hotel School, The Cape Town Hotel School (Part of the Faculty of Business Management Sciences of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology), The Hurst Campus and Eziko Cooking and Catering Training Centre (Langa).

“We are happy to be here, we are here to compete, to win,” said Eziko Cooking and Catering Training Centre director, Eugene Roxo.

“We have two students here that I believe will make us proud. They have been taught the same skills but they don’t have the exposure that the city provides compared to what we have in Langa. We are happy to be part of this competition and it’s their first time here so they are excited to participate, to learn and to make a mark. So I have complete faith in them.”

Eziko Director and chef Eugene Roxo with Wendy Maliwa and Mcebisi Macingwana.