Chef of the Year: Part 1

Six of South Africa's top chefs will compete in the exclusive 'Chef of the Year' competition. The focus falls on Chris van Wyk, Leonard Loxton and Arnold Tanzar this week.

by: South African Chefs Association | 19 Mar 2007

These chefs were handpicked by Unilever Foodsolutions for their contribution to the food industry and their outstanding culinary talent. They will stand the chance to win the ultimate prize cash of R30 000.

Chris van Wyk
Chris van Wyk is a graduate of the Southern Sun in-house training and of the Apex Chef School in Benoni. His career history includes five years with Southern Sun, followed by a stint in Germany and six years at the Fancourt Hotel in George. He left his position as Executive Chef of Fancourt five years ago to start his own business, aptly named 'Amaqueta Foods', which is the Zulu word for a man who has come of age.

Van Wyk now supplies over forty lines of pre-prepared food to Pick 'n Pay delicatessens in the Western Cape and caters for various upmarket functions in the area.

He has been a member of South Africa’s National Culinary Team since 1991 when he competed in Singapore. He rejoined the team from 1998 to 2000, competing in Luxembourg and Switzerland, winning gold for South Africa, and in the IKA Culinary Olympics in Germany. He also represented South Africa in the prestigious Bocuse d’Or in Lyon in 1998, and has competed in various local competitions.

Leonard Loxton
He started his career as a trainee chef at Southern Sun, completing his studies at the Johannesburg International Hotel School. Before joining Compass Group SA, he was executive chef at German restaurant Zum Alten Fritz, where after he managed different kitchens in retirement villages.

Since joining Compass Group SA, he has gone from strength to strength and is currently employed as Project Manager at Microsoft SA. Loxton has entered and won many renowned local competitions in the last three years, the latest of which was the Unilever Foodsolutions Senior Chef of the Year in 2005.

Arnold Tanzer
Born in the Netherlands, Tanzer began his culinary career in 1989, working at various hotels and restaurants in Holland, including the two star Michelin Hotel Corona.

He also worked aboard various Holland America cruise liners and was chef to one of Michael Douglas, before joining Londolozi Game Reserve.

From 1999 to 2001, his company, Outta the Blue, conceptualised and implemented hospitality concepts for top restaurants, including Georges on 4th, Bite, Circle and Moyo, as well as luxury game lodges, small hotels and guest houses across Africa.

In 2001, he opened The Delicatessen, an upmarket food store and restaurant. He now runs a consultancy focusing on menu and food development for the industry and management of unique corporate events for private and corporate chefs tables in Johannesburg. Tanzer is also a lecturer at the Prue Leith College of Food & Wine and vice president of the South African Chefs Association (SACA). He also holds the position of Continental Director on behalf of the World Association of Cooks Societies for Africa and the Middle East.

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