The four chefs shortlisted for the Sunday Times Chef of the Year come from renowned establishments in Cape Town and Johannesburg. They are Henrico Grobbelaar, executive chef at Lady Philips Restaurant in Cape Town, Joseph Govender, sous chef at the Cape’s Table Bay Hotel, Jodi-Anne Pearton, owner of The Food Design Agency in Johannesburg and Tammy Henton, head chef at Arnold Tanzer’s Food on the Move, also based in Johannesburg.
The four finalists made a significant impression on the judges with their outstanding entries. The Food Awards, in association with Foodcorp, in its third year running, is made up of three competitions – The Chef of the Year, Young Chef of the Year and The Chef School Challenge.
The four chefs shortlisted for the Young Chef of The Year are all first-time entrants. They are Leon Jones, a commis (entry level) chef at the Table Bay Hotel, Gina Rebok, a commis chef at the Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town, Ryan Howie, another commis chef from the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg and Reiner May, a Chef de Partie.
Chef School Challenge
Last year’s Chef School Challenge winner, Silwood School of Cookery in Cape Town, has proved its status once again as one of the shortlisted schools for 2009. They will be up against 1000 Hills Chef School, situated 40km outside of Durban, in the final on Wednesday, 2 September.
Sunday Times editors have been closely involved this year, with food editor Hillary Biller and Andrew Unsworth, editor of the Travel and Food supplement, both forming part of the judging panel for the three competitions.
Amidst heaps of entrants for all three competitions, the candidates who stood out were those that presented their entries with style and class.
“The shortlisted chefs and schools went that extra mile to ensure their menus were impeccably presented leaving lasting impressions on all of the judges. Another very important criterion, that wasn’t met by all of the entrants, was their individual reflection of the African theme in their menus. The shortlisted finalists all had unique dishes including innovative twists of the African theme,” says Sunday Times food editor, Hillary Biller.
The overriding theme for all three competitions this year is ‘reflecting flavours of the African continent’. The competitions will run over two days in a series of cook-offs. On Wednesday, September 2 the Chef School challenge will take place with the two finalist schools. The following day, Thursday September 3, the Young Chef and the Chef of the Year cook-offs culminate at a cocktail party awards ceremony on Thursday evening. All the cook-offs will happen in the 7th Floor's exquisitely designed 'kitchen'.