All four titles in this year’s most prestigious chef competition, the Unilever Foodsolutions Chef of the Year, which was held on Friday in Durban, have been scooped by women – a notable achievement in an industry traditionally dominated by men.
Proving their skill, creativity and culinary talent in the most exciting mystery basket cook-off of the year, Dilene Cranna, a self-employed pastry chef walked away with the title of Senior Chef of the Year, while Belinda Angelo of the 1000 Hills Chef School in Durban was awarded the Junior title.
The Team of Four award was won by the Radisson Blu Hotel in Port Elizabeth, represented by a team consisting of a female chef, Rozanne Dos Sates, team manager Stuart Cason, junior chef Clarice Biljohn and waiter Sangren Moodley.
Earlier this year, the prestigious By Invitation Only category, with a cash prize of R40 000, was won by Jodi-Ann Pearton of the Food Design Agency.
The Unilever Foodsolutions Chef of the Year competition attracted entries from some of the most promising Junior and Team of Four chefs in the country, as well as international talent in the Senior category for the first time ever, as chefs from Egypt and Dubai were among the six Senior finalists. The standard of entry in all three categories was exceptionally high as these talented chefs compete for their share of R90 000 in cash!
Senior category winner
In the Senior category, one of the most exciting ever, with the inclusion of three international finalists competing against our highly creative and innovative South African trendsetters for top honours – Dilene Cranna, took first place, a R15 000 cash prize and the overall title of Unilever Foodsolutions Chef of the Year 2009. Sharmaine Dixon placed second, winning R10 000, and Candice Philip came third, winning R5 000.
Junior category winner
The Junior Chef of the Year was won by Belinda Angelo, who walked away with R6 000, with second place and R4 000 going to Tiaan Langenegger, and the third prize of R2 000 being scooped by Gareth Walford.
Team category winners
The Team of Four category was won by the Raddison Blu Hotel in Port Elizabeth, with Compass in Durban coming second and Western Province Caterers in Cape Town taking third place. The winners walked away with R20 000, second prize was R12 000 and third prize R8 000.
“The standard of this year’s competition was one of the highest we have seen in recent years, and the female contingent clearly demonstrated their professionalism, creativity and competitive spirit. We are honoured to have had chefs of the calibre of all our contestants enter and compete in this year’s Unilever Foodsolutions Chef of the Year,” says Craig Elliot, Executive Head Chef of Unilever Foodsolutions SA.