THE Bay’s fledgling chefs and wine stewards will this year take part in the Cape Legends Inter Hotel Challenge for the first time.
And, judging by the dishes served at the Bay launch last Friday, the city is well on its way to making a solid impression on the national stage.
Cooking legend and Showfood.com editor Annette Kesler was joined in the Bay by another of the country’s culinary leading lights, the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel’s executive chef Rudi Liebenberg, at the event attended by chefs, sponsors, industry representatives and the media at the Boardwalk Hotel.
Also there was Deputy Tourism Minister Tokozile Xasa, who has close ties to the Eastern Cape and spoke about culinary tourism as a catalyst for social cohesion, saying “If people can cook together and eat together, they can live and work together”.
It is the third year that the hotly contested Cape Legends Inter Hotel Challenge is held. This time, 25 hotels from the Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng – and now also Port Elizabeth – will be taking part.
The Radisson Blu, Boardwalk Hotel and No 5 Boutique Art Hotel are the three Bay establishments that have signed up for the challenge that will see their executive chefs and sommeliers each mentoring a candidate chef and wine steward. There will be regional cook-offs in June where the teams will compete by preparing a three-course menu paired with Cape Legends fine wines and using products such as South African Pork Producers’ Organisation meat, Rio Largo olive oil, Lancewood cheeses and Khoisan sea salt.
The Bay hotels named their candidates last week while the executive chefs gave a taste of what their kitchens are able to dream up.
The Boardwalk’s Paul Bain made the main course of slow-roasted loin of pork and house-smoked bacon with potato and apple croquette, caramelised pears and baby veg.
The Radisson Blu’s Jon Hodder prepared the standout dish of the evening, cannelloni filled with prawn and Thai-infused bisque on an orange and vanilla puree, while No 5’s Raymond Botha also did not disappoint with his strawberry meringue roulade with mascarpone. toasted coconut and almond crumb and berry sorbet.
Though their young chefs and wine stewards were raring to go in the bid for top honours, Kesler said the initiative went way beyond the competitive, as it aimed to develop and advance promising talent in the food and hospitality industry.