The first competition of its kind in Africa, the South African Chefs Association (SACA) proudly launched the African Culinary Cup on 4 September at InfoChef Africa 2013.
Endorsed by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS), Junior National Culinary Teams from Zimbabwe, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho and the United Arab Emirates competed in the challenge, and it was the team of chefs from Namibia who out-cooked the other competitors to come out tops.
The African Culinary Cup has been a long-standing dream of the Association, and SACA is pleased to have reached this milestone to create an event that encourages learning, camaraderie and skills development within Africa’s culinary world.
“The African Culinary Cup is a milestone for the South African Chefs Association; it is the realisation of a dream. A WACS-endorsed competition that celebrates the culinary arts of chefs from across Africa and the Middle East, it was exciting and humbling to see this competition come to life and fantastic to see what high culinary standards we have on our continent. The judging was incredibly strict and the food was of an impressive standard,” said Stephen Billingham, President of the South African Chefs Association.
SACA invited National Culinary Teams from across African and the Middle East to take part in this competition, and six teams of four were able to attend the event as competitors, while representatives from Ghana, Mauritius and Togo attended the event as observers with the aims of entering into next year’s competition.
The competitors could choose their ingredients from a communal table, from which they had to create a three-course menu (starter, main and dessert). With spring upon us, the communal table was more like a harvest table, filled to the brim with local, seasonal fruit, vegetables, nuts, herbs and more. With regards to proteins, the teams needed to cook with a whole fresh trout, fresh mussels and a lovely fan-cut fillet of ostrich, which was sponsored by Klein Karoo International.
On 3 September 2013, the African Culinary Cup teams had one hour to conceptualise their menu and on the following day the team gathered in the competitions arena at the Johannesburg Expo Centre, Nasrec from 6.30am to begin cooking. The teams had five hours to complete their menu for thirty people.
Each team created diverse, exciting dishes from the ingredients presented. For starters, Team United Arab Emirates created Citrus thyme confit trout; a semi-cured trout tartare, with barley and mussel ragout, semi dried tomato vinaigrette fennel and mange tout salad, while Team Zimbabwe’s first course was a Galantine of trout on braised fennel with crispy leeks and teriyaki-sesame dressing.
Most teams used the ostrich in their main course, with Team Lesotho preparing Grilled rosemary ostrich fillet with an apricot and white wine sauce accompanied by baked parmesan pommes alongside glazed carrots and mange tout, while Team United Arab Emirates went for Herb crusted ostrich fillet with mushroom duxelle, fondant potato celeriac puree, pickled beetroot and apricot jus.
The sweet ending from Team Lesotho was a Black Forest cake and a flambéed fruit terrine on the side with an orange liqueur sauce and Team South Africa whipped up a White chocolate and orange bavoise, with a carrot and pecan nut slice, carrot sorbet and macerated carrots.
The judging of the competition was based on global culinary competition standards and the panel was made up of top South African judges Garth Shnier, Arnold Tanzer and Heinz Brunner, as well as SACA’s Competitions Director Jodi-Ann Pearton and the President of WACS, Gissur Gudmundsson,
“The African Culinary Cup is a world-class competition, taking place on world-class kitchens and an impressive standard of food was created. Yes, I saw mistakes, but I also saw perfection, and that would be true of any culinary competition around the world,” said Gudmundsson at the African Culinary Cup Gala Dinner that took place at Sun International’s Maslow Hotel on 4 September 2013.
The competition was tough and the results were incredibly close, but there could be only one winner. It was the Namibian Junior National Culinary Team who most impressed the judges and they walked away with the winner’s certificate, trophy and
the title of first-ever African Culinary Cup champion.
“I am excited, proud and surprised to win. Namibia is a very small country and we had some stiff competition from countries like South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, who are experienced in competing internationally. The African Culinary Cup was challenging, but incredibly rewarding; we learnt so much and were so pleased to be a part of this competition that celebrates cuisine from across African and the Middle East, and of course, so thrilled to be the champions!” said David Thomas from the Namibian Junior National Culinary Team.
The first of many annual competitions to come, SACA looks forward to welcoming even more countries to compete in the African Culinary Cup 2014.
TEAM NAMIBIA’S WINNING MENU
The Namibian’s menu that wowed the judges was a starter of Mussel terrine, smoked trout tartar with grapefruit and almond braised fennel with star aniseed. Fennel mousse, honey pepper tuile, yoghurt, mustard and fresh herb dressing.
For mains it was Ostrich fillet with a cocoa marinade. Crispy polenta with oyster mushrooms. Parsnip puree, beetroot and cocoa pate. Celeriac chips, macadamia nut shavings and red wine sauce.
And for dessert, a Dark chocolate cashew nut marquise, cinnamon chocolate sponge with sous vide blueberry compote. Orange baked pudding with crème anglaise and citrus fruit crumble, white chocolate vanilla bead truffle, coral sugar.
THE TEAM MEMBERS
Tomeo Anwill Dick Natasha Hamman
Stallin Sheldon Steenkamp
SOUTH AFRICA Competing chefs: Vusumuzi Ndlovu Kgomotso Rasepae Gontse Moyane Megin Meikle
LESOTHO Competing chefs: Batsoeneng Seotloali
Makhalita Khaoli Mosaletseng Nyenye Mampit Thama
ZIMBABWE Competing chefs: Chiedza B Sengwe Rufaro Chaniwa Tafadzwa Mubayiwa Owen Magwaza
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Competing chefs:
Karan Mohan Naik Supritam Basu
Fodil Baghal Biljana Milisavjevic
Competing chefs: Andreas Vogt
David Otieno Okoth Shivachi Gilbert Musila Phillip Kibett Mengech