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Results from the Global Chefs Challenge Africa & Middle East Regional Semi-Final

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South Africa, 26th August 2019

Paris, France · 23 August 2019: Results from the Global Chefs Challenge Africa & Middle East Regional Semi-Finals

The Africa & Middle East Regional Semi-Finals for the Global Chefs Challenge were held in Pretoria, South Africa, 31 July – 1 August. Organized by South African Chefs Association (SACA) and Worldchefs, the competition was held in conjunction with INFOCHEF 2019 in Times Square.

Selected through champion performance at national competitions, participating teams representing Egypt, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and South Africa competed to show their mastery in the culinary arts through three competition categories: Global Chefs Challenge, Global Pastry Chefs Challenge, and Global Young Chefs Challenge – Hans Bueschkens Trophy. 

Winning teams head to the Finals at Worldchefs Congress & Expo in St. Petersburg, Russia! Catch all of the action live at Worldchefs Congress 2020, July 28 – 31. For tickets to the Global Chefs Challenge final and complete access to Congress & Expo events, register now at

The teams were made up of chefs from various hotels and restaurants from each country representing their national chefs association. Competitors are listed below:


  • Global Chefs: Chef Kommalage Asanka Sanjeewa 
  • Pastry Chefs: Chef Alkesh Bhandari
  • Young Chefs: Chef Oussama ben Hassen

United Arab Emirates

  • Global Chefs: Chef Mario Coelho
  • Young Chefs: Chef Leon Rozario


  • Pastry Chefs: Chef Sedhom Hamed
  • Young Chefs: Chef Kareem Atef

South Africa

  • Global Chefs: Chef Dion Vengatass
  • Pastry Chefs: Chef Arno Ralph
  • Young Chefs: Chef Armin Maritz

All teams did an outstanding job and made judging extremely hard and the end result being very close with the winner and second place being .4 of a point between them. This competition was held at the highest level. Winners will now go through to the final to compete against the best in the world at Worldchefs Congress & Expo 2020 in St Petersburg, Russia. 



Global Chefs Challenge

  • Winner: South Africa, Chef Dion Vengatass 
  • 1st runner up: United Arab Emirates, Chefs Mario Coelho and Tharindu Lakshan
  • 2nd runner up: Qatar, Chefs Kommalage Asanka Sanjeewa and El Mehdi Merdi

Global Pastry Chefs Challenge

  • Winner: South Africa, Chef Arno Ralph
  • 1st runner up: Egypt, Chef Sedhom Hamed
  • 2nd runner up: Qatar, Chef Alkesh Bhandari

Global Young Chefs Challenge – Hans Bueschkens Trophy

  • Winner: South Africa, Chef Armin Maritz
  • 1st runner up: Egypt, Chef Kareem Atef
  • 2nd runner up: United Arab Emirates, Chef Leon Rozario

Team South Africa along with the wildcard competitor from the UAE in pastry will now represent the region at the Final in July 2020 in St Petersburg.

The judges of the competition came from each country and South Africa, led by head judge and seasoned competitor Garth Schnier, Hossam Soliman – President of Egypt Chefs Association, Andy Cuthbert – Continental Director based in UAE, Sanet Prinsloo – former association president from Namibia, and Nadine Demmier and Stuart McClarty of South Africa. We thank the judges for their excellent work.

Continental Director Andy Cuthbert remarked, “the organization and location of the competition was excellent and SACA did an outstanding job in organizing the event flawlessly. President James Khoza and competition organizer Elsu Gericke are to be congratulated for an outstanding competition.”

Grateful thanks also goes several culinary schools including Capsicum, Chef MLK School of Cooking, Prue Leith, and HTA for their exemplary student volunteers and logistical support.

The competition would not have been possible without the support of all the sponsors whom we thank for their commitment to the industry and the Worldchefs community at large: Mac Brothers for kitchens, Sigma for jackets, Dilmah Tea, Nestlé Professional, Les vergers Boiron, VanDrie Group, Avanti, Turn and Slice, Sun International, La Marina, Sir Fruit, and Roll Kem.

Cuthbert added, “We congratulate all competitors and look forward to seeing team South Africa and the UAE bring home the trophies in July 2020.”

To view photos of the event, visit our photo album here. Photos by the Visual Feast Group.

To learn more about the Global Chefs Challenge and the Road to St. Petersburg, visit

For tickets to the Final, register for Congress 2020 at


The World Association of Chefs’ Societies, known as Worldchefs, is a dynamic global network of 110 chef associations worldwide. A leading voice in the hospitality industry, Worldchefs carries 91 years of history since its founding at the Sorbonne by the venerable Auguste Escoffier. Representing a mobilized international membership of culinary professionals, Worldchefs is committed to advancing the profession and leveraging the influence of the chef jacket for the betterment of the industry and humanity at large.

Worldchefs is dedicated to raising culinary standards and social awareness through these core focus areas:

Education – Worldchefs offers support for education and professional development through the landmark Worldchefs Academy online training program, our expansive network of Worldchefs Certified Schools and curriculums, and the world’s first Global Hospitality Certification recognizing on-the-job skills in hospitality; 

Networking – Worldchefs provides a platform for connection to chefs around the world, and a gateway for industry networking opportunities through endorsed events and the preeminent biennial Worldchefs Congress & Expo;

Competition – Worldchefs sets global standards for competition rules, provides Competition Seminars and assurance of Worldchefs Certified Judges, and runs the prestigious Global Chefs Challenge;

Humanitarian & Sustainability – our Feed the Planet and World Chefs Without Borders programs relieve food poverty, deliver crisis support, and promote sustainability across the globe.

For more information about Worldchefs, visit us at


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