Chef of the Year Finalists Announced

Chef of the Year – legends in the making make final round

The pressure was relentless at the Senior and Junior category Unilever Food Solutions Chef of the Year regional finals Mystery Basket Cook-off in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban from 26 to 28 July. The winning regional chefs will battle it out against at the Chef of the Year finals in Durban on 6 September.

In the Senior Category the finalists are:

  • Lesego Sibanda – Sun International Time Square
  • Hanno van Eeden – Diep in die Berg
  • Kirstin Hellemann – Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel
  • Jean-Pierre Lenferna De la Motte- Lord Charles Hotel
  • Deon Kemp – Butlers Hillcrest
  • Sami Schoeman – Zucca @ Simbithi

The Junior Category the finalists are:

  • Kabelo Molosiwa – Protea Hotels by Marriott OR Tambo Airport
  • Terror Molebeli Lekopa – Saxon Hotel Pty Ltd
  • Kayla-Ann Osborn – The Chefs Table
  • Cayrn Fredericks – Woolworths South Africa
  • Fernanda Cardoso – Chefs Warehouse and Canteen Bree Street
  • Shaista Anoop – 1000 Hills Chefs School

The Team of 4 finalists are:

  • Coovashan Pillay – Protea Hotels by Marriott OR Tambo Airport
  • Liza Strauss – Ivory Manor
  • Willem van der Merwe – 12 Apostles
  • Angus van Aarde – 12 Apostles
  • Thulani Ndebele – Butlers Hillcrest
  • Xanthos Giannakopoulos – Durban Country Club

The annual Unilever Food Solutions Chef of the Year competition, this year themed ‘Where Legends are Born’, is the oldest culinary competition in the country and has contributed to launching the careers of many of South Africa’s leading chefs, as well as providing excellent experience and recognition for past winners. Entrants in the Senior and Junior categories created recipes using Unilever Food Solutions products for a starter, main course, and dessert. The Team of 4 category gives teams – consisting of a manager, two chefs and a waiter – the chance to change up their daily routine by showing off their team skills and spirit for a chance at glory.

Congratulating the regional winners, Remco Bol, MD of Unilever Food Solutions SA, says, “Our Chef of the Year entrants always deliver something special, highlighting the exceptional standards of South Africa’s vibrant culinary industry. Well done to the all the regional winners – and best of luck in the finals. We trust you enjoyed the experience of the mystery basket cook-off and that we will see you back in the competition next year.”

The Unilever Food Solutions Chef of the Year finals on 6 September in Durban will see the top chefs in the Senior, Junior, and Team of 4 categories take home a total of R110 000 in prize money, with an added bonus for the top Junior Chef of the Year – a trip to Nice on the Côte d’Azur in France, to apprentice with Chef Jan Hendrik in his Michelin-star restaurant – in addition to a R10 000 cash prize.