Distell Inter Hotel Challenge Cook-off & tests at Capsicum - 2018

With over 30 hotels across South Africa participating in the Distell Inter Hotel Challenge - it is quite a job to get all the young wine steward and chef candidates in one place to show off their skills.
Capsicum Culinary Studio hosted the cook-off in Cape Town and it was abuzz for 2 days - and I am sorry I had time to attend for one day only, as the energy and enthusiasm is infectious.

This year the wine stewards had 2 tests, viz one to show their food,  wine and spirit matching skills and another a test of their knowledge and serving skills.  The pairing was judged by Chris de Klerk (from Distell) and chef Craig Cormack, and I was glad it was not my job to taste that much food and wine in one afternoon!  It was an admirable feat!
Germain Lehody and Cape Wine Master Sandy Harper were the wine judges - and it seems the standard was high!
The young chefs did very well - as they needed to produce a starter, main and dessert and I was fortunate enough to taste a few - and again - the standard was very high!

On the day I attended, the participating hotels were 12 Apostles, Arabella, One&Only, The Royal Portfolio - The Silo, NH The Lord Charles Hotel, Taj Cape Town, Belmond Mount Nelson, Tsogo Sun - The Cullinan & SS Waterfront and the Spier Hotel.

There were of course cook-offs in Durban and Joburg too - which sadly is just too far to go to get to know all the candidates.
This inspirational initiative is in its 6th year, organised by Showcook.com (Annette Kesler & Chania Morrit-Smith) and sponsored by Distell - and the competiton goes a long way to raise the bar for wine service and the culinary arts. Many sponsors are involved - Rio Largo Olive Oil, BioWheat, Khoisan Salt and many others who support this national competition. The prizes are spectacular - especially those sponsored by Kitchen Aid, ScanPan and many others.

I am looking forward to the gala awards dinner which will be held at the Belmond Mount Nelson on the 4th August 2018.