Veronica Nomphelo Plaatjies, Who will also be representing Team SA in France next month

Twenty-nine-year-old Veronica Nomphelo Plaatjies from Midrand is the winner of the three year Restaurant Mosaic Sommelier Protégé Bursary and was selected from a search held nationwide in conjunction with the South African Wine Tasting Championships (SAWTC).


The Restaurant Mosaic Sommelier Protégé Program annually offers a young emerging professional a three year fully paid learnership bursary at the award winning Restaurant Mosaic, working alongside Chef of the Year, Chantel Dartnall, and well-known French sommelier, Germain Lehodey.


She will now receive the necessary formal education required and achieve the best professional experience, under the guidance of the Restaurant Mosaic Cellar Team whilst gaining valuable exposure to the industry. She has also been accepted into the South African Sommeliers Association (SASA).

Plaatjies, who is currently studying for her National Certificate in Food and Beverage Services, has extensive restaurant experience and has worked at African Pride's 15 on Orange Hotel in Cape Town and Sun International’s Maslow Hotel.


Her future plans include owning and running a wine club to give wine educational programmes for formerly disadvantaged students hoping to work in the hospitality industry as well as for corporate clients and business people who have not had extensive exposure to wine in the past.


Fifteen of the country’s best tasters, chosen at provincial competitions held in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, met at the SAWTC finals to face the challenge of identifying wines from around the world and to decide who deserved to form part of the 2015 South African Champion Team. Plaatjies attended both the Johannesburg and Cape Town events, and performed outstandingly, qualifying in both events making her the undisputed winner of this year's Mosaic bursary. 


This means that Miss Plaatjies will be part of Team South Africa  2015 that comprises captain Ralph Reynolds , Joseph T. Dhafana, Anita Streicher Nel, and will fly the national colours in France at the World Blind Challenge on October 17.

The competitors have two hours during the blind tasting to identify 12 wines from eight different countries. They have to guess the country, the cultivar, the vintage, the appellation and the producer of the wines served to them.


Says Plaatjies: “I am delighted to be part of the 2015 SAWTC Team representing not only South Africa, but also Restaurant Mosaic where I will be getting valuable work experience at one of the country’s top restaurants. I know I am going to learn so much from both Chantel and Germain – it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that could change my life forever.”


Says Chef Chantel Dartnall of Restaurant Mosaic: “We are thrilled that Veronica will be joining Restaurant Mosaic on our Protégé Programme. Sommeliers play a very big role in the restaurant and are as much part of the dining experience as the chefs who create the magic in the kitchen. We hope that this bursary will help her reach new heights and are delighted that we have been able to afford her the opportunity to fulfil her dreams.”

Says manager of Team South Africa and owner of the SAWTC, Jean-Vincent Ridon: “Experience is the key to become a good sommelier. Theoretical knowledge will never replace the human touch, as the sommelier is here to turn good service and a good meal into a perfect experience. Apprenticeship is always the best way to train a good sommelier, and the Mosaic Protégé Programme will change the way the industry looks at training professionals. We are sure that Veronica is going to achieve great things in the future.”


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STH launches Dr Billy Gallagher Lecture Room

On Thursday 17 September, 2015, the University of Johannesburg School of Tourism & Hospitality (STH) launched the Dr Billy Gallagher Lecture Room.

The South African Chefs Association is thrilled that STH has established this lecture room in honour of Dr Gallagher, and we wish the students many hours of happy, inspirational learning in this space.

Pictured in this photograph with Dr Gallagher is Dr Diane Abrahams (Director of STH) and Professor Daneel van Lill (Executive Dean: Faculty of Management, UJ).

KZN resident Jade Van Der Spuy wins 2015 Unilever Food Solutions Chef of the Year

The 2015 Unilever Food Solutions Chef of the Year is Jade Van Der Spuy (1000 Hills Chefs School) in KwaZulu-Natal, walking away with the top prize of R15 000. She was crowned at the glittering awards ceremony held at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Thursday (10 September), marking the 40th anniversary of the competition in industry.

2015 Unilever Food Solutions Chef of the Year

The 2015 Unilever Food Solutions Chef of the Year is Jade Van Der Spuy (1000 Hills Chefs School) in KwaZulu/Natal, walking away with the top prize of R15 000. She was crowned at the glittering awards ceremony held at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban on Thursday (10 September), marking the 40th anniversary of the competition in industry.

This was also the first year that the competition was endorsed by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) and a WACS-accredited judge oversaw the judging delegation as well as the overall judging procedure.

“Our heartiest congratulations to Jade as our newest Senior Chef of the Year, as well as to all the other worthy winners in the competition,” says Remco Bol, Managing Director of Unilever Food Solutions South Africa. “The entire competition was tightly contested in all categories, again proving the exceptional world-class standards that our chefs in South Africa constantly achieve.” Bol adds that the WACS endorsement and oversight added a new dimension of professionalism to the competition, taking it to the next level in international culinary competition standings.

In the nail-biting finals, Jade, a former winner of the Junior category of the competition, went up against five other finalists in a three hour mystery basket cook-off at Unilever Food Solutions’ state-of-the-art kitchens in La Lucia Ridge. Her menu consisted of a starter of cob with tempura oyster, rice tuille, leek kimchi, garlic cream, tomato veloute, parsley and camembert pesto and red pepper; main course of pan-fried lamb loin with lamb paté, melange of vegetables, potato croquette, butternut purée and jus; and dessert of chocolate mousse with crispy brownie, caramel truffle, vanilla cream, berry jelly, pistachio and meringue.

The Junior winner presented a three course menu consisting of mussel stuffed squid with corn salad, herb oil, deep fried squid, mussels, tentacles and a calamari broth, followed by spiced rub quail breast with butternut puree, deep-fried quail leg, wilted baby spinach, pickled onion, potato croquette, butternut gremalata and red wine jus and ending with walnut cake with choc cremeux, cheesecake mousse, caramel sauce, gooseberry and strawberry compote and macerated berries.

Craig Elliott, Executive Head Chef of Unilever Food Solutions South Africa says that the competition has steadily grown in prestige over the decades and has been the making of many renowned South African chefs’ careers. “We’re exceptionally proud of what this competition is continuing to contribute to the South African culinary industry, which was evidenced by the wide range of creative and delicious menu items that all the contestants delivered at the finals.”

The five competition categories featured three prizes in each, representing a total of R120 000 in prize money, and included Senior Chef of the Year, Junior Chef of the Year, Team of Four: Bring your Best; Creative Canapés, and Confectionary Showcase.

The winners in each of the categories were:

  • The Senior Chef of the Year and winner of R15 000 is Jade Van Der Spuy (1000 Hills Chefs School); first runner-up and winner of R10 000 is Henrico Johan Grobbelaar (Southern Sun Waterfront Cape Town) and second runner-up and winner of R5 000 is Hanno Van Eeden (Diep in die Berg).

  • The Junior Chef of the Year and winner of R10 000 is Michaela Van Der Merwe (Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa ); first runner-up and winner of R6 000 is Kayla-Ann Osborn Traffords; and second runner-up and winner R4 000 is Dominique Hobson (La Petite Chef).

  • The Team of Four winner of R20 000 is Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani; first runner up and winner of R12 000 is The Table Bay Hotel; and second runner-up and winner of R R8 000 is The Capital Hotel School and Training Academy.

  • Creative Confectionary winner of R10 000 is Belinda Moolman (Protea Hotel Centurion); first runner-up and winner of R4 000 is Cherry Pin (Hilton Sandton Hotel); and second runner-up and winner of R2 000 is Melicia Naicker (College of Cape Town).

  • Canapé Showcase winner of R10 000 is Richard Ellis (1000 Hills Chefs School); first runner-up and winner of R4 000 is Candice Jordaan (Fusion World Food Café); and second runner-up and winner of R2 000 is Peter Venter (Diakonia Council of Churches).

Adds Elliott, “Once again our competition winners worked very hard on their entries, coming up with new ways to work with Unilever Food Solutions’ quality product range and delivering great-tasting and often surprising dishes.

Garth Shnier, a member of the WACS Culinary Guidelines Committee, who adjudicated over the judging procedure, says, “This competition is invaluable in providing the industry with a benchmark for culinary competition skills. It is one of the key events on South Africa’s culinary calendar and has, for the last 40 years, consistently produced outstanding winners who have gone on to achieve great heights in their careers. From the time that I won the Marvello Chef of the Year, the predecessor to today’s competition in the 80s to now, the Unilever Food Solutions Chef of the Year has grown in stature and prestige, and is an important contributor to uplifting culinary standards and giving chefs a platform for their talents and skills.”

Bol assured chefs across South Africa that Unilever Food Solutions will continue to strengthen its position as the chefs’ champion, taking their suggestions, needs, and expectations into account as product development, promotions and events were planned going forward. “While teaching is a great passion of mine, so is learning, and we welcome every opportunity to improve on the work we do with chefs in this country. Our sincere thanks must go to every chef who has invested time and effort with us, helping us to work more closely with this inspiring industry.”

  1. Stater of cob with tempura oyster, rice tuille, leek kimchi, garlic cream, tomato veloute, parsley and camembert pesto and red pepper.

  2. Main course of pan-fried lamb loin with lamb paté, melange of vegetables, potato croquette, butternut purée and jus.

  3. Dessert of chocolate mousse with crispy brownie, caramel truffle, vanilla cream, berry jelly, pistachio and meringue

  4. Chef Jade van der Spuys preparing the chocolate mousse dessert.




The Prince of Spice Reza Mahammad – a firm favourite with South African television viewers – will be back at the Good Food & Wine Show in Durban thanks to overwhelming demand from audiences.


Also signed for the country’s most popular food extravaganza, which takes place from October 30 to November 1, is another spice maestro, Yudhika Sujanani, also known as the “curry queen of bling”.


They will be joining a world-class line-up that includes UK chef, restauranteur and author Rick Stein; MasterChef Australia 2014 winner Brent Owens and Mahammad’s good friend, Durban born Jenny Morris.


Reza will be joining the Giggling Gourmet in a new Food Network series Jenny & Reza’s Fabulous Food Academy, to be aired on the channel (DStv Channel 175) later this year.


Mahammad has done it all - from being a TV chef and restaurateur to writing a number of best-selling cookbooks.


“All the roles are interdependent,” he says, “and I love them all! The common theme is the interaction with people. There is nothing quite like the buzz you get from a live audience.  I have always loved people and I am blessed that my work often takes me around the world. For me, South Africa is becoming a home away from home - I love the people and I can't wait to be back in October. I will be doing my own show as well as cooking with Jenny. Expect loads of entertainment and fun!"


Throughout her career, celebrity chef, author and spice creator Yudhika Sujanani has stuck to what she knows best: curry. The author of several cookery books she has appeared on SABC2 as well as on the Home Channel with Sugar & Spice. She will be appearing at both the Celebrity Chefs Theatre as well as teaching audiences the tricks of the trade in the popular Baking Theatre.


Says GM of Fiera Milano South Africa, the organisers of the Good Food & Wine Show, Heidi Warricker: “We are absolutely delighted to be bringing such well known chefs to the show. We are also pleased to be working once again with Durban Tourism in promoting the city and all the wonderful attractions it has to offer on the food front.”


Phillip Sithole, head of Durban Tourism echoes this sentiment: “The Good Food & Wine Show has undoubtedly proven to be a vibrant platform to showcase Durban’s unique and multi-cultural cuisine to an array of globally recognised chefs and food television networks. The


city is constantly evolving with vast innovation and talent in the food tourism industry. We are confident that the event also allows opportunities for our local home-grown culinary chefs to be showcased and be nurtured with some of the mastery global chefs’ skills and recipes. The City also takes the opportunity to have a Township Cook-off every year with the celebrated chefs and our locals, sharing local flavours, authentic cuisine and imparting inspiring cooking techniques to our locals in a true township style restaurant.”


The Durban Good Food & Wine Show takes place from October 30 to November 1 at the Durban Exhibition Centre in association with Durban Tourism. There will be book signings with all the celebrity chefs at the show. The visiting chefs will be staying at the Oyster Box Hotel.





Brenty – as his fellow contestants called him – stole the hearts of millions around the globe when he won the sixth season of MasterChef Australia and became a firm favourite thanks to his unassuming and down-to-earth approach.  His book Dig In reflects his personal philosophy of cooking – “to build your own take on something traditional.” Owens admits that he didn’t really take to cooking until he was in his late teens: “You really don’t know what your passion is when you are 18 or 19. I didn’t realise food was my passion until I started watching food shows,” he says.




Jenny Morris - aka the Giggling Gourmet - is one of SA's most-loved food personalities. She is an author, magazine writer, radio and TV presenter, celebrity chef, teacher, caterer and culinary tour guide who has had an ongoing love affair with food since she was a child. Not only has she conquered radio but Jenny has made several television appearances both locally and internationally. Her first show for the Food Network was Jenny Morris Cooks Morocco. It was the first occasion that a South African chef fronted their own show on the channel.



Reza Mahammad is a firm favourite with SA television viewers. When his father died, Reza took over the family business, managing The Star of India, one of London’s most successful restaurants. “I almost became involved in the food business by default because I was still in school. I was fond of music and arts but I never thought I was going to go into food. Although I loved food and liked cooking, I didn’t realise that it was going to become a career.” Reza - star of African Kitchen - has teamed up with Jenny Morris to co-present a new Food Network TV series Jenny & Reza’s Fabulous Food Academy, which is due to transmit on the channel (DStv Channel 175) later this year.



Rick Stein is an acclaimed chef, restaurateur, cookery book author and television presenter who has written more than 20 cookery books, an autobiography and made more than 30 television programmes. He has also cooked for The Queen and Prince Philip, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher and French President, Jacques Chirac. He is best known for a love of fresh seafood and made his name in the 90s with his earliest books and television series based on his life as chef and owner of The Seafood Restaurant in the fishing port of Padstow on the North Coast of Cornwall. Stein is the owner of nine restaurants in the UK and one in Australia. Stein has written numerous cookery books inspired by his travels, the most recent of which is Rick Stein from Venice to Istanbul which will be released in South Africa in September.  Stein has been the recipient of multiple awards, among them the National Restaurant Awards Lifetime Achievement Award 2015, the Food Writers Guild Lifetime Achievement Award 2015, the AA Centenary Awards, AA Lifetime Achievement winner for 2008-2009, the 2007 Le Cordon Bleu World Media Awards – Honoured for outstanding achievements in the industry and inducted into the Tasting Australia International Hall of Fame.



Much of Yudhika’s youth was spent in hotel kitchens due to her mother’s career as a professional chef. In 2002 she opened her restaurant, Salaam Bombay, which she sold six years later. She has published a number of cookbooks including Curry Me Home. She started the highly acclaimed Curry Club, an idea born out of her love of entertaining, that raised money for the Starfish Foundation. She also has her own spice range.



The Good Food & Wine Show Durban

Dates: Friday October 30 to Sunday, November 1.

Celebrity Chefs: Rick Stein; Brent Owens, MasterChef Australia winner, Reza Mahammad, Jenny Morris and Yudhika Sujanani

Venue: Durban Exhibition Centre, 11 Walnut Road, Durban

Hours: Friday, October 30, and Saturday, October 31, 10:00-21:00; Sunday, November 1, 10:00-18:00

Ticket Prices:

  • Early Bird: R 80 (valid until end September 2015 online via Computicket)

  • Adults: R 90 at the door

  • Age 12-18: R 60

  • Children under 12: Free

  • Senior Citizens: R 60

  • Purchase 10 or more tickets: R 80 each

  • Wine Combo Ticket: R 115 (Includes show entry, wine tasting glass & 5 wine tasting vouchers)

Wine Tasting Prices:

  • Wine Combo Ticket: R 115 (Includes show entry, wine tasting glass & 5 wine tasting vouchers)

  • Wine Glass: R 30 (Includes GFWS glass to keep and 5 tasting vouchers)

  • Additional Wine Vouchers: R 25 (1 booklet with 5 wine tasting vouchers)

Celebrity Chefs Theatre Prices:

  • Local Chefs: R 75 (GFWS entry not included)

  • Local Chefs early bird: R 50 (valid until end September 2015 online via Computicket - GFWS entry not included)

  • International Chefs: R 100 (GFWS entry not included)

  • International Chefs early bird: R 75 (valid until end September 2015 online via Computicket - GFWS entry not included)

  • Kids under four who sit on laps: Free


Tickets: Available through Computicket ( or at the door.


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