False Bay Tvet | Chanda du Plooy : Pastry Chef of the Year 2022

“It has been 14 formidable and stimulating years since Chania and I began The Reaching for Young Stars programme,” says Annette Kesler of Showcook.com. “We have seen many profound changes in curriculum, commitment and professionalism as our culinary academies rose to meet fresh challenges. There is a greater understanding today of a rapidly changing hospitality industry. It has been a great pleasure seeing the incredible progress our young stars have made over this time, a huge source of pride and pleasure for us both.”

The Mount Nelson Reaching for Young Stars is the major showcase in the Western Cape for culinary academies who put forward their most talented young students, all vying for top honours.

Showcook continues to broaden horizons, offering a growth path, fostering and encouraging entrepreneurship for students to prove themselves and ultimately win recognition leading to genuine career advancement to provide those next steps after graduation. With the assistance of dedicated partners Showcook is able to provide superb opportunities to winners both in America and in France as well as in South Africa’s top hotels where they are willing to share their expertise to nurture and grow our young South African talent to meet the needs of our vital and burgeoning tourism industry.

Our new home is the Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, Cape Town where General Manager Tiago Moraes Sarmento has generously hosted the Skills Exchange Development Programme and Awards.

“To succeed in the art of hospitality,” says Tiago Sarmento, “one needs to be driven by an inner passion for human connection and creativity, and to have an innate generosity of spirit. The “Nellie” is devoted to cultivating and nurturing that fervour in younger generations, and to help craft tomorrow’s leaders in the world of hospitality.” 

#Postcardsfromtheworld – A quick catch-up… Denzil Pedro (The Private Hotel School, 2020) is currently experiencing a three weeks internship in Dubai at One&Only The Palm and One&Only Royal Mirage – flights courtesy of Denny Mushrooms. Next year, he will be travelling to America to Cape Cod, Massachusetts where currently Oigen Kaptein (The Private Hotel School, 2019), Luke Bergman (Sense of Taste Chef School, 2019), Wisani Marivati (The Private Hotel School, 2020), Jadon Lee Harilall (Cape Town Hotel School, 2021) and Braam Potgieter (The Hurst Campus, 2021) are working with fellow South Africans Chef Patron Phillip & Tracey Hunt at Winslow’s Tavern.This top heritage restaurant is housed in an historic Federalist building in scenic Wellfleet where the highly esteemed 170 seat restaurant produces an all American seasonal menu heavily influenced by coastal cuisines and remains the talk of Cape Cod. 

Jadon Lee Harilall, the 2021 Reaching for Young Stars Chef of the Year, on his return from Cape Cod will be visiting Rwanda, a stunning destination at One&Only Gorilla’s Nest and following that he will be doing a stint at One&Only Nyungwe House. A great three weeks internship in a remote but magical place – flights courtesy Denny Mushrooms. 

Amoré Bezuidenhout, the 2020 Ultimate Lancewood Pastry Chef of the Year, is currently in Boussac, France at Château de la Creuzette with Louis Jansen van Vuuren and Hardy Olivier for three months – flights courtesy of Lancewood. 

Judging from past winners these are amazing experiences that have stood them in good stead for their futures and on their return they are able to pass on much they have learned.

Showcook has been known for introducing top professionals in their field to engage with young people. Rudi Liebenberg, Executive Chef Mount Nelson, A Belmond Hotel, Cape Town and Food Judge says, “Every young person in industry needs to invest in their futures and, win or lose, this competition sets an amazing base to learn and grow.”

The Reaching for Young Stars Cook-Off & Service Presentation, annually hosted by the International Hotel School, took place on Saturday 4th June with an enthusiastic high calibre panel of judges:

Kitchen Evaluation: Julietta e Silva Overmeyer & Cody Dodgen

Hot Chefs: Rudi Liebenberg & Mariëtte Crafford

Pastry Chefs & Bakers: Jac Kolver & Debbie Hall

Cocktails, Wine & Mineral Water Presentation: Penelope Horwood & Willem du Toit 

Food & Wine Pairing: Guy Webber & Marlvin Gwese 

Baristas: Wayne Abrahams & Mogammed Sameer De Long 

The categories this year encompassed a wide field including baristas, bakers, beverage students, chefs and pastry chefs. The candidates drawn from various academies partnered with winemakers from some of our great wine estates.

International Hotel School (IHS) & Kleine Zalze, Chefs Training and Innovation Academy (CTIA) & Krone, The Cape Town Hotel School (Part of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, CPUT) & Anthonij Rupert Wyne

Capsicum Culinary Studio & Ernie Els Wines, Superyacht Training Academy & Simonsig, False Bay TVET College & Beyerskloof Wines with The Pinotage Association, CookTastic & Neethlingshof and The Hurst Campus & La Motte 


Suppliers of superb local ingredients throughout the competition: Acqua Panna, Avanti Coffee, Bio-Wheat, ClemenGold®, Cruxland Gin, Denny Mushrooms, Certified Karoo Lamb, KWV Brandy, Lancewood, Lurpak Butter, Rio Largo Olive Oil, Senqu River Pistachios & Pistachio Honey, S.Pellegrino and Sanpellegrino Italian Sparkling Drinks.

The Pinotage Association is proud to have joined the journey with Showcook – We congratulate all category winners. Well done!