From those at the top of their game to those just entering the kitchen, and even the F&B teams who create a seamless front- and back-of-house experience, the 2017 Unilever Food Solutions Chef of the Year competition caters for every kind of chef.
With a reputation for launching chefs’ careers for over four decades, the Chef of the Year (COTY) competition by Unilever Food Solutions is THE South African culinary competition. Entered and won by some of the giants of the hospitality industry, COTY has been responsible for providing a springboard for the careers of hundreds of chefs. “This year, with three categories – Senior, Junior and Team of 4 – COTY will deliver the same benefits of recognition, career development, acclaim, the platform to unleash competitive and team spirit and, of course, reward, in the form of prizes totalling R110 000,” says Remco Bol, MD of Unilever Food Solutions.
Designed to keep chefs inspired and on top of their game, the Senior category of the Unilever Food Solutions COTY gives chefs the opportunity to test their competitive edge, learn new techniques, push their own creative boundaries and win the title of Senior Chef of the Year and a first prize of R15 000, second prize of R10 000 or third prize of R5 000. Chefs must be 25 years or older to enter.
With the chance to launch their career at stake, the Junior Chef of the Year is often the most competitive of the three categories. Attracting chefs aged between 18 and 25, the Juniors compete for a R10 000 first prize, R6 000 second prize and R4 000 third prize plus, for the first time this year, the chef placed first will win a week’s working holiday at a fine dining establishment, along with the opportunity to make a name for themselves through the extensive media attention the competition attracts.
The Team of 4 category returns by popular demand this year, giving teams consisting of a manager, two chefs and a waiter the chance to change up their daily routine and show off their team skills and spirit for a chance at glory. With a first prize of R20 000, second prize of R12 000 and third prize of R8 000, the financial rewards are substantial, but for the chefs who enter this category it’s also about the chance to let their unsung F&B heroes shine.
Entries have opened and it’s easier than ever to enter. “We’ve brought everything online, making entering simple and interactive,” says Craig Elliott, Executive Head Chef of Unilever Food Solutions, who has been responsible for evolving the competition with new trends and innovations every year. The entry portal at www.ufs.com/coty also offers inspiration in the form of success stories, past winners and their recipes, judge bios and what they’re looking for, tips and tricks and social media feeds. Chefs need only register their interest to be able to access all the information they need to make their entry hassle-free, and to upload their entry and recipes.
Says Remco, “As a partner in providing solutions to meet the needs of chefs, our continued investment in the Unilever Food Solutions Chef of the Year is aimed at delivering a competition that speaks to the needs of the industry.”
The closing date for entries is Friday 7 July, and regional finals take place between 26 to 28 July. The national final on 6 September will see two individuals or teams from each region preparing a three-course meal incorporating a variety of compulsory proteins and Unilever Food Solutions products.