The South African Culinary Olympic team (Team SA) will be competing at the 25th IKA Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart, Germany, from 14 to 19 February. Several years’ worth of training culminated in a special send off for the team, sporting their Springbok blazers in green and gold, at the City Lodge Hotel OR Tambo International Airport on 08 February 2020.

The IKA Culinary Olympics is the oldest and biggest international culinary arts competition. It started in 1900 with four participating nations; today, 2,000 chefs from more than 70 countries will be contending against each other for gold.

Team SA is selected by the South African Chefs Association NPO, and this year is made up of the following culinary talents:

Team Manager: Trevor Boyd, Executive Chef of The Michelangelo Hotel

Team members:

  • Dion Vengatass, Chef de Cuisine, Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel (Team Captain)
  • Kirstin Hellemann, Junior Sous Chef, Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel
  • Adrian Vigus-Brown, Executive Chef, African Pride Melrose Arch, Autograph Collection
  • Chanté Rabie, Pastry Chef, Saxton Hotel, Villas & Spa
  • Bradley van Niekerk, Senior Chef de Partie, Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia
  • Oscar Baard, Pastry Chef, NH Cape Town The Lord Charles
  • Sifiso Chiziane, commis chef, African Pride Melrose Arch, Autograph Collection & National Youth Chef Training Programme 3rd year student

National teams are able to compete in two events at the IKA Olympics: Restaurant of Nations, where they must prepare a three-course menu for 110 people, and Chef’s Table, where they will prepare seven different dishes for twelve people. Visitors can buy tickets to these events, and feast on the food prepared by these Olympic chefs.

Team SA will compete against Norway, Finland, Wales, China and Malaysia on 16 February in the Chef’s Table competition. The menu they will be preparing is:

Butter and Dip: Biltong-flavoured Butter and Chakalaka Dip

Cold Finger Food: Pea and Ham Soup Truffle, Goat’s Milk Cheese, Bacon Crumb, Pea Salad; Cauliflower Panna Cotta, Red Onion and Currant Vinaigrette, Pine Nut Crumble; Prawn and Beetroot Cheesecake; Venison Tartare, Panisse Croute, Radish, Caper Berries

Hot Finger Food: Sesame Glazed Barbeque Quail, Egg Yolk Emulsion, Mushroom Aioli; Reuben’s Flavoured Croquette, Russian Dressing, Emmenthaler Cheese Crisp, Gherkins, Paprika Hollandaise

Seafood Platter: Tomato and Olive Crusted Tuna Loin, ‘Nicoise’ themed Salad, Citrus Cured Salmon, Sago and Rice Cracker Crust, Salmon Tartare Encased Cucumber and Daikon Pickled Jelly, Prawn and Crayfish Roulade, Crayfish and Prawn Curry Leaf Custard, Ocean Green Salad, Saffron Aioli, Salsa Verde

Mushroom Porridge: Oats and Quinoa Porridge, Puffed Rice, Seaweed Rice Cracker, Lime Mushroom Caviar, Pistacchio Nut Paste, Mustard and Sorrel, Smoked Dill Oil, Pickled Shiitake, Porcini Mushroom Powder

Lamb: Pancetta style Cured Lamb Belly Encased Lamb Loin, Lamb Shoulder Polenta Roulade, Corn Composition; Corn Custard Bake, Purée, Sorghum Popcorn, Beer Braised Onion, Braised Pulses, Lamb Jus

Passion Fruit and Guava: Guavadilla Mousse with Guava Coconut Saffron Sago Pearls, Pumpkin Citrus Sponge, Guava and Passion Fruit Roulade, Guava, Lime and Saffron Ice Cream, Compressed Nastergal, Peanut and Pumpkin Seed Biscotti, Passion Fruit Marshmallow, Passion Fruit Curd, Passion Fruit Diplomat Cream, Passion Fruit Jelly, Poached Butternut

Petit Fours: Tonka Bean and Hazelnut Dark Chocolate Mousse, Crispy Hazelnut Paste, Hazelnut Nougatine; White Chocolate Bon Bon with Blackcurrant Paste and Cream Cheese Ganache, Ruby Chocolate Biscuit; Honeycomb Mousse, Fennel Pear and Sherry Liquid, Pecan Shortbread

They will compete against these same countries again on 18 February, in the Restaurant of Nations competition. Their chosen menu for this event is:

Exploration of Sea Trout: Pan fried Sea Trout, Smoked Sea Trout Cheesecake, Tomato and Sea Trout Terrine, Radish Relish, Smoked Yam Purée, Tomato Panna Cotta Slaw Salad, Malay Tomato Ketchup, Lime and Dill Vinaigrette, Spicy Rice Cracker

Lamb: Sous Vide Lamb Loin, Lamb Shank and Sweet Potato Roulade, Limpopo Inspired Curry Leaf Poached Butternut, Butternut Purée, Pickled Butternut, Braised Beans, Cauliflower and Bacon Flan, Crisp Lamb Belly Bacon, Lamb Jus

Raspberry and Passion Fruit: Passion Fruit White Chocolate Torte, Lemon Verbena Cape Malva Pudding, Raspberry Crémeux with Passion Fruit Coulis, Raspberry Marshmallow, Passion Fruit and Pink Peppercorn Ice Cream, Vanilla Diplomat Cream, Honey Bourbon Crystalized Liqueur

All of the competitions work according to a point scoring system, which are allocated by 60 jurors in total. The team in each category with the most points at the end of the competition will win Gold medals – followed by Silver and Bronze.

James Khoza, President of SA Chefs Association, wished the team well, and said, “All the training these chefs have had and the preparation they have put in will pay off – and young juniors in the industry will see what is possible.”

He also thanked the team’s sponsors who have made this possible: HTA School of Culinary Art, Avanti, SiChef (SiClothing), Sir Fruit fresh fruit juice, Ecolab, Rich’s, Turn and Slice, F. Dick, MacBrothers, Fidelity Services Group, Snappy Chef, Callebaut, TrenStar, ScanBox, Kee Ingredients, Savannah, Midway Liquor Wholesalers, South African Airways, Distell, JLBranding, Sun International and CR Brands, Legacy Hotel Group and the official accommodation partner for the National Culinary Olympic Team – City Lodge Hotel Group.

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Team SA photo supplied by: Strategic Public Relations; IKA/Culinary Olympics 2016 photos supplied by: IKA/Culinary Olympics