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Unilever Chef of The Year 2012 winner announced

Food Solutions’ Chef of the Year 2012 was announced at a glittering cocktail function, following the most exciting final cook-off of the year.

Senior winner Tiaan Langenegger of Overture Restaurant (Cape Town) won a whopping R15 000 in prize money. His award winning menu consisted of a mouth watering starter dish of cured duck breast, tomato gel along with crispy salami, Asian rice croquettes and anchovy emulsion, followed by an alluring main of roasted quail breast, herb crusted lamb loin and root vegetables along with wine jus and fried gnocchi ending with a tempting dessert of vanilla pannacotta, macadamia nut praline, strawberries and mint.

Junior winner Liezl Bruce of the University of Johannesburg was the recipient of R10 000 in cash. Her scrumptious menu included a starter dish of tandoori salmon, salmon ceviche, cremolata calamari accompanied by beetroot puree followed by a tantalising main of croustillant blueberry pork, bubble and squick, carrot and butternut puree with a blueberry demi-glace rounded off with an enticing dessert of lemon posset , rosemary marshmallow brandy lava.

The winner in the Team of Four category is Capitol Caterers of KZN who won R20 000, while the Creative Canapés title went to Dion Vengatass of Mount Nelson (Cape Town) and the Confectionary Showcase title went to joint winners Cherry Pin of Sandton Sun (Johannesburg) and Mindah Tshukudu of The Palace, Sun City (Rustenburg), who won cash prizes of R7 000 each. 

The Team of Four winning menu included a starter of prawn dhal with caramelised beetroot and calamari followed by the main dish of roasted pork fillet with smokey BBQ chicken, butternut and macadamia served on polenta “gnocchi” this was topped off with a dessert of ganache capped mouse with macerated berries and lavosch.

Runners-up in the five categories included:

Senior category: Paul Bussey of Dubai and Mluleki Luthuli of Palazzo, Montecasino (Fourways) who took second and third place and walked away with R10 000 and R5 000 respectively.

Junior category: Melusi Twala from Lekgotla (Sandton), and Kirsten Jane Howell of 54 on Bath (Rosebank), who took home R6 000 and R4 000 respectively.

Team of Four: Second place and R12 000 went to Fedics of KZN, while third place at R8 000 went to Sun City Resort of Johanneburg.

Creative Canapés: Second place and R2 000 went to Xavier Francis of The Oyster Box (KZN) and third place and R1 000 went to Julia Mashao of The Palace, Sun City (Rustenburg).

Confectionary Showcase: Wanda Grobbelaar of Fairway (Johannesburg) was awarded second place and R2 000, while Joanita Venter of The Oyster Box (KZN) won third place and R 1000.

The judging panel for each of the categories was made up of some of South Africa’s best-known names in the culinary world including Garth Shnier (Executive Chef, Sandton Sun & Towers), Pete Goffe-Wood (Master Chef SA Judge), James Khoza (Executive Chef, Sandton Convention Centre) and Stephen Billingham (President, South African Chefs Association) to name a few.

Judges for each category was as follows; the prestigious Senior category judges comprised of Stephen Billingham, Garth Shnier, Jeff Schuereman as well as Pinky. Whilst the Junior category judges consisted of Allister Esau, Henrik Johnson, Nicholas Froneman and Niel. The esteemed judges for Team of Four category included Edward Clegg, Andy Cordier, Siyabulela Kabo and Mary. The Creative Canapés included judges such as James Khoza, Lean-hatton Jones, Pete Goffe Wood as well as Brad and Taryn. Whilst the Confectionary Showcase was critiqued by judges Nicolas Van Der Walt, Charl Gyzen, Bruce Burns, Brad and Taryn.

Unilever Food Solutions has been hosting the annual Chef of the Year since the early 1970s and for the first time since the event started there were an astounding 53 finalists, as well as the introduction of the Creative Canapés and Confectionary Showcase categories. 

This competition, says Craig Elliott, Executive Head Chef of Unilever Food Solutions for South Africa, the Middle East and Pakistan, is about pushing the boundaries of creativity, imagination and skill. “It’s about uniting behind our talented South African chefs and going to great lengths to provide them with innovative and creative solutions and inspiration for use in their own kitchens every day.”

Elliot acknowledges the tremendous contribution that chefs play in our lives by sharing their talent, skills and inspiration through the passion they put into their dishes. South Africa has a wealth of world-class chefs. The annual Unilever Food Solutions Chefs of the Year pays tribute to these chefs by offering them a platform from which to showcase their talent to the world.

“Congratulations to all the winners, and even though not everyone could walk away with the prize, for all the hard work they have put into the profession, every chef here is a winner today,” concludes Elliot.

For further details on the Unilever Food Solutions Chef of the Year, visit

Unilever South Africa - Unathi Mgobozi External Affairs Manager

+27 31 570 3000
031 570 2470

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