A Chefs Cook Off!

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The Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (FEDHASA) recently challenged members to kick unsustainable practices to the curb through a fast-paced cook-off in partnership with WWF-SASSI. It’s hoped that through this cook-off, the industry will be more sustainable and creative in their use of seafood, and will spread the word to consumers.

Chefs play a key role in transforming the food and hospitality industries to become more sustainable.  Being sustainable and particularly making informed choices around the seafood they serve not only makes good environmental sense but also good business sense. Chefs are key to driving change, they can create wonderful sustainable and delicious seafood dishes that inspire and create awareness.

25 chefs participated in the exciting cook-off in March 2019, which was held at the Cape Town Hotel School in Granger Bay. The chefs were given 45 minutes to create a dish using sustainable seafood from the WWF-SASSI green list. The cook-off teams were led by executive chefs Rudi Liebenberg of the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, Jocelyn Myers-Adams, representing the South African Chefs Association, Shane Louw of Mont Rochelle, Judi Fourie of the Victoria and Alfred Hotel, and Lindsay Venn of Tsogo Sun. Students from the Mitchells Plain School for Culinary Skills were also part of the teams.

Liebenberg led the winning team, who created a scrumptious dish of pan-fried hake, seafood curry, smoked salmon tortellini and a tomato salsa. Judges on the day were WWF-SASSI ambassador Jason Whitehead, The Vineyard hotel executive chef Carl van Rooyen and FEDHASA CAPE Restaurant segment chairperson and celebrity chef Pete Goffe-Wood and Chef Nadin Pospech from Top Nosh Catering.

Van Rooyen shared that fine dining food need not contain fish on the red list and, with a bit of creativity, one can showcase the many exceptional fish species found in South African waters. Initiatives like this FEDHASA cook-off is a fantastic way to highlight our local talent, as well as the sustainable practices that should be embraced in kitchens across the Western Cape.

The Western Cape hospitality industry also claims to embrace sustainability and responsible tourism through a range of practices. The cook-off event was just one way to show the contribution towards protecting the Western Cape’s natural beauty and resources, and reducing our impact on the natural environment.

All in all it was an exciting event, with delicious, creative food and great networking. A huge thanks to Checkers Food Services for sponsoring the event ingredients and to Banks Kitchen Shop for supplying kitchen appliances that were donated to the Mitchell’s Plain School of Skills after the event.