Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Cape Legends Inter Hotel Challenge 2014 Extends from Cape to JHB and Durban

The second annual Inter Hotel Challenge, the hospitality industry’s ultimate showdown of food and wine pairing, is to be sponsored by Cape Legends Fine Wines and the Cape Legends Inter Hotel Challenge 2014 will, for the first time, include Johannesburg and Durban. 

The multi-faceted Challenge pairs chef and wine steward trainees from top hotels, under the guidance of the executive chefs and sommeliers, with the expertise of winemakers from leading Cape Legend wine estates. It is the brainchild of food, wine and travel portal, and was initiated to provide mentorship, upliftment, opportunity and inspiration for the hospitality industry's more talented, creative trainees.

In 2013, its inaugural year, the Challenge invited 10 Cape hotels to contest each other in a thrilling Cook-Off, with awards and generous prizes going to Best Chef, Best Wine Steward and Best Table, amongst others. This year, the initiative extends to Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal with a total of 21 hotels on board: eleven in Cape Town, five in Johannesburg and five in Durban, and a new award for the Best Team, inspired by Guy Webber of Stellenzicht. “The prize is from KitchenAid and will be exhibited prominently in the winning hotel; it comes with something rewarding and fun for the whole team!” says Annette Kesler, Editor of

This year's inspirational and practical prizes include a three week working visit to India to The Taj Mahal Palace Hotel and their three top restaurants in Mumbai, with the TAJ Group. Return flights are provided by Cape Legends. Tsogo Sun is providing a working stint for the winning wine steward to Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban, to be mentored by the top sommeliers at Tsogo Sun's properties. There are bursaries in excess of R35,000 from the Cape Wine Academy and a brand new R15,000 award for the most promising Chef Candidate from the Hospitality Property Fund. 

The Newmark Award includes generous cash prizes and in addition, there is a complimentary twelve month Wine Advisor membership to the South African Sommelier Association for the wine steward candidate who shows the most promise.

"In South Africa we are blessed to have incredible human resources as well as outstanding wines," said Ross Sleet, marketing director of Cape Legends. "The aim of the Challenge is to encourage a culture of mentorship, promoting skills development in the hospitality industry that will give a much-needed leg up to young talent. For Cape Legends, it's particularly gratifying to be part of the education and training of these determined young sommeliers, as they strive to reach the highest level of professionalism, which creates a great feeling of unity amongst all those who participate." 

The initiative will launch in all three cities in March, with a draw for the wine/hotel partnerships. Each hotel will be paired with one of the Cape’s gracious and renowned wine estates and invited to create a superb menu, using versatile pork, complemented by aptly paired wines.

Participating wine estates are: Alto, Durbanville Hills, Fleur Du Cap, Le Bonheur, Lomond, Neethlingshof, Plaisir De Merle, Pongrácz, Stellenzicht, Uitkyk and Zonnebloem.

Hotels participating include, in Johannesburg: 54 on Bath,  Michelangelo, Protea Hotel Balalaika Sandton, Radisson Blu Gautrain and Southern Sun Hyde Park Sandton; in Durban: Beverly Hills, Hilton, Oyster Box, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani and Zimbali; and in Cape Town: Birkenhead House & Birkenhead Villa, Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat, Cape Grace, Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, One&Only Cape Town, Queen Victoria, Radisson Blu Waterfront, Southern Sun The Cullinan & Southern Sun Waterfront, Taj,  Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa and the Vineyard Hotel.

A major highlight of the Cape Legends Inter Hotel Challenge 2014 is the 'Grape to Glass' Experience in April and May, when all the candidates from the participating hotels in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban will attend a valuable one-on-one experience at the Cape Legends' estates with their top winemakers, giving them the background they will need to pair their menus with the most suitable wines from their particular estate.

The first round of the Challenge, the Regional Cook-offs, will take place in Johannesburg on 3 June at the HTA School of Culinary Art, in Durban on 5 June at the International Hotel School and in Cape Town on 11-12 June at the South African Chefs Academy [SACA]. The final Cape Legends Inter Hotel Challenge Cook-Off will be held 18-19 June at SACA in Cape Town. Both the Regional and Final Cook-offs will be judged by panels of esteemed food, wine and hospitality professionals.
The winners will be announced at a black tie dinner at the Mount Nelson in Cape Town on 25 July, where all 21 hotels will be participating. A highlight of the evening is the elaborate table décor competition in which each hotel excels with superb table settings in the theme of 'Gold'.
During the first two weeks of July the public will have the opportunity to taste the food and wine-paired menus at each of the 21 participating hotels, in the Candidate Menu Showcase. An amount of R25 per diner will be donated to StreetSmart South Africa.

For more details visit Follow the Cape Legends Inter Hotel Challenge 2014 on Twitter @Showcookcom. Twitter Hash Tag: #CapeLegendsIHC and #CapeLegends.


Cape Legends Fine Wines:
Cape Legends, Distell’s fine wine division, represents an extensive collection of award-winning wines from estates in and around the Cape Winelands. This includes Allesverloren, Alto, Durbanville Hills, Earthbound, Flat Roof Manor, Fleur du Cap, Hill & Dale Jacobsdal, Le Bonheur, Lomond, Monis, Neethlingshof, Place in the Sun, Plaisir de Merle, Pongràcz, RED ESCape, Stellenzicht, Theuniskraal, Uitkyk and Zonnebloem. While each differs in character and style, the collection shares a common trait of fine wine quality and innovation in production marketing and distribution.