Considered by many to be the hospitality industry’s version of the Oscars, the fantastic Distell Inter Hotel Challenge is now in its sixth year and N1 are immensely proud to be associated with the event. A national initiative taking place in the three major centres (Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg) it will see over 30 esteemed hotels participate and many talented young chefs, bakers and wine stewards vying for the top spot.
Orientation for the event begins early next month where motivational speakers will cover a wide variety of subjects from communication and nutrition through to hygiene and the likes. N1 will be represented at each of the orientations so that the various hotels have a chance to familiarise themselves with the high-quality cuts of beef on offer and what they can expect from the leading meat wholesaler.
The awards are numerous, from ‘Table you would most wish to dine at’, ‘Best Hotel Team’ and ‘Most Up and Coming Wine Steward’ to ‘Best Cocktail’ and ‘Most Promising Chef’, but taking precedence are the titles for ‘Best Chef’, ‘Best Bio-Wheat Bread’, and ‘Best Wine Steward’. Strict criteria apply, while bakers can be of any age, candidate chefs can be no older than 28 years and wine stewards have to be under the age of 30 and ideally someone who aspires to be a sommelier in the future.
Over the coming months, candidate chefs will have the chance to present a well-balanced three-course menu with a main course of beef; bakers will present three styles of bread using Bio-Wheat; and wine stewards will present a spirit cocktail and three wines within the range of the partnered wine estate to complement the three-course menu. Judging the food will be Heinz Brunner, Marieta Human and N1’s very own Kevin Gibbs.
Two other major highlights of the initiative are Grape to Glass and the Skills Exchange Development Programme. The former is an in-depth workshop with the Cape Wine Academy where wine stewards will visit the Cape winelands and experience Van Ryn’s Distillery with guest speakers from the cream of Distell’s spirit ambassadors. And the latter is a master class workshop where aspiring chefs will be able to learn from the best, and will have a chance to forge new relationships and networks.
Spanning the next five months, the Distell Inter Hotel Challenge culminates in a fabulous black-tie Awards Gala Dinner at the Belmond Mount Nelson on Saturday 4th August where all winners will be announced. N1 wish all participants the best of luck and look forward to being part of this event which showcases our thriving hospitality industry and the wonderful young talent South Africa has to offer.