April 12, 2019

Illovo’s Sweetest Moments Masterclasses

Illovo Syrups Masterclasses hit the sweet spot for community caterers

The proliferation of shopping centres and malls in, or near most South African townships over the past decade or so has put the country’s leading restaurant and fast food chains within easy access of residents.

Despite this wider array of food choices, the consumption of traditional foods has shown no sign of declining, in fact, if anything Kasi cuisine is more popular than ever before. This boom can largely be attributed to the growing community catering and events industry.

These entrepreneurial-minded start-ups cater to ‘people occasions’ like weddings, funerals and tombstone unveilings, as well as increasingly adding a gourmet touch to prestige private functions.

Creating the Illovo Sweetest Moments Masterclasses

With the relaunch of their syrups range in late 2018, Illovo saw the opportunity to introduce even more SA moms to the taste, versatility and value of syrup. The problem was that syrup is not currently an established item in the township shopping basket.

The solution, developed in association with the South African Chefs Association (SACA), was to reach out to community caterers, as growing culinary influencers in their community and demonstrate the endless possibilities of syrup to them. And so, the Illovo Sweetest Moments Masterclasses were born.

60 emerging community caterers from the Gauteng region were invited to join Illovo and the SACA training team at one of 3 day-long events. The events were held at the SACA Training Kitchen at the University of Johannesburg between September and November 2018 – to explore the creative culinary possibilities that exist in every bottle of syrup.

Each group was given the opportunity to work and experiment with the Illovo syrup range in a variety of dishes developed by Illovo. Recipes ranged from desserts, toppings and baked goods to more adventurous sweet-savoury marinades and glazed ‘mains’ that would still have palate-appeal both to the traditional and upwardly-mobile market which they serve.

Enjoying the sweet taste of success

Karen Rossouw, a Pastry Chef at Guvon Academy, shared her opinion of the dishes put up by the groups.

“The quality was excellent, especially considering the lack of formal training of some of the participants. I was super, super impressed by the quality of the food that came out. The combination of flavours especially in the savoury dishes was outstanding, it all came together really well.”

Yejna Maharaj, SACA Head Lecturer agrees:

“I was very impressed, it was such a fun way to introduce chefs and caterers to a product they may not be that familiar with, seeing what they created and how their minds started thinking and exploring when they begin to realise just how versatile syrup can be.”

Nontando Sokhela from Illovo Marketing was delighted with the outcome of the brand’s association with SACA and the events they put on together.

“It was fantastic to see a room full of enthusiastic culinary creatives exploring our products, watching them experiment, getting their imaginations going. These are the people we hope will be using our products to make special occasions in their communities, so it was great to see them really get on board with syrup as an ingredient in a much wider range of dishes than they ever thought possible.”