August 26, 2019

InfoChef Gauteng Better Than Ever

The 2019 edition of InfoChef took place from 29-31 July, and this year was bigger and better than ever.

Here’s a look at some of the highlights, Thousands Gather for InfoChef 2019

Info Chef 2019 proved once again that it is no storm in a teacup but a premier event attracting the best in the industry in Africa and SA. Held at the Sun Arena in Time Square, Pretoria, it attracted more than 3 000 participants from across Africa, including top chefs, students and aspirant chefs from all walks of life. From around the continent of Africa around 50 delegates attended, most of Gauteng chefs schools attended – around 1 700, and many executive chefs as well.

There were so many stands that were well frequented, and because of their easily demarcated areas and floorplan, a variety of industry innovations were well-exhibited.

For students eager to pursue this as a career, InfoChef 2019 offers a golden provides a world of information, an opportunity to gain exposure to industry leaders and valuable networking. The ChefDirect app proved to be a hit and a point of immense interest, with no less than 100 visitors passing through on each day.

InfoChef offered a great deal of excitement for all parties, with the excellent efforts of the MC that kept visitors young and old highly entertained and informed with tons of humour, laughter and witty remarks. Here’s a look at some of the highlights.

Linah Maruping on Sustainability and Global Hunger

Unilever Food Solutions’ Regional Customer Chef Linah ‘Pinky’ Maruping spoke about the findings from the SOFI 2019 food report at InfoChef this year. The issue of global hunger continues to increase year on year, with little progress made in the last 3 years to halt the rise in hunger. SOFI 2019 estimates that approximately 821.6 million people go hungry every day around the world. Africa and Asia are the main continents struggling with these issues, and as such, Chef Pinky shared her passion for creating change, as well as information on the WorldChefs sustainability programme.

Awards and Prizes Galore

The National Youth Chefs Training Champion Competition once again took place at the 2019 InfoChef. The much-anticipated annual event’s stellar grand prize is R10 000, which Lindokuhle Hadebe walked away with this year.

The Creative Tartelettes Contest saw four finalists compete at InfoChef for bragging rights and a prize of R7 000. Marco Louis Venter, Shaista Shantkumar Anoop, Thabang Amohelo Mokoena and Amber-Leigh Janse van Rensburg were in the running, with Amber scooping up the championship in the final heat.

The Global Chefs Challenge and Hans Bueschkens Young Chef Competition, presented by WorldChefs, also took place at the event. Competitors crafted dishes from across the world, with the four finalists creating incredibly plated meals from Qatar, UAE, Egypt and South Africa. SA’s own Chef Dion Vengatass won the Global Chefs Challenge Competition.

Last (but definitely not least) was the Huletts Sweet Young Chef Competition, which saw four students from 1 000 Hills Chef School (S’busi Ngcobo), Capsicum Rosebank (Mary-Anne Mabone), Culinary Institute Cape Town (Juan Fourie), and Silwood School of Cookery (Letitia Tap) compete. In the end, S’busi Ngcobo walked away with the grand title of Huletts Sweet Young Chef and R7 500 in prize money. Mac Brothers sponsored the catering equipment for the competition.

Feedback from Culinary Stakeholders

Owen Jullies, OJ Consultancy

“I know InfoChef from 15 years ago, and this year’s format is very different. Before there was a special space for speakers, this year they were in the exhibition area. I’m not sure of the impact of this, and if they are hearing the message with everything going on. Change is good and it’s new, so let’s see how it works. I see students are still being bussed in, but most chefs are working right now – and this is the problem with our industry, getting to these kinds of events is always a challenge. But InfoChef is where you see most of the guys once a year, so that’s great!”

Stephen Billingham, Past President of SA Chefs

“I’ve been involved with close on 20 InfoChef events, and it’s always great to be here. We’re trying to shake it up a bit and create more of an interactive marketplace. We had a mix of students – the Matriculant high school students, the students from culinary catering schools, and then the senior chefs and professionals who will network and take part in the competition.

“It’s always been a challenge to get the senior chefs out for the day is an amazing feat. One thing that has contributed to that is the Global Chefs Challenge, and we have the President of WACS, Thomas Gugler, here, too.”

Johan Oosthuizen, Managing Principal of Guvon Academy

“Our involvement at InfoChef was as the main sponsor of the Guvon EduVillage. EduVillage is a segment of InfoChef that allows education providers to work with student and talk to them about their future – as well as expose them to the various qualifications that they can pursue. We are hoping to build our industry, to look after the future of the hospitality industry, and to show our students what the industry is all about.

“We’ve had a fantastic number of scholars coming through, industry professionals and public; and we’re really proud to be associated with this event. There are almost as many industry professionals as there are scholars at the event and this is a very good thing because it shows that we are all passionate about the development of our industry and we’re taking care of its future.”

Peter Robertson, SA Chefs Association Board

“I think this year we had one of the better years with outstanding attendance from people in the culinary industry. Our responsibility is to make SA Chefs more visible and awareness around the industry. This event has been a lot more interactive, and we’re hosting the African Culinary Cup – and students are able to see the level of work that is created at a culinary competition.

“SA Chefs is for the members by the members. We organise this event to assist members and assist them in growing and benefitting their careers. We have some great talent – some great chefs – and it’s just exposing them to better things, what we do and how we can help.

Chef Citrum Khumalo, African Chefs Association

“This is a very interesting version of InfoChef, much better than some others I’ve been to. I think it should be about interaction, and this is exactly what SA Chefs has done. It’s always great to come to InfoChef because I get to meet some of the chefs I haven’t seen for many years. It’s really a gathering of the artists to netowkr and talk to each other and put their skills to the test – and also to introduce ourselves and a couple of different things to the young people who are here and show them what the industry is about.”

Jean Rebelo, Marketing Manager of The Swiss Hotel

“This year has been a better layout than previous years. So it’s been really good. We’ve gotten some really good interest as well. We just recently launched our new Advanced Kitchen Management programme, so we want to build more awareness around that and Swiss Hotel School. There seems to be a lot more awareness around InfoChef this year, and more schools involved – and participation in general.”’

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