Danelle Naude wins Potatoes SA’S first Spud Master Cook-Off Competition

Nineteen year-old Danelle Naude was crowned official “Spud Master” today – winning Potatoes SA’s first ever Spud Master 2016 Cook-Off Competition. Hosted in partnership with the Capital Hotel School and Training Academy in Pretoria, the competition saw over 64 dishes sampled and judged over the two-day period demonstrating the versatility and nutritional value of one of the country’s best loved vegetables: the potato.

Conceptualised to give students the opportunity to experiment with flavours, textures and ingredient combinations, the dishes showcased and sampled at the inaugural Spud Master Cook-Off really impressed. “The entries were of an exceptional standard,” notes official judge and product information manager at Potatoes SA Immaculate Zinde. “Students took our brief of making the potato the ‘champion’ of the dish to heart whilst demonstrating its versatility.”

While more traditional mash and baked potatoes featured in a number of dishes, unique styles of preparation including gels and smoked potato slices saw the vegetable served in appetising entrees, main meals and dessert format – tantalising taste buds in the process.

Judges for the competition included Chef Trevor Pienaar from Premier Hotel, Chef Ndaba Simon Rantoa from Sierra Burgerspark Hotel, Chef Hilmar Jooste from Manhattan Hotel, Ane Wait from Brasserie De Paris and other industry food experts. The dishes were judged on various criteria ranging from timeous completion, and texture of the potatoes, to flavour and overall presentation of the dish.

Three winners were announced at a special prize-giving ceremony hosted at the Capital Hotel School on Tuesday. Danelle Naude was awarded first place and R3 500 for her delicious Study of Potato, with Cayla Riley (Volcano Potato) and Erlank Els (Chocolate Potato Gnocchi with Cinnamon Butter ) named first and second runners-up respectively.

My dish was inspired by the versatility of the starch in Pastry Productions”, as a budding pastry Chef, Danelle went for the French Classics.

I found the combination of my Lemon Potato Sponge (Genoise), Saffron & Cinnamon Potato Buttercream, and Honey & Potato Posset the route to everyone’s palet. I am overjoyed with the results and thank Potato SA for this opportunity and exposure.” I’m thrilled that my dish won – and will definitely be back to compete again next year. The competition gave all of us an opportunity to showcase our skills and knowledge, whilst having to work under pressure in a real-life situation. This is great experience that we’ll undoubtedly be able to use going forward.” Danelle Naude

Based on the initial success, Potatoes SA will be looking at growing the competition next year with a view to going national in the future. “We congratulate all the chefs-in-the-making who took part in the competition, and hope that potatoes will feature in many of their signature dishes when they’re professionals,’’ concludes Zinde.

TOP 10 WINNERS:
1. DANELLE NAUDE 91.6% (STUDY OF POTATO)
2. CYLA RILEY 86.8% (VOLCANO POTATO)
3. ERLANK ELS 85.3% (CHOCOLATE POTATO GNOCCHI)
4. CALVIN SACKS 83% (SMOKED POTATO, SALMON GRAVIDLAX)
5. JEHOADDIN MKHATSHA 82.3% (MEATY POTATO LASAGNE)
6. KAYLIN DREYER 82% (POTATO AND WHITE WINE CREAM SOUP)
7. KAY-LEE MARIE PARCHET & WIKUS VORSTER 81.8% (POTATO PEPPERMINT CRÈME BRULEE)
8. JUAN JAQUES JOUBERT 81.5% (SPICED POTATO CROQUETTE, TRUFFLED MUSHROOM SAUCE)
9. WIKUS VORSTER 80.5% (CREAMY BACON, BILTONG AND 3 CHEESE POTATO PIZZA)
10. RINA VAN DER VENTER 80.4% (DUO OF POTATO)

PSA Integrated Logo with Brown wording 3 Sept 2014Thank you to all the participants, students, staff and judges for making this competition such a success.  We look forward to hosting the competition again next year in partnership with Potatoes South Africa.

Potatoes South Africa is an association incorporated under the South African Companies Act No 71 of 2008 whose main objective is to serve, protect and promote the interests of the South African potato industry.

In terms of its role in the potato industry, Potatoes South Africa operates as an organisation and its structure represents a network of participating role players and individuals who have the development and competitiveness of the industry at heart.

For more photos of the event, go to the Official Capital Hotel School Facebook page.

For more photos of the culinary creations during the competition, click here.

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