Nikita Kuschke’s blog about Cape Town and Hostex

Nikita’s Guide to having an amazing time at Hostex in Cape Town

20 May – 24 May 2014

 

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Nikita Kuschke and Damian McCartney represented The Capital Hotel School and Training Academy in the annual City & Guilds Student Skills Challenge competition hosted at the Hostex (Hospitality Exhibition) in Cape Town.

 

Nikita provided us with the steps to “having an amazing time in Cape Town” during the Skilled Student Challenge.

Step 1

Start with making a kitchen design for City & Guilds Skilled Student Challenge on your days off with your team mate Damian and your chef lecturer, Chef Hilmar Jooste. Once you’re informed that you are a finalist, the butterflies kick in and you are overjoyed!

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Step 2

Spend copious hours training, thinking, planning and adjusting your skills and ideas.  You have to be open to criticism and learn to improve on what you are doing.

Step 3

Once all the logistics are arranged to attend the competition, board an airplane on a Tuesday evening which is heading to Cape Town.

Once onboard scout the passengers for exhibitors at the show and some prospective “connections”.

Safely land in Cape Town and settle into your luxurious accommodation.

Step 4

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You start your day with sharpening of knives and calming your nerves before sizing up the competition.  Once the briefing is done, you spend a few hours showing off your skills and what you’ve been taught.  Tasks include portioning a chicken, making Risotto (which is a bright purple), some stunning roasted purees (yes, turning roast vegetables into purees), and classic sauces.

Thereafter cleaning a fillet off the bone, delicately poaching some egg yolks and watching the time as close as you can.  Focusing solely at the task at hand.

Finally you put your knowledge to the test before going off for some of the most gorgeous hamburgers your taste buds will ever encounter at Hudson’s Burger Joint

Continue your “culinary education” by roaming around butchers and other exciting foodie shops before calling it a day.

Step 5

DSCN2705Attend the last day of competition and be surprised by a fish four times the size you practiced on (well, we were at the ocean so it was to be expected).  Slice some perfect julienne vegetables for the perfect consommé – becoming annoyed for not being allowed to pour the consommé at the judge’s table.  Make a last stop at some more foodie markets and squeeze in some time to visit with family, pat yourself on the back because you’ve done all you can.

Step 6

Start the last day with a dreadful feeling as the anticipation swells in your gut.  Once the winners are announced, congratulate them and relish in the fact that you’ve gained some invaluable experience and knowledge for competing.

Spend your final night in Cape Town staring at the beautiful view until the early hours of the morning before catching the airplane back to the “012”.
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Thanks Nikita for giving us the “scoop” on your time in Cape Town.  We hope to inspire some young chefs to take up the challenge in future.  You and Damian made us proud!

Thank you to Chef Hilmar for accompanying the “youngsters”.

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