Unilever Chef of the Year Competition: 2015

September 2015

The culinary industry, including chefs at all stages of their career, gathered at Unilever Food Solutions’ head office in Umhlanga in KwaZulu-Natal on 10 September 2015 to compete in, observe, judge, learn from and celebrate the best in professional chefs.

It was the highlight of the culinary calendar, the annual Chef of the Year competition in five categories.

Winners and runners-up by category are as follows:

– Senior Chef of the Year and the Unilever Food Solutions Chef of the Year 2015: Winner is Jade van der Spuy from 1000 Hills Chefs School in KZN; first runner-up is Henrico Johan Grobbelaar from Southern Sun Waterfront Cape Town; second runner-up is Hanno van Eeden from Diep in die Berg.

– Junior Chef of the Year: Winner is Michaela Van Der Merwe from the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Spa; first runner-up is Kayla-Ann Osborn Traffords; second runner-up is Dominique Hobson from La Petite Chef.

– Team of Four: Winner is Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani; first runner-up is The Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town; and second runner-up is The Capital Hotel School and Training Academy.

– Creative Confectionary: Winner is Belinda Moolman from Protea Hotel Centurion; first runner-up is Cherry Pin from Hilton Sandton Hotel; and second runner-up is Melicia Naicker from College of Cape Town.

– Canapé Showcase: Winner is Richard Ellis from 1000 Hills Chefs School; first runner-up is Candice Jordaan from Fusion World Food Café; and second runner-up is Peter Venter from Diakonia Council of Churches.


Team CHS at The Unilever Chef of the Year 2015 Competition


The awards ceremony was held at the Moses Mabhida Stadium, as the competition marks its 40 year anniversary, and the cheers were deafening as Jade van der Spuy’s name was announced as winner of the title 2015 Unilever Food Solutions Chef of the Year. As a regular in the competition and a determined and skilled chef, her hard work paid off and she and her colleagues and students, especially principal of the school, Sharmaine Dixon (aka Chef Dixi), were literally jumping with joy at her success. Chef Dixi said she has been helping van der Spuy train for the competition, giving her every imaginable mystery basket and serving as the harshest critic to push her to perfect her skills to win a top competition like this one.

This year the competition was endorsed by the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS) for the first time, and a WACS-accredited judge oversaw the judging delegation as well as the overall judging procedure. New MD of Unilever Food Solutions South Africa, Remco Bol (he took over from Michel Mellis), says: “Our heartiest congratulations to Jade as our newest Senior Chef of the Year, as well as to all the other worthy winners in the competition. The entire competition was tightly contested in all categories, again proving the exceptional world-class standards that our chefs in South Africa constantly achieve.” He says the WACS endorsement and involvement adds a new dimension of professionalism to the competition, taking it to the next level in international culinary competition standings.

Craig Elliott, executive head chef of Unilever Food Solutions South Africa says that the competition has steadily grown in prestige over the decades and has been the making of many renowned South African chefs’ careers. “We’re exceptionally proud of what this competition is continuing to contribute to the South African culinary industry, which was evidenced by the wide range of creative and delicious menu items that all the contestants delivered at the finals. “Once again our competition winners worked very hard on their entries, coming up with new ways to work with Unilever Food Solutions’ quality product range and delivering great-tasting and often surprising dishes.”

Garth Shnier, a member of the WACS Culinary Guidelines Committee, who adjudicated the judging procedure, says: “This competition is invaluable in providing the industry with a benchmark for culinary competition skills. It is one of the key events on South Africa’s culinary calendar and has, for the last 40 years, consistently produced outstanding winners who have gone on to achieve great heights in their careers. From the time that I won the Marvello Chef of the Year, the predecessor to today’s competition in the 80s to now, the Unilever Food Solutions Chef of the Year has grown in stature and prestige, and is an important contributor to uplifting culinary standards and giving chefs a platform for their talents and skills.”

Bol assured chefs across South Africa that Unilever Food Solutions will continue to strengthen its position as the chefs’ champion, taking their suggestions, needs, and expectations into account as product development, promotions and events were planned going forward. “While teaching is a great passion of mine, so is learning, and we welcome every opportunity to improve on the work we do with chefs in this country. Our sincere thanks must go to every chef who has invested time and effort with us, helping us to work more closely with this inspiring industry.”

This event costs in the region of R1-million to host, with prize money totalling R120 000. It is the company’s way of giving back to the industry, supporting training and helping to highlight top trends and talent of a world-class standard.


Taken from:  http://www.hotelandrestaurant.co.za/hotels/jade-van-der-spuy-is-unilever-food-solutions-chef-of-the-year/#sthash.P8uKOONC.dpuf


Photos courtesy of Unilever Foodsolutions SA Facebook page

Photos courtesy of Unilever Foodsolutions SA Facebook page

Congratulations to TEAM CHS on their achievement!


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