Show Cook – Young Stars from the Cape Town Hotel School
I was extremely fortunate to attend the Showcook event at Reuben’s at the One and Only, where young stars from the Cape Town Hotel School (second year students) were given the opportunity to showcase their talent by presenting their creations to a room of selected food and industry media.
The project is the brainchild of the talented and loved Annette Kesler, a doyenne of South African food writers and an industry innovator. With the support of Alan Romburgh, Director of the Cape Town Hotel School, Nick Patmore Food and Beverage Manager of the One and Only Hotel, Reuben Riffel, esteemed judges and sponsors (Allee Bleue, Tru-Cape, the Pork Board and Phillips), the contestants were put through a rigorous practice and selection procedure at the school before the final three arrived at Reuben’s kitchen.
Here, in the professional kitchen and under the watchful guidance of head chef Martiz Jacobs, Clement Pedro, Michaela van der Merwe and Jesse Rynard, students from differing backgrounds, were put through their paces. The Cape Town Hotel school prides itself in it’s progressive and high level of education and the students were expected to flourish and received the school’s unconditional support.
I sat next to Alan Romburgh and we had a very pleasant discussion about the pre-selection procedures, talent at the school, the revamped restaurant at Granger Bay, a magnificent location overlooking the bay and open to the public as well as Phillips’ involvement in refurbishing the new kitchens. It was quite evident to me that Alan was and is mightily proud of his students, all of whom will “go very far” he shared.
The impressive panel of judges was made up of chef Bertus Basson, owner patron of Overture, Nikki Werner, editor and freelance food writer, Penelope Horwood, public relations/marketing star and wine writer, Nick Patmore, food and beverage manager of One and Only and Wolfgang Leyrer, general manager of Allee Bleue.
The dishes crafted by these second year students, had to use the sponsored ingredients and demonstrated a great understanding of techniques and were well flavoured and presented.
Clement Pedro was the overall winner with his main of a roast pork loin with an aromatic stuffing, white onion purée, fine green asparagus, beetroot jam and toffee apple compote, surrounded by a Port and red wine jus. This was paired with the Allée Bleue Cabernet Merlot, an elegant structured wine. His dessert was a particularly delicious chocolate tart with a smooth vanilla bean ice cream and a crisp vanilla tuille, complemented by an exquisite Allée Bleue Rosé!
Michaela van der Merwe, second place winner prepared a melting wild mushroom ravioli starter with a walnut cream sauce, and perfectly paired with the vibrant Allée Bleue Chenin Blanc. With its nutty bouquet, the wood fermented dry white wine was well attuned to a rich and savoury pasta.
We were served by a an extremely professional outfit of waiters and service staff students from the Hotel school, all young and so brimming with potential.
Winner of the young, aspiring sommelier award was Jarryd Green and the headwaiter award went to Duane Tomlinson.
I’d like to wish all the contestants and winners the very best- an incredible opportunity and one that will serve them well in their careers, I hope, as well as pave the way for other chefs, waiters and sommeliers. I felt really proud and encouraged by the talent we have locally- a very well spent afternoon.
We were sent home with very generous goodie bags from Allee Bleue and the Cape Town Hotel School’s Granger Bay restaurant.