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RCL’s Young Chef and Young Baker competitors prepare for the final showdown

Updated: 6 days ago

Twenty-six young chefs and bakers will gather in Durban on 13 October to compete in the finals of the RCL FOODS Young Chef and Young Baker competitions – pitting their skills against each other for a share of the total prize purse of R110 000.

The RCL FOODS Young Chef final features two teams of two entrants from five regions, while the Young Baker final brings together two individual finalists from three regions.

The RCL Young Chef finalists are:


  • Carla Jane Christie and Ruben Kruger from 1000 Hills Chefs School

  • Matthe Van Heerden and Shanuel Zimba, 1000 Hills Chef School


  • Thamsanqa Irwin Mashele and Mpoteng Mokete Lekalakala from Limpopo Chefs Academy

  • Relebogile Eunice Phefo and Nthabiseng Seema from Sondela Academy


  • Kamogelo Banyamile Magale and Rearabiloe Lethabo from Semango Capital Hotel School

  • Leandre Mari Engelbrecht and Tebatso Antoinette Mamabolo from Guvon Academy

Western Cape

  • Matthew Maree and Nicole Bowes from Silwood School of Cookery

  • Kelly Fletcher and Kara Venter, also from Silwood

Free State

  • Khomotso Nthabiseng Mashie and Emelda Thandeka Salman, Food and Beverage Institute, Bloemfontein

  • Shané Meyer and Contessa Janse van Rensburg, Food and Beverage Institute Bloemfontein

The RCL Young Baker finalists are:


  • Lynette Spykerman from 1000 Hills Chefs School

  • Rukaiya Docrat, Cookies Cakery


  • Simthandile Nomandla from FBI Chef School & Patisserie Academy

  • Ameera Gani from CTIA (resident of Witbank)

Western Cape

  • Isra Hoosen, Silwood School of Cookery

  • Rachel Dinkelmann from Rachie’s Cakery

The prizes in both competitions are significant, with the winning team of two in the Young Chef category taking home R15 000 each, second place – R10 000 each, and third place – R7 500 each. The Young Baker prize winners walk away with R15 000 for first place, R15 000 for second, and R10 000 for third place.

Chef Brad Kavanagh, Head Chef of RCL FOODS, says at the heart of these two competitions is RCL’s passion for nurturing and investing in young chefs and bakers, upskilling them in their chosen culinary disciplines.

RCL FOODS is partnering with various organisations to ensure that the maximum amount of value can be added to the youngsters’ culinary careers. SA Chefs and SA Bakers association are running the competition, with Chef Adrian Vigus Brown, SA Chefs’ Competition Director, as the overall head judge.

Kavanagh adds, “We kept in touch with the entrants throughout the stages of the competitions, and held webinars for them, explaining the expectations, helping them to be as competition-ready as possible, and making sure they put their best foot forward in the competition,” he explains.

SA Chefs managed the competition entries and ensured that each one was scored professionally, and that the judges’ notes and feedback were made available to the entrants if they wanted it to evaluate their performance and possibly consider making changes to help them stay on top of their game.

RCL FOODS is the perfect host for both the Young Chef and Young Baker competitions because a large proportion of the group’s basket of brands and products are staples in professional kitchens. The RCL FOODS range includes PIEMAN’s pies, NOLA mayonnaise, Selati sugar, Supreme flour, Yum Yum peanut butter, Ouma rusks, Marvello spreads, Meadowland dairy cream alternatives, as well as plant-based products from Oumph! and Fry’s Family Foods.

The finals of the RCL FOODS Young Chef and Young Baker competitions consist of both predetermined elements and a mystery basket component. In Young Chef, competitors submitted recipes for a restaurant main course and an innovation dessert course before the competition, which they will cook on 13 October along with a mystery basket starter. In Young Baker, the competitors submitted recipes for two types of breads and two types of baked confectionary, which they will bake on the day, along with the mystery basket element of six cupcakes and a flavoured buttercream.

The finals on 13 October will culminate in a prize-giving banquet at Coastlands Umhlanga Hotel & Convention Centre, where the winners will be announced.


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