top of page
  • Writer's pictureStrategic PR


Image: 2021_RCL_Young_Chef_Challenge

A total of R110 000 is up for grabs in the RCL FOODS Young Chefs and Young Bakers competitions – two competitions that are set to cause a stir among the most talented rising stars in the South African culinary industry. The competitions are brought to the industry in a proud partnership with SA Chefs and the SA Bakers Association.

Building on the success of last year’s RCL FOODS Young Chef Competition, this year sees the launch of the Young Baker Competition. The total prize pool makes these two competitions among the biggest to be held in the culinary industry this year, with the top baker walking away with R20 000 and the two winning team members in the Young Chef category winning R15 000 each. Chef Brad Kavanagh, Head Chef of RCL FOODS, says, “Providing an opportunity to compete fulfils a significant need in the industry, and the culinary community has been eagerly anticipating the return of the competition in 2022. By providing a platform for both young chefs and bakers to showcase their talent, we are creating a positive, sustainable impact.”

The RCL FOODS Young Chef Competition is aimed at culinary students between 18 and 27 years old, competing in teams of two for a first prize of R30 000, second prize of R20 000 and third prize of R15 000. The two participants in each team must be enrolled at the same professional institution or in-service programme focusing on Culinary Arts or Professional Cookery.

The RCL FOODS Young Bakers Competition is open to individuals who bake breads or baked confectionery as a source of income or are enrolled with a professional institution or an in-service programme focusing on Culinary Arts or a Professional Cookery. The young bakers will be competing for the top prize of R20 000, second prize of R15 000 and third prize of R10 000.

With regional competitions taking place in Gauteng, KZN, the Western Cape, Limpopo and Free State, the competition is aimed at kickstarting the careers of the most talented and skilled participants from all over the country.

How to enter

Entry into both competitions could not be easier – simply fill in the registration form and submit a portfolio of evidence relevant to the competition category. Six chef teams and six bakers will be selected by the South African Chefs Association (SA Chefs) to compete in the regional competitions on the basis of these entries. Judges will be looking for innovative usage of stipulated ingredients, portion obedience, textures, balance and colour, perceived taste, appearance and creativity of the dish. The closing date for entries is 31 July 2022. To enter, go to, fill in the online entry form and submit your portfolio of evidence.

Regional competitions in five provinces

Regional competitions – taking the form of a mystery basket challenge – will take place during August and September. In the Young Chef competition, the teams will be required to prepare a restaurant main course and dessert, while in the Young Baker competition, the individual competitors will be showing off their skills by preparing a baked bread and two baked confectionary items.

Nail-biting hybrid final competition

Only the top two teams and top two bakers from each region will make it through to what promises to be a nail-biting final on 13 October. Scheduled to take place at the RCL FOODS kitchen in Durban, the final competition is a hybrid challenge consisting of both pre-determined elements and a mystery basket component. In the Young Chef competition, competitors will submit a restaurant main course and innovation dessert course prior to the competition, which they will cook on 13 October along with a mystery basket starter. In the Young Bakers Competition, the competitors will submit recipes and photographs for two types of breads and two types of baked confectionary, which they will cook on the day, along the mystery basket element of six cupcakes and a flavoured buttercream. “This combination will truly test the skills of the competitors, giving them the opportunity to put their best foot forward in the presentation of their pre-determined elements, and testing their ability to apply their creativity and talents under the pressurised conditions of a mystery basket challenge,” says Chef Adrian Vigus Brown, Competitions Director of SA Chefs.

Innovating with RCL FOODS

Contestants will be able to use several much-loved brands from RCL FOODS, a leading South African food manufacturer. In both the regional and national competitions, participants will be challenged to make use of these exceptional ingredients in creative applications. Says Kavanagh, “The RCL FOODS basket includes PIEMAN’spies, NOLA mayonnaise, Selati sugar, Supreme flour, Yum Yum peanut butter, Ouma rusks, Marvello spreads and Meadowland dairy cream alternatives – all staples in professional kitchens throughout the country. Their uses and applications are unlimited in the foodservice environment and learning to work creatively with these ingredients is an important aspect of enabling young chefs to develop their practical knowledge and skills. We look forward to seeing what the young chefs and bakers produce.”


bottom of page