2016 is offering many South Africans the chance to represent our beautiful country. Besides our athletes heading off to Brazil later this year to compete in the Olympics, our South African Culinary team will also be competing in the prestigious IKA Culinary Olympics in Germany, from 22 to 25 October 2016.
The National Culinary team is a division of the South African Chefs Association, which is recognised as the representative for chefs, cooks and caterers of South Africa.
The Culinary Team of South Africa is led by Chef Heinz Brunner and the team includes seven talented young chefs, namely Henrico Grobbelaar (Southern Sun Waterfront), Dion Vengatass (Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel), Blake Anderson (3SIXTY and Billy G, Montecasino), Jerome Norton (Four Seasons, The Westcliff Hotel), Kirstin Hellemann (Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel), Minette Smith (HTA School of Culinary Art) and Arno Ralph (Lindt & Sprungli SA).
The 7 Springbok Culinary Team are part of the 32 countries who will have six hours to prepare their three-course menus to serve 110 people under the scrutiny of thousands of spectators and international judges from around the world.
Like most team sports, which requires team members to spend many hours training and perfecting their skills and craft, the Culinary Team spent 2 days working on their 3 course menu, at the HTA School of Culinary Art facility in Ferndale in Randburg, recently.
The Olympic standard cuisine was presented to a few invited guests, to sample many locally sourced ingredients.
OLYMPIC CULINARY HISTORY
South Africa first sent a team overseas to compete in the Culinary Olympics in 1980, bringing home five individual gold medals and winning fourth place overall in the hot kitchen competition. For the first time ever in 2000, the South African National Culinary Team or Culinary Team South Africa, as it is now known, comprised a wholly South African born and trained team.
Throughout the culinary team’s history, renowned chefs have been a part of the team, including Bill Gallagher, Heinz Brunner, Manfred Muellers, Bruce Burns, Andrew Atkinson, Garth Shnier, Paul Hartmann, David Higgs and Garth Stroebel.
In 2004, Team SA brought back four medals consisting of three silvers and one bronze. In 2008, Culinary Team SA brought back a gold medal in the Hot Kitchen section – the first gold to be won by South Africa in 16 years. In the same year, Culinary Team SA were awarded the official South African Team status by the Department of Arts and Culture’s Bureau of Heraldry. This recognition reflects the enormous achievements of the South African Chefs Association and growth of the South African National Culinary Team.