The winners of the 2020 Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge were announced last
night (3 March), at an intimate awards ceremony held at the Taj Cape Town’s
Bombay Brasserie, and broadcast digitally. This comes in the wake of an
unprecedented year which saw the Covid-19 global pandemic severely impacting
the South African tourism and hospitality sector amongst others.

Said Annette Kesler of Showcook.com, that has been running the Distell
Inter-Hotel Challenge since 2013: “The year 2020 is one that will remain
indelibly imprinted on our memories. For the Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge,
watching the hospitality industry come to a standstill was devastating. For
a brief moment, we wondered if the challenge could even continue. It is a
testament to our partners, the hotels, the food producers, the wine and
spirit makers… and the tenacity of our candidates and their mentors, that
tonight, in the regal setting of the Bombay Brasserie at Taj Cape Town, we
celebrate the end of a successful 2020 Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge. As
much as we honour the winners, we also salute every single person who
stepped up to be part of the challenge in ways that we could not have
conceived or ever hoped for.

“Even the way we announce our winners tonight has come about as a result of
having to find ways of continuing our mentorship work, even in the face of a
deadly pandemic,” she stated, referring to new ways of working due to
Covid-19 and the way in which the challenge has been adapted to embrace
virtual solutions.

“The core objectives that lie at the heart of the Distell Inter-Hotel
Challenge, now in its ninth year, remain unchanged. We are about mentorship
for the next generation of hospitality giants in South Africa. The young men
and women we meet as candidates throughout the challenge, are the same
individuals who go on to become the leading lights in South Africa’s
hospitality industry. Hospitality is the backbone of tourism, a core South
African sector. Without programmes like this, and the passionate commitment
of our sponsors, the hotels and their management teams, sommeliers,
executive chefs, farmers, food and beverage producers and educators across
the disciplines, our hotel industry would not be able to sustain the high
standards by which we are known around the globe.”

Kesler also explained that it’s now more important than ever before to offer
opportunities to young South Africans. “Our country’s youth is in an
employment crisis. Currently, just a little over one out of every two South
Africans between the age of 15 and 34 are unemployed, not in school or in
any formal educational programme. This year, the Distell Inter-Hotel
Challenge is placing even stronger emphasis on facilitating a platform that
allows the industry to join forces to change the lives of young talent
across the country.”

Richard Rushton, Distell’s chief executive officer (CEO) says: “It’s an
incredible honour for Distell to be the headline sponsor of the annual
Inter-Hotel Challenge for the eighth year running.  Our long-standing
involvement is a clear demonstration of our commitment to South Africa’s
hospitality sector, and to skills development and transfer.

“What makes the Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge such an important and
progressive platform is the way it actively encourages the pooling of
talent, skill and resources for greater impact, something that’s needed now
more than ever before. Congratulations to the winners. We’re enormously
excited by the potential of our country’s young hospitality talent and look
forward to their contribution to this vitally important sector.”

The categories of the 2020 Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge encompassed a wide
field of hospitality talent including concierges, wine stewards, baristas,
bakers, chefs, pastry chefs and more.

The winners are:

DISTELL INTER-HOTEL CHALLENGE WINE STEWARD OF THE YEAR: Keegan Terry,
Belmond Mount Nelson (Nederburg & Three Ships)
2nd: Joint winners; Emile Liebenberg, The Liz McGrath Collection (Pongrácz &
Cruz) and Nhlakanipho Justice Zondo, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani
(Nederburg & Scottish Leader)
3rd: Xolani Mzileni, The Beverly Hills (Allesverloren & Klipdrift)

MOST PROMISING WINE STEWARD: Joint winners; Sithembile Angel Khuzwayo,
Durban ICC (Pongrácz & Cruz) and Lindokuhle Siya, Lanzerac Hotel & Spa
(Allesverloren & Three Ships)

MOST UP & COMING WINE STEWARD (‘THE WONGA PRIZE’): Nhlakanipho Justice
Zondo, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani (Nederburg & Scottish Leader)

EXQUISITE SERVICE: Keegan Terry, Belmond Mount Nelson (Nederburg & Three
Ships)

DISTELL INTER-HOTEL CHALLENGE CHEF OF THE YEAR: Ivanna Ganesh, The Beverly
Hills

2nd: Joint winners; Rameez Ceres, Belmond Mount Nelson and Angeline Mthembu,
De Hoek Country Hotel

3rd: Mfundo Gcwensa, Durban ICC

MOST PROMISING CHEF: Mathew Oliphant, Taj Cape Town

SCANPAN EXCELLENT KITCHEN PRACTICE: Duo of Chefs Ivanna Ganesh, assisted by
Sphesihle Dlomo, The Beverly Hills

Runner-Up SCANPAN EXCELLENT KITCHEN PRACTICE: Duo of Chefs: Angeline Mthembu
assisted by Austin Haywood, De Hoek Country Hotel

BEST MENU PRESENTATION: Amber van Reenen, Lanzerac Hotel & Spa

MOST DELECTABLE DENNY STARTER: Ivanna Ganesh, The Beverly Hills
Study of Mushroom – Confit King Oyster Mushroom | Chevin Mousse | Hazelnut
and Chilli Praline Dust | Pickled Exotic Mushrooms | Charred Onions | Lime &
Dill Pearls | Apple & Date Compote | Crisp Sweet Potato ~ Allesverloren
Chenin Blanc 2020

THE PURPLE RIBBON AWARD FOR THE BEST SA PORK DISH: Ivanna Ganesh, The
Beverly Hills
Duo of Pork – Roasted Pork Loin | Parsnip, Walnut and Cranberry Purée |
Blueberry and Black Pepper Jus | Leek, Blueberry and Bacon Jam | Fondant
Potato | Steamed Tender Stem Broccoli | Roasted Carrot Purée ~ Allesverloren
Shiraz 2017

DISTELL INTER-HOTEL CHALLENGE PASTRY CHEF OF THE YEAR: Sohail Seegobin, The
Beverly Hills

LANCEWOOD BEST DESSERT
1st: Sohail Seegobin, The Beverly Hills
2nd: Olga Kobo, Sun Time Square The Maslow
3rd: Kristin Reagon, The Liz McGrath Collection

BUTTER CAKE
1st: Sohail Seegobin, The Beverly Hills
2nd: Alka Gyanda, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani
3rd: Rowan Pollecutt, Belmond Mount Nelson

DISTELL INTER-HOTEL CHALLENGE BIO-WHEAT BAKER OF THE YEAR: Matthew Paulson,
Belmond Mount Nelson
2nd: Ntsiki Msweli, The Beverly Hills
3rd: Nokwasi Gigaba, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani

THE KITCHENAID MOST PROMISING BAKER: Desmond Nikwe, Durban ICC

TOP THREE BARISTAS:
Lungelwa Vivian Sigwiji, I Love Coffee formerly representing Protea Hotel by
Marriott Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton
Lungile Ignatia Mkhize, The Beverly Hills
Cedrick Thabo Sibi, The President Hotel

TOP THREE COCKTAILS
‘Passion Fruit Sunset’ with Three Ships – Keegan Terry, Belmond Mount Nelson

‘Sea Sour’ with Scottish Leader – Justice Zondo, Southern Sun Elangeni &
Maharani
‘Senza Cruz’ with Cruz and S. Pellegrino Essenza – Emile Liebenberg, The Liz
McGrath Collection

BEST FOOD & WINE PAIRING

STARTER: Pan-Seared Scallops with Denny King Oyster Mushrooms | Asian Greens
| Lemon Gel | Tomato | Aji Dressing ~ Pongrácz Rosé
Chef Angeline Mthembu & Wine Steward Eid Dube, De Hoek Country Hotel

MAIN: Pork Loin, Bacon and Cabbage Wellington | Celeriac and Parsnip Pave |
Prune and Pickled Onion Chutney | Baby Sautéed Vegetables with Rio Largo
Olive Oil ~ Nederburg The Brew Master 2017
Chef Rameez Ceres & Wine Steward Keegan Terry, Belmond Mount Nelson

DESSERT: Spiced Blueberries, Pistachio and Citrus Tart | Lancewood Vanilla
Mascarpone Crème ~ Nederburg The Winemasters Noble Late Harvest 2017
Pastry Chef Rowan Pollecutt & Wine Steward Keegan Terry, Belmond Mount
Nelson

SHOWCOOK MAN OF THE MATCH: Patrick Fisher, Lanzerac Hotel & Spa

MENTOR OF THE YEAR: Hagashen Moodley, Sous Chef, The Beverly Hills

TOP THREE CONCIERGES:
Anel Rust, Lanzerac Hotel & Spa
Michael Chihwai, The President Hotel
Khatao Lawrence Magedane, Protea Hotel by Marriott Johannesburg Balalaika
Sandton

BEST TEAM AWARD presented by KitchenAid Africa: The Beverly Hills

GENERAL MANAGER (GM) OF THE YEAR: John Aritho, The Beverly Hills

CAPE WINE ACADEMY RESULTS

Sinead Sinclair, 97%, formerly of Protea Hotel by Marriott Johannesburg
Balalaika Sandton
Devika Giga, 97%, formerly of Taj Cape Town
Danielle Fourie, 93%, formerly of NH The Lord Charles
Nhlakanipho Justice Zondo, 93%, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani
Xolani Mzileni, 93%, The Beverly Hills
Sakhile Ngubane, 90%, formerly of The Protea Hotel by Marriott Durban Edward
Keegan Terry, 90%, Belmond Mount Nelson

SOMMELIERS ACADEMY RESULTS

Sinead Sinclair, 96%, formerly of Protea Hotel by Marriott Johannesburg
Balalaika Sandton
Putuma Mbonwa, 96%, formerly of Southern Sun Cape Sun and SunSquare Cape
Town City Bowl (Tsogo Sun)
Lindokuhle Siyo, 96%, Lanzerac Hotel & Spa
Fortune Joseph Sithole, 96%, formerly of Protea Hotel by Marriott
Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton
Ayabonga Makupula, 94%, formerly of The President Hotel
Nhlakanipho Justice Zondo, 94%, Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani
Xolani Mzileni, 92%, The Beverly Hills
Devika Giga, 92%, formerly of Taj Cape Town

ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE: Sinead Sinclair, formerly of Protea Hotel by Marriott
Johannesburg Balalaika Sandton (Durbanville Hills & Scottish Leader)

The judges:

A formidable and highly experienced panel of regional and travelling judges
were lined up to judge the various categories for the 2020 Distell
Inter-Hotel Challenge at the  <https://www.capsicumcooking.com/> Capsicum
Culinary Studio in Rosebank and Cape Town, and at the
<https://www.hotelschool.co.za/> International Hotel School in Durban. The
food judges included Hugh von Zahn, Brian McCune, the late Dorah Sitole,
Fatima Stanley, Jac Kolver, Kyle Hickman and Lorraine Meaney. The kitchen
evaluation judge was Julietta e Silva. Wine and spirit service presentations
were conducted by travelling judges Sandy Harper and Jean Vincent Ridon.
Regional wine and food pairing judges included Aubrey Ngcungama, Germain
Lehodey, Karen Bloom, Kristina Beuthner, Mark O’Flaherty and Marlvin Gwese.
Baristas were judged by Alison Douglas, Caroline Ncube, Leah Nabakwe, Paula
Visser, Robert Shazi, Tarryn van der Toorn and Wayne Abrahams, and
Concierges by Horst Frehse.

The prizes:

The ‘Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge Wine Steward of the Year 2020’ looks
forward to a brilliant travel experience with  <http://www.distell.co.za>
Distell to Scotland with visits to two of its top distilleries;
<https://www.deanstonmalt.com> Deanston and  <https://bunnahabhain.com>
Bunnahabhain. On the itinerary: France and an introduction to a world of
wines in Bordeaux at La Cité du Vin. A two night stay in
<http://67pallmall.co.uk> London at the superb
<https://www.redcarnationhotels.com/our-hotels/london/the-montague-on-the-ga
rdens?sc_lang=en> The Montague on the Gardens with Red Carnation while
working closely with the 67 Pall Mall Sommelier team – the most exclusive
wine club in the heart of St James and an opportunity to work with Eric
Zwiebel at the exquisite Summer Lodge in Somerset, England. In addition, the
winner will receive a bursary from Distell to attend further training with
the South African Sommeliers Association (SASA) and the Sommeliers Academy.
<http://youtu.be/memcvRaYICwhttp://youtu.be/memcvRaYICw

The ‘Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge Chef of the Year 2020’ is set to enjoy a
three-week internship with  <https://www.tajhotels.com/> Taj Hotels in India
( <https://youtu.be/msVjMpUNQCYhttps://youtu.be/msVjMpUNQCY), with flights
sponsored where possible by  <http://www.distell.co.za> Distell. Over the
years winners have been invited to Long Beach Mauritius (2013), Taj Mahal
Palace India (2014), the Shangri-La in Dubai (2015), The Alcron in Prague
(2016), The Marriott Ritz-Carlton Hotel and JW Marriott Marquis in Dubai
(2017), NH Collection Barbizon Palace hotel, D’Vijff Vlieghen and Grand
Hotel Krasnapolsky (2018), and most recently Minor Hotels in Bangkok; at
Anantara Riverside Bangkok Hotel, Anantara Sathorn Bangkok Hotel and
Anantara Siam Bangkok Hotels (2019), and assisted with Michelin star chefs
who participated in the World Gourmet Festival.

The ‘Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge Pastry Chef of the Year 2020’ is invited
to experience a three-week internship in France, the home of fine patisserie
at the exquisite  <https://www.lacreuzette.com/en/pages/about-us> Château La
Creuzette in Boussac with hosts Louis Jansen van Vuuren and Hardy Olivier. A
ravishing prize where the winner will continue to broaden their culinary
skills and at the same time absorb incomparable French flair. Flights
courtesy of  <https://lancewood.co.za> Lancewood plus a cash prize. In
addition, the winner will receive a superb  <https://www.canon.co.za/> Canon
EOS M6 MkII camera to chart their journey.

The ‘Distell Inter-Hotel Challenge Baker of the Year 2020’ receives a
<https://www.kitchenaidafrica.com/> KitchenAid Food Processor while the
hotel collects a  <https://www.kitchenaidafrica.com/> KitchenAid Commercial
Mixer.

The Top Three Concierges each receive an exquisite diamond-studded,
hand-crafted gold lapel pins by  <http://www.thediamondworks.co.za/> The
Diamond Works Institute.

The Top Three Baristas are rewarded with meaningful prizes by Avanti Coffee
SA and prizes from  <https://www.kitchenaidafrica.com/> KitchenAid Africa
and  <https://www.alcdashley.co.za/> AL&CD Ashley.

The Best Team receives the  <https://www.kitchenaidafrica.com/> KitchenAid
Africa Floating Trophy.

The GM of the Year receives exquisite hand-crafted gold cufflinks by
<http://www.thediamondworks.co.za/> The Diamond Works Institute.

Sinead Sinclair (formerly of Protea Hotel by Marriott Johannesburg Balalaika
Sandton) benefits from the  <https://www.hotelschool.co.za/> International
Hotel School’s R30 000 online bursary, designed to give candidates the tools
to further their business aspirations, awarded for academic excellence.

‘The Wonga Award’ for 2020, awarded to Nhlakanipho Justice Zondo of the
Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani, affords him a R30 000 bursary from the
<http://www.nyda.gov.za/> South African National Youth Development Agency to
pursue an online business course with the  <https://www.hotelschool.co.za/>
International Hotel School.

A splendid weekend at  <https://www.vineyard.co.za/> The Vineyard, set in
five acres of some of the most exquisite gardens, is the memorable
historical destination for the Mentor of the Year. A rewarding prize for a
valuable key player for the success of the team.
<http://youtu.be/bCp8QIMvI44http://youtu.be/bCp8QIMvI44

Superb prizes for all the winners from  <https://www.kitchenaidafrica.com/>
KitchenAid Africa with Dr Susanne Reuther including
<https://www.kitchenaidafrica.com/shop-online/stand-mixer> KitchenAid
Artisan Mixers,
<https://www.kitchenaidafrica.com/shop-online/gadgets-and-utensils> Gadget &
Utensils,  <https://www.kitchenaidafrica.com/shop-online/ceramics> Ceramics,
<https://www.kitchenaidafrica.com/shop-online/bakeware> Bakeware and more.

Highly desirable and stunning prizes from  <https://www.alcdashley.co.za/>
AL&CD Ashley including  <http://www.scanpan.co.za> SCANPAN the finest of
<http://www.globalknives.co.za> Global Knives,  <http://www.brabantia.co.za>
Brabantia,  <https://www.alcdashley.co.za/collections/avanti-1> Avanti,
<mailto:https%2525253A//PGEgaHJlZj0iaHR0cDovL3d3dy5hbGNkYXNobGV5LmNvLnphL2NvbGxlY3Rpb25zL3R5cGVzP3E9Qm9kdW0lMjUyNTIiIHRhcmdldD0iX2JsYW5rIj53d3cuYWxjZGFzaGxleS5jby56YS9jb2xsZWN0aW9ucy90eXBlcz9xPUJvZHVtJTI1MjUyPC9hPg==
52520-%2525252520Drinkware> Bodum,
<https://www.alcdashley.co.za/collections/types?q=Severin%25252520-%25252520
Coffee> Severin and Joseph Joseph.

Meaningful bursaries from the  <https://www.capewineacademy.co.za/> Cape
Wine Academy for the top wine stewards, as well as stunning hand-crafted
lapel pins by  <http://www.thediamondworks.co.za/> The Diamond Works
Institute.

 <https://didactix.co.za> Didactix  has offered the ‘Scanpan Excellent
Kitchen Practice’ duo of chefs and runners-up a one-day training programme
and online examination to achieve the international certificate in the
Highfield Qualification Level 2 Award in Food Safety & Catering.

Generous gifts from  <http://www.apple.com/uk> S.Pellegrino,
<https://www.acquapanna.com/intl/> Acqua Panna,  <http://www.apple.com/uk>
Italian Delionline,  <https://thehallcollection.co.za/> The Hall Collection
and  <https://www.riolargo.co.za> Rio Largo Olive Oil. Books for life from
<https://www.penguinrandomhouse.co.za> Penguin Random House and best-selling
South African wine advisor,  <https://www.wineonaplatter.com/> Platter’s
South African Wine Guide, plus the recent Gourmand awarded book
<https://shop.winery.co.za/> Passion for Pairing by Jean-Vincent Ridon, and
the last word in delectable prizes… <https://www.vgchocolate.co.za/> Von
Geusau Chocolates.

Suppliers during the challenge:

Distell Wines: Allesverloren * Durbanville Hills * Fleur Du Cap * Nederburg
* Plaisir de Merle * Pongrácz * Zonnebloem

Distell Spirits: Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky * Cruz * Gordon’s London Dry
Gin * Scottish Leader * Three Ships * Van Ryn’s * Klipdrift

Additional: S. Pellegrino * Acqua Panna * S. Pellegrino Essenza * SA Pork *
Lancewood Cheese * Denny Mushrooms * Lurpak Butter * Rio Largo Olive Oil *
Bio-Wheat * Avanti Coffee * Khoisan Sea Salt

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