University College Birmingham student chef Chace Wagenhauser has been announced as the 2018 Hortgro South African Young Chef of the Year award winner.
Hortgro, which represents South African fruit growers, organises the competition, in association with Westminster Kingsway College, to raise awareness of peaches, nectarines, plums, apples and pears from the country amongst student chefs and young chefs who are already working in the industry.
Chefs from around the UK needed to research the season, ethics and flavour of South African fruit and South African cooking methods and submit their three-course menus with methods and photographs for judging by experts from the industry.
Eight finalists then took part in a cook-off final – which was held at Westminster Kingsway College at the end of April.
Wagenhauser from University College Birmingham (centre) impressed judges with her starter of pan-fried scallops and South African Granny Smith; beef fillet and South African Transvalia peach bobotie; and malva pudding dessert, with textures of South African Flavor King and Songold plums and Amarula ice-cream.
She wins a week’s stage in South Africa, where she will get first-hand experience of the country’s cooking and said: “I wanted to come up with a menu that didn’t just include South African produce but focused on it entirely. My mum is British and my dad is South African and I have always enjoyed combining these cuisines. But I never expected to win a competition like this.”
Jacques du Preez, Hortgro’s, general manager for trade and markets, added: “The South African Young Chef of the Year competition is a central part of our Beautiful Country, Beautiful Fruit campaign, and aims to educate the UK’s leading chefs of tomorrow about the incredible flavour of South African stone fruit and top fruit – and the good it does for our country when they use it in their cooking.
“After these chefs have taken part in the competition and experienced the flavours and the vibrancy of South African cuisine for themselves, they become powerful ambassadors for South African fruit, who can have buying power in the kitchen and influence on the food we eat from an early age.”
Dervis Mustafa, student chef at Westminster Kingsway College, placed second in the competition, with a starter of mackerel, burnt Granny Smith and sorrel velouté; spiced braai-style pluma pork, Packhams pear, granola and pork jus main course; and peach parfait, sesame tuile, caramelised Transvalia peach and lemon thyme sorbet dessert.
Egor Sellic of Bridgwater & Taunton College took third place with a starter of goats’ cheese, two ways with apple, pear and walnut; pork tasting three ways with plum and celeriac remoulade; and nectarine and rhubarb dessert with pistachio cake, apple sorbet and Chantilly cream.
The competition was judged by chef lecturer José Souto, actress and author Nicola Millbank; Masterchef: The Professionals finalist Petrus Madutlela; products and suppliers editor at The Caterer, Lisa Jenkins, and The Telegraph contributor and editor at Bread & Oysters magazine, Carolyn Hart.