New junior chefs’ competition promotes potato potential

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Potatoes South Africa (PSA) and the South African Chefs' Association (SACA) have launched a collaborative chefs' competition aimed at hospitality learners in selected Public Sector Further Education Training (FET) colleges. The Mzansi Budding Chefs' Competition offers an opportunity to compete for coveted cash and training prizes.

SACA president Stephen Billingham explains: "This competition is not only a great way to show the versatility of the power-packed potato, but it also allows us to fulfill our mandate of promoting the art and science of cookery to all in South Africa, especially to training providers that do not usually take part in cooking competitions."

Participating colleges from Gauteng include Central Johannesburg College (with its five campuses), Ekurhuleni East & West Colleges, Sedibeng College, Tshwane North & South Colleges, South West Gauteng College and Western College. Also competing are Makikeng Hotel School (North West), Vuselela College (Limpopo) and Sondela Academy (North West).

The trainee chefs are required to produce potato recipes that are fresh, creative and practical, that highlight the potato's key attributes of affordability, versatility and ease of preparation.

Recipes must be entered into starter, main or dessert categories and must be aimed at LSM 4 to 7 population group (mid-market).

The top ten finalists will compete in the final to be held in early-June at the Southern Sun Centre for Culinary Excellence (CCE) based at SACA's head office at the University of Johannesburg's School of Tourism and Hospitality. The panel will consist of judges from SACA, PSA, as well as industry professionals.

First prize is R10 000 and a 10-day course at the CCE; second prize is R7 000 and a 5-day course at the CCE; and third prize is R5 000 and a 5-day course at the CCE.

The final recipes will appear in a 30-page recipe book that will underline the spud's delicious nature and dispel negative perceptions that potatoes are fattening, starchy and unhealthy.

Mark du Plessis, CEO of PSA, says: "Not everyone is lucky enough to know what's for supper. Often overlooked as the number one vegetable; the highly nutritious, yet humble potato has the power to build communities, feed the hungry, as well as fight poverty."

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