Rusty the Rhino brings smiles
November 10, 2016

Top Chef 2016

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Harnessing talent within our company – the Compass Top Chef Competition 2016 came to an end last Wednesday.
The finale was held at the Peermont Hotel School at Emperors Palace, Johannesburg – with talent from across
the country heeding the call for a chance to be crowned as the group’s most elite chef.

 

We witnessed two full months of competition all over the country with chefs travelling far and wide to compete for this year’s coveted title.
The contest sought provisional winners, meaning that three chefs from each region of the country would take 1st, 2nd and 3rd place seats – hoping not to be knocked off while a day of cooking in each region went on.

 

The cooking started off in Cape Town where we saw two fun filled sessions of competitive cooking.
By the end of the day, three regional winners from the Mother City proved their mettle to make it to the national final.
Cape Town Finalists:
1st – Ntombi Ngcoko – Nedbank Clock Tower
2nd – Nicole Apples – PWC
3rd – Thembinkosi Stamper – Discovery Health

top-chef-2016-1aWe then moved onto Gauteng where two full days of intense competition were to be held.
The top three positions changed hands throughout the day.

By the end of the second session we had again seen the top three paces change hands on numerous occasion with a final three comprising of:
1st – Johan Hannekom – Milpark Netcare
2nd – Rouget Bagley – Nedbank 105 West/Old Mutual
3rd – Yann Dalibanga – Life Flora Hospital

The Kingdom of the Zulu saw chefs from Escourt and Lesotho adding to the competition.
Thank you to Bruce Van Niekerk for bringing these chefs through from far laying units to take their opportunity to display their talent.
Again we had many talented chefs taking part but only three could make it into the final:
1st – Sajana – Nedbank Ridgeside
2nd – Shiraaz Khan – PWC
3rd – Zubaida – Umhlanga Netcare
What is a smell of a KwaZulu-Natal meal without the rich aroma of the spices of a Durban curry?
Of the 68 chefs from across South Africa – 9 emerged as the cream of the crop.
Well done and thank you to all those chefs who participated.
You made this year’s competition fun and successful and we look forward to seeing you all again next year.

top-chef-2016-2bThe top 9 national chefs were to compete against each other for the Compass Top Chef 2016 title.
The much dreaded Mystery Box meant that all the chefs had no opportunity to plan in advance, but put their faith in their skill. The chefs had just 90 minutes to create at least two dishes from the ingredients in the Mystery Box.

As the chefs lifted the box to reveal its contents which only compromised of:

  • 4 x fresh prawns
  • Walnuts
  • ½ chicken
  • Port
  • Beetroot
  • Sour Cream
  • Whole pineapple
  • Apricots
  • Cumin seeds
  • Sweet potato
  • Baby marrow
  • Oyster Mushrooms

The judges moved amongst the stations seeing what the chefs were up to and what their plans were for the ingredients.
While all of this was unfolding, we had Compass employees and clients watching on and mingling around, snacking on freshly baked cakes and brownies from the bakery at Nedbank 135 Rivonia.
With the time ticking down the chefs worked frantically to put together the non-matching ingredients.
Chefs were provided regular time updates and had shouts of panic in return when they realized they were quickly running out of time.

As the time drew to an end the entire audience did the dreaded 10 second countdown the famous phrase “STOP COOKING” ended meal preparation time.
The judging panel had their tasting table set up in view of the audience with one chef after another being called upon to explain their creations and hope that the judges were kind to them.
After a full hour and 10 minutes the judging was complete and we had to round up the chefs to communicate the final results.

Reuben Riffel took us through the judges’ findings and explained what and how the judging was finalized.
With bated breath the top three places were announced.
3rd place went to Yann Dalibanga of Life Healthcare Flora Hospital
2nd place was awarded to Rouget Bagley of Nedbank 105 West/Old Mutual
1st place and the overall winner of Compass Top Chef 2016 went to Johan Hannekom from Netcare Milpark

The competition this year was fierce and to make the final was already a sign that there was immense talent to be proud of.
As a little fun we decided to hold a side competition for our much lorded Regional General Managers (supported by a selected Regional Manager) and a team of head office wannabe’s in Alan Wintermeyer, Brent Kinnear and Michelle Ackerman.
This group of misfits had an hour and a half to create a cottage pie and some chocolate profiteroles.
What unfolded over the time frame was absolute mayhem and blatant acts of sabotage on each other’s dishes.
By the end of the time we had bright yellow choux pastry balls and spicy hot beef mice topped with various food colored mashed potatoes.

With Reuben not too keen on tasting the funny looking outcomes of a chaotic cooking session, we decided to bestow the privilege on the three winners of the Top Chef Competition to judge their bosses.
The final outcome was a Gauteng Medirest team of Dolf Smook and Enid Van Heerden handed the winning Silver plate.

In conclusion, congratulations needs to be given not only all the chefs that competed this year but the management teams and directors of this company.
Thank you to Bidvest for the loan of their test kitchens for the local heats and for supplying the final chefs with hampers to go with their winning prizes.
A massive thank you to Peermont Hotel School for hosting our final and a big thanks to all the judges, both food and HSE- for making the time to take part.
Finally to the Leadership team for organizing this fantastic event that brings out the best of what we represent as a company.

See some of the highlights from the event here:

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