On the photo is Reuben Riffel, South African food legend and part-sponsor of the competition, Stephen Butt, vice chairman of SAPPO, and winner Rutendo Ruth Marovatsango.

SAPPO is the main ingredient sponsor of the “Reach for Young Stars” cooking competition for culinary academies. This annual competition aims to discover and encourage new cooking talent and introduce them to the broader culinary society and hospitality industry. Most culinary academies in the greater Western Cape area participate every year.

The extensive elimination process over four months culminates in a gala awards function, which takes place every year at the One&Only Waterfront Hotel & Conference Centre.

So what’s cooking?

The prize-giving lunch was attended by many well-known foodies, leading chefs, food writers, hospitality industry captains and representatives of SAPPO. Participating student chefs had to cook pork shoulder and pork neck in the competition this year, and pork was the star attraction in the main course at the gala event. Two interesting, creative and delicious main courses testified to pork’s versatility and that it is a perfect match for a new modern generation.

Right are the two winning pork dishes: Top: Asian-styled pork neck and pork shoulder, sweet potato fondant, char-grilled bok choy, garlic, carrots, tender stem broccoli, carrot and ginger purée. Below: Sous vide pork neck infused with fennel, five-spice date purée, carrot purée, buttery golden baby beets, purple beetroot dust, parsnip chips, crackling, leeks.

Anette Kesler, MD of showcook.com and founder member of the competition, paid tribute to SAPPO for having the vision to sponsor this competition. During her keynote address she said that the pork industry should be proud of itself as it is an example to other industries on how to promote its product amongst a new generation.

And the winner is …

The pork main course of Rutendo Ruth Marovatsango of the Private Hotel School in Cape Town, was voted best pork dish. She received the Purple Ribbon Pork Award and a cash prize from SAPPO. She was also named overall winner of the competition. Included in her many prizes is an apprenticeship in Dubai where she will be gaining experience in several Michelin star restaurants. – Press release