Knives out, and adorning their white aprons, Chefs came out to play this Saturday at the annual Cresta Hotels Chefs Competition. The competition sees chefs from the 12 properties of Cresta Marakanelo facing off against one another and showcasing their culinary skills in a hotly contested competition that is not for the weak and the faint hearted.
The annual spectacular which this year saw a very big crowd coming all out to support and witness the chefs in the kitchen is proving to be a hit with both chefs and the public. Something worth mentioning is that the competition is taking the culinary industry on an exhilarating journey. The event took place at Cresta Lodge in Gaborone.
The competition is divided into six categories - Cold platters (Category A), Menu for one person consisting of Appetizer, Main course and dessert (Category B), Main Course for two people and consists of meat, fish, game on a suitable platter including garnish, vegetable and starch (Category C), Pastry (Category D), Showpiece fruit/vegetable (category E), and the last category is the Mystery Basket/ Live cooking (Category F). One of the most exciting categories was Category D. A hit with those with a penchant for pastries such as this reporter, the many dishes that were on display were a sight to behold and tempted one to fill one’s face with them and forget about plans for weight loss. The other displays for the other categories were equally astounding and proved that the chefs knew what they were doing.
But it is always the live cooking that takes the crown for the audience who are always eager to see how the chefs handle the pressure and if indeed they are professionals and know their way around the kitchen. The chefs were allocated an hour to prepare a starter and a main dish. Some rose to the occasion and handled the challenge like pros. And one or two, well time was not on their side, and they crumbled under the pressure.
Out of the eight that made it through the live cooking segment of the competition, some cooked up a storm, and cemented the fact why they are working for one of the top hotels in the country. Speaking with the Group Operations Manager, Jonathan Cox, he tells this publication that the competition is growing every year. And that it is open to only chefs from their 12 properties.
To level the playing field, Executive Chefs can only participate as mentors. “We have seen a tremendous improvement this year,” he says. “It is a talent and skills based competition. It gives the chefs a chance to see what their colleagues are doing, and they also get to learn from others,” he says. He also points out that they roped in three judges, and that the winning chefs and teams walked away with prizes and medals. The event had sponsors/partners that include Gabs Electronics, Sennfoods, World Foods, and Bidvest.