THIRTY matriculants competed head-to-head on Saturday in a hospitality competition at the International Hotel School in Sandton, Johannesburg.
The students, most of whom take hospitality as a subject, were competing for a R150000 International Hotel School National Bursary.
The students competed with each other in a cook-off session in which they prepared a chicken dish and salad.
They also made nonalcoholic cocktails and set tables for a formal lunch.
Six finalists were selected: Ashley Greenberg, Vincent Kozakiewicz, Danielle Vereb, Nadine Marx, Devlin O'Reilly and Jia Jia Nan. They will compete in the final at the Indaba Hotel on July 3.
The finalists will stay at the hotel for a week and work in various divisions of the hotel unaided during their stay.
"I am passionate about cooking. I want to be a pastry chef," said Marx.
She designed a table with a coffee shop as theme.
Nan, a Chinese immigrant, said: "I love cooking and even though there is no hospitality studies at my school I asked my maths and science teachers to help me with the competition.
"All the things I used for the competition were borrowed from my teachers.
"I came to South Africa three years ago and asked someone to lend me R20000 to start a restaurant. When I am at school my mother runs it and I take over after school."