SECOND-YEAR culinary student Talita Bernt of Westcol College won the Mzansi Budding Chefs' Potato Competition. Second and third places were awarded to Malesela Matlala of Springs Campus and Cleopatra Tadzingwa of Westcol College .
Bernt won R10000 as well as a 10-day course at the SACA Southern Sun Centre for Culinary Excellence.
Second prize was R7000 and a five-day course and third prize was R5000 and a five-day course at theinstitution.
The three beat more than 120 hospitality students in selected Public Sector Further Education Training (FET) colleges.
The competition, that was launched in February, took place recently at the Southern Sun Centre for Culinary Excellence under the auspices of the South African Chefs Association. The judges included Arnold Tanzer; SACA board member Kabelo Segone; SACA board member and HTA School of Culinary art lecturer Allister Esau; SACA board member Etienne Booyens, marketing manager Potatoes South Africa; Immaculate Zinde, marketing assistant manager, Potatoes South Africa.
The trainee chefs had to produce potato recipes of a fresh, highly creative, but practical nature while simultaneously highlighting the vegetable's key attributes - affordability, versatility and ease of preparation.
Recipes were entered into the starter, main and dessert categories.
The judges were looking for creativity, flavour, originality as well as balance to the overall proposed menu.
Booyens said that the levels of innovation in the competition were high .
"We are hugely impressed by the level of innovation exhibited by these young students, in this, the inaugural year of the Mzansi Budding Chefs' Potato Competition. We have witnessed a number of recipes of a commercial nature, which we would be interested in developing further."
Booyens said they were looking forward to hosting this competition in 2011 and also assisting the SACA in building future SA culinary chefs for the international arena.