World Bank staff enjoys SA cooking

HOME-GROWN South African cuisine will be in the spotlight at the prestigious World Bank restaurant in Washington DC this month.

Papi Leteka, executive chef at the OR Tambo International Airport, and Fiona Kleinhans, regional chef for KKS in Kwa-Zulu-Natal, have cooked their way to the US through a competition hosted by the global Compass Group.

The chefs, who work for Compass Group Southern Africa (Compass Group SA), competed in an internal cook-off competition and won the opportunity to present the best of South African cuisine to cosmopolitan gourmands at the World Bank.

This is the first overseas trip for Leteka.

On the menu for the five days the two chefs will be in the US will be old South African favourites such as biltong salad, corn bread, lamb stew, ostrich kebabs, pap and melktert.

Compass Group USA operates the World Bank restaurant in Washington DC. On a quarterly basis the bank invites a different country to showcase its talented chefs preparing indigenous food representing that country.

Five top South African chefs at Compass Group SA participated in the cook-off competition.

Each one had to prepare two starters, traditional salads, side vegetables, main courses and deserts. One of the main considerations for judging was to ensure that the dishes could be replicated at the World Bank for about 250 employees at one sitting.

Judges included Heinz Brunner and Kevin Garratt, both members of the Academy of Chefs, which is part of the South African Chefs Association.

Winner Fiona Kleinhans has been experimenting in the kitchen since she was six years old. This passion for cooking has made her an asset at KKS over the past 13 years.

Last year her team was placed second in the Unilever Chef of the Year 2009 competition.

"This is my first individual win and I am thrilled," Kleinhans says.

"My success comes from a real passion for food."

Second-placed Papi Leteka has been a professional chef for 12 years.

He combined recipes learnt from the trade with a long-standing recipe passed down by his grandfather to secure his win.

"This will be my first trip overseas. I owe the opportunity to my own perseverance.

"Many years ago, I was discouraged from becoming a chef. Now I am only too happy to prove the doubters wrong.

"Working with international chefs will help enhance my expertise, which will accompany me when I return to South Africa."


H Starters

Beef biltong pate

Potted corn bread

Ostrich ribbons tossed in sesa seeds and served with a mango and pepperdew sauce

H Salads

Oyster and portabelini mushrooms, guava and butter bean salad, sweet potato, coconut and sweet chilli salad

H Vegetables and starch

Rosemary roasted African medley of vegetables

Traditional layered pap tart

H Mains

Balsamic marinated fillet topped with chakalaka

Cape Malay chicken and apricot sosatie

H Dessert

Warm buttermilk pudding served with a naartjie and rooibos syrup. Amarula and berry delight


H Starters

Spicy chicken livers served with mielie bread

Pickled Cape salmon

H Salads

Traditional chakalaka

Biltong salad with spearmint and pepperdew

H Vegetables

Moroho (spinach with pumpkin leaves)

Mokopu (pumpkin)

H Mains

Braised lamb stew served with savoury pap

Ostrich kebabs served with flat bread

H Dessert

Cape brandy pudding and custard