Meet SA’s Olympic team of chefs

(Cape Town) – It’s not only South African sprinters and swimmers who will don green and gold in the Olympics this year. A team of chefs will set off to represent our country in the IKA Culinary Olympics in Erfurt, Germany, from 22-25 October 2016.
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GOOD NEWS: The SA Culinary Olympic Team: Minette Smith, Trevor Boyd, Blake Anderson, Dion Vengatass, Arno Ralph, Henrico Grobbelaar, and Kirstin Hellemann. Photo supplied.

The bokke in chef’s whites  – Team Masakhane – are captain Henrico Grobbelaar of Southern Sun Waterfront; Blake Anderson of 3SIXTY and Billy G; Trevor Boyd of The Michelangelo Hotel; Kirstin Hellemann of the Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel; Arno Ralph of Lindt & Sprungli SA; Minette Smith of the HTA School of Culinary Art; and Dion Vengatass of Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel.

South African National Culinary Team manager Heinz Brunner says the group has been practicing hard for two years. “Everyone has given their absolute best and I’m very pleased with the camaraderie, the ‘gees’, they have developed. Each of them is humble but brimming with passion.”

For the Hot Kitchen section of the event, the team will have five and a half hours to prepare and execute its three-course menu to serve 110 people. The planned dishes were presented to a ballroom of guests as a dry run at The Belmond Mount Nelson on 18 July, and there are two more practices until Germany. “There are still a few things we need to hone,” says team captain Henrico Grobbelaar, “but we’re very positive that everything is going to come together in October. Practice makes perfect.”

Team manager Heinz is also looking forward to the Cold Table display, which takes place on the first day of the event. The 32 competing countries are broken up into groups of eight over the four days. SA’s group includes former world champions Norway and Sweden, China, England, Italy, Lithuania and Slovenia.

“Knowing that people from all over the world will be sampling our menu is a real thrill,” says Henrico.

Advisors Garth Shnier (Cold Table) and David Higgs (Hot Kitchen) have worked alongside the chefs to develop the dishes, which are designed to express South Africa on a plate. The starter of poached Cape rock lobster will be served with crayfish aioli and pressed carrot terrine, and garnished with carrot mayonnaise and Malay curry sauce. Pan-roasted springbok makes an appearance in the main course, along with rolled veal sweetbreads on a beef-and-juniper jus, with red cabbage and cider purée, savoy cabbage and boulangère potato. Finally, for the Bloemfontein-themed dessert, raspberry jelly will be paired with white chocolate mousse, coconut sponge and delicate rose meringues.

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The main course of pan-roasted loin of springbok with rolled veal sweetbreads, red-cabbage-and-cider purée, savoy cabbage and boulangère potato. Photo supplied.

“In a competition environment, you never know what’s going to happen on the day, but we’re confident that we’ve done our absolute best to prepare the team,” says Heinz.

The South African National Culinary Team’s slogan – one for all, and all for one – has been a guiding principle for the long years of preparation. “Team work is key,” says Henrico, “and attention to detail, along with immense amount of discipline.”

Go for gold, chefs!

This story was sourced from EatOut