Six aspiring chefs from South Africa will get the chance to enter the culinary world thanks to study opportunities from cooking school Capsicum.
The Capsicum Culinary Studio’s annual Chef Talent Scout Competition will see six chef hopefuls in with a chance to win, with the overall winner receiving a three-year bursary valued at R200,000 for the school’s Advanced Culinary Arts Programme.
The five other prizes are one-year bursaries for the Professional Chef Programme or the Professional Patisserie Programme, to be awarded to regional finalists to study at one of Capsicum’s six campuses across the country – Boksburg, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth, Pretoria and Rosebank (Johannesburg).
The 2019 winner of the three-year bursary, Cindy Naidoo, lives in Lenasia South with her husband and two children.
Naidoo started her studies at the beginning of March and is excited to get back to class.
“I had three good weeks on campus then, just when I really started enjoying attending classes, the lockdown began,” she says.
“Even though we are in lockdown, Capsicum Culinary Studio has been absolutely amazing”
The Advanced Culinary Arts Programme is an NQF Level 5/QCTO qualification completed over three years.
“It is going very well so far,” Naidoo says. “Even though we are in lockdown, Capsicum Culinary Studio has been absolutely amazing with their online lectures via Microsoft Teams.
“My lecturer is Chef Ewan Johnston and he has totally been super supportive by always being readily available to assist us with our questions as well as sending us videos so we can better understand what we are learning, as we cannot do practicals at this time.
“It is tougher than I thought it would be, but I am enjoying every moment of it and I’m learning so much faster now than I would have if I was still doing it on my own.
“I cannot wait for lockdown to be lifted so I can get back to class and get cooking.”
To enter the talent scout competition, entrants must create a dish – sweet or savoury – using a red capsicum pepper or any other red ingredient; take a good, clear photo of the completed dish and upload it to their Instagram page, tagging @Capsicumcooking and using the hashtag #CapsicumTalent.
Naidoo’s advice to aspiring entrants is to think carefully about the dish they want to present.
“It should have colour, texture and be packed with flavour. It should also be something that would not require long hours to make.
“But the best advice I can give them is to have fun and enjoy every moment of the competition, as it is the most amazing experience they will ever have.”
The competition closes at midnight on November 30, and the names of 10 finalists from each region will be announced on December 9.
Those finalists will be invited to take part in a cook-off on January 20 2021 at the Capsicum campus closest to them, where they will prepare the dish they entered on Instagram, using their own ingredients.
The winners from each campus will then compete in a cook-off at the Rosebank campus (with travel to Gauteng sponsored for those living in other parts of the country), for the final cook-off on February 6 2021, where they will have to create a dish using ingredients from a mystery basket.
Competition details and Ts & Cs can be found at https://www.capsicumcooking.com/chef-talent-scout