Sun International’s prestigious The Table Bay staged an exciting culinary competition, The Table Bay MasterChef, at the end of 2014 to ignite excitement, get the creative juices flowing, and encourage healthy competition among its kitchen staff.
Kitchen personnel, including pastry and cold kitchen, were divided into nine teams which competed in the first stage. The two teams with the most points went through to the final stage where they each received a mystery basket of ingredients, and had 1,5 hours to produce and plate a starter, main course and dessert.
The winning team was led by Chef Bobby Kumar, the hotel’s assistant pastry chef. Using their basket of surprise ingredients, the team produced seasonal baby salad leaves wrapped in cucumber, roasted pepper pesto and parmesan to start. The main course comprised Mughalai chicken in rich creamy sauce, fried onions, basmati rice and yogurt raita. For dessert, the team created a rich dark chocolate mousse quenelle, raspberry sauce and honeycomb.
Before he came to The Table Bay, Chef Kumar, a graduate of the Delhi Institute of Hotel Management, worked at some of India’s most reputable dining establishments. His passion for the culinary arts was sparked as an apprentice at the ITC Maurya Sheraton Hotel in New Delhi. While in India, he worked at several hotels, including Le Royal Meridien and ITC Hotel Grand Maratha Sheraton Towers, in Mumbai.
His Table Bay MasterChef team comprised:
Chef Anna Rose, the staff bistro supervisor. She previously worked at McDonald’s in Brackenfell as the kitchen hand and moved up to kitchen co-ordinator. She is in control of the staff bistro, portion control and training junior chefs.
Chef Zinzi, who was a student at Nosithembele chef’s training academy. She did bakery training at Strand Tower hotel for eight weeks. She then came to The Table Bay to further hone her baking skills.
Chef Sisanda is a 3rd year student at CPUT. At the moment she is a chef tournant (all-rounder). Her passion is in pastry, baking cakes and sweets. She sees herself as an executive pastry chef in 10 years time. She has learned a lot from Bobby Kumar, who is currently her head of department.
Zane Josephus is a senior chef de partie in The Table Bay’s pastry kitchen. He has just completed a City & Guilds’ Diploma in pastry/bakery. His career as a pastry chef started 13 years ago. He says he was born to be a pastry chef. He enjoyed The Table Bay MasterChef competition and believes it should be an annual event.
Thando Tawana is currently a commis chef at the hotel’s Camissa Brasserie. He started his career in 1998 when he worked at Spur Steak Ranch as a griller. He moved on to The Cullinan where he gained valuable experience, which helped take him to Florida where he worked for a few years. When he returned to South Africa, he was lucky to get a job at The Table Bay. He is now a professional chef with all basic unit standards required all over the world.