Initially only two top Chef interns were to be selected, but Sidney and Alison Bond found the standard amongst the final winners so close, that on the night, they announced THREE Chefs who were selected for the 6--week Chef Experience internship at La Calabash in the Loire Valley in 2019. These three talented Chef Interns are Siyabulela Booi, Nathan Clarke and Hope Mdakane. The interns were from The Amy Foundation, The Test Kitchen and The Saxon Hotel.
Le Calabash French Culinary School, owned by chefs Alison and Sidney Bond have been passionately involved in the development and growth of young aspiring chefs from South Africa as well as the USA for the past 5 years.
Inspired through their close relationship with Billy Gallagher at the time, Sidney and Alison Bond embarked on creating a platform where previously disadvantaged young chefs could gain access to international training and expertise during a 6-week French Cuisine experience at Le Calabash French Culinary School in the Loire Valley, all expenses paid.
The national competition is recognized by the Department of Tourism who developed the National Youth Chefs Training Programme (NYCTP) in partnership with the South African Chefs Association (SACA), mapped the skills needed by the burgeoning South African Tourism Industry. The NYCTP, now in its fifth phase has already benefited more than 1800 young people entering the hospitality industry.
Eight finalists, who competed for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, came from all over the country. They are commended on reaching this level of the competition to surpass tough competitors. The eight finalists were:
In her address, the honourable Deputy Minister of Tourism, Elizabeth Thabethe offered inspiring words reflecting on the vital role training imparted on the future of South Africa’s youth, in particular, the opportunities it created within tourism. Other speakers included Consul General of France, Mr Laurent Amat-Consul and Denise Johnson, Director of Zevenwacht Wine Estate.
Dignitaries present at the event included MEC of Tourism North West, Desbo Mohono, Former SA Chefs President Stephen Billingham, SACA Vice President Allister Esau, NYCTP Project Manager, Hudson Masondo, Kevin Chapman of The Amy Foundation, SACA Committee Members and representatives of the various culinary schools, amongst others.
Sidney and Alison Bond look forward to embarking on the journey with the three aspiring Chefs in 2019.