Student chef off to Cape Town after winning South African Chef of the Year

April 2018

Third year Culinary Arts Management student Chace Wagenhauser is off to work in Cape Town after winning the national South African Young Chef of the Year 2018.

Taking place at Westminster Kingsway College in London, the contest was dedicated to finding the UK’s top young chef in South African cuisine – a challenge Chace proved more than well-equipped for.

As well as taking home the trophy, Chace won an all-expenses paid trip to South Africa including a weeks’ work experience at avant-garde restaurant in Cape Town the Test Kitchen, headed up by multi-award winning, British-born chef Luke Dale Roberts.

Born in South Africa, but growing up in England, Chace took inspiration from her upbringing to design a menu that focused on the best of South African flavours.

“I wanted to come up with a menu that didn’t just include South African produce, but focused on it entirely,” said Chace, who has dreamed of becoming a chef ever since she can remember.

“My mum is British, and my dad is South African, so I have always enjoyed combining those cuisines. I was bought up on that kind of food. But I never expected to win a competition like this!”

Judged by Chef Lecturer Jose Luis Souto, actress and food blogger Nicola Millbank and MasterChef: The Professionals finalist Petrus Madutlela, all finalists were required to create two covers of a three-course menu, each involving a range of South African fruits.

“Chace is really good at working with classic flavours and giving them a modern twist,” said Chace’s mentor for the competition, UCB Chef Lecturer Bernard Schumacher.

“What left a mark on judges most about her menu was her ability to celebrate contemporary South African cuisine with no compromise on taste. I was very impressed with her performance.” 

Her winning menu was as follows:

Sautéed scallops and South African apple, apple and celeriac puree, macadamia nuts and Cape Malay curry foam

Beef fillet and South African peach bobotie, peach and sultana chutney, stiff pap and glazed vegetables

Malva pudding, textures of South African plums and Amarula ice-cream

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