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 SAAF Scoops All Main Awards At COTY
 Article By Cpl Nwabisa V. Dlevu, photos by Cpl Musiki Singo and Cpl Wilardi Van Zyl

The South African Air Force (SAAF) Chefs won all the main accolades at the SANDF Chef Of The Year (COTY) competition. Twenty four chefs from SA Army, SA Air Force, SA Navy and SA Medical Health Services participated in the event which was held at air force’s school of cookery, Swartkop West, Pretoria, from 29 September to 3 October 2014.

Winner of Chef of the year, Sgt Van Eden receives his prize

Chief of Logistics Lieutenant General (Lt Gen) Bongani Mbatha standing in for the Chief of SANDF General Solly Shoke said that the food industry, like all industries is rapidly changing and developing on a daily basis. Just about everything was being done quicker, smarter and more efficiently than ever before. Therefore the SANDF could not afford to be left behind.

Sgt Letebele receiving his award from Lt Gen Mbatha

Furthermore, he mentioned that he hoped that the SANDF would take part in the Internationale Kochkunst Ausstellung (IKA), an international culinary arts competition which is held every four years in Erfurt Germany. “The SANDF has taken part in IKA in 2000, 2004 and 2012, winning medals in all the categories entered. The next IKA will take place in 2016”, said Gen Mbatha. The hospitality industry is often not praised or granted the necessary platform it deserves.

Sgt Kgoale receiving his award from Lt Gen Mbatha (Chief of Logistics)

According to Captain (SAN) Niki Caldwell, the main coordinator of COTY, the competition was aimed at acknowledging the excellence of chefs in the military, motivating chefs to continuously strive for higher standards and emphasise the significant role that chefs fulfil in the SANDF to mention just a few. COTY consisted of five categories, namely best starter; best main course, best dessert, kitchen management and overall winner.

The SAAF team that won in COTY 2014 Sgt Letebele (best main course),
Sgt Van Eden (best desert, kitchen management and best overall winner)
and Sgt Kgoale (best starter)

On October 2, winners were announced at SAMHS Training Formation, Thaba Tshwane. Sgt Francois Van Eden from SAAF won best desert, kitchen management as well overall winner awards. “I feel blessed, lost for words and truly thankful for the opportunity”, he said. He shared with Ad Astra team that he had three weeks to prepare for the competition. Sgt Tebogo Kgoale (SAAF) won best starter. He was pleased and wanted to encourage others to pursue what they were passionate about.

SAAF Chef team at the prize giving ceremony

A grilled ostrich stake roast with seasonal veggies served with oriental sauce, garnish deep fried potato and carrot strips was the menu that won best main course by Sgt Koos Letebele from SAAF. “I am thrilled and proud of myself, “he said.

Pte J.J Roux receiving his runner up prize from Lt Gen Mbatha and WO2 Kemp receiving his runner up prize from Lt Gen Mbatha

The SANDF Chef of the Year competition began in 1984 through sponsorship from the Southern Sun Hotel Group of Companies. In 2010 the title sponsor was Nestle Professional. However, this particular year there was no title sponsor rather a number of sponsors such as Lucky Star, Morning Star Express Hotel, AVBOB, Old Mutual, Klein Karoo International, Rhodes Food Group, SAFI Spar, Food Lover’s Market, McCater CC and the Army Foundation.

The SA Army Chef team at the prize giving ceremony

The Army Foundation General Manager Mr Angel Ramphele said that they had sponsored the first three winners with holiday packages. Morning star express hotel sponsored the chef jackets, AVBOB sponsored the chef knives, Old Mutual sponsored the competition prizes, Klein Karoo International sponsored ostrich meat, SAFI Spar provided the photo frames, Food Lover’s Market brought fresh produce and McCater CC provided towels and crystal bowls.

The SA Navy Chef team at the prize giving ceremony

Winners of the SANDF Chef of the Year Competition:

Best starter: Sgt T. Kgoale (SAAF)

Best main course: Sgt K.R. Letebele (SAAF)

Best desert: Sgt F. Van Eden (SAAF)

Kitchen management: Sgt F. Van Eden (SAAF)

Best overall: Sgt F. Van Eden (SAAF)

2ndrunner up: Pte J.J. Roux (SA ARMY)

3rd runner up: WO2 M. Kemp (SA ARMY)




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