Showcook Inter Hotel Challenge – Trainee Chefs and Wine Stewards


The Concept:

The hotel industry in South Africa, one of our strongest pillars of tourism, is playing an enormous role in the upliftment, training, mentoring and nurturing of thousands of young people that come into the industry. They arrive, often with little education and few skills, at the bottom of the ladder. These trainees, representative of our multi faceted cultures each with their unique culinary heritage, provide the backbone of our hotel kitchens and beyond. From these small beginnings to successful careers!

Showcook’s role in the Inter Hotel Challenge is to provide the opportunity and inspiration for the most talented, creative trainees. Giving them goals and the possibility of achieving success, not only in South Africa, but internationally to become ambassadors for our hospitality industry.

Over the years, through their development and tenacity, these trainees have gone on to become excellent chefs at our unrivalled safari lodges and restaurants, made a name for themselves as authors, starred on television and made an impact through social networks, thus honouring their mentors in the broadest sense and acknowledging the selfless, unstinted assistance they received.

This applies equally to the role of the wine stewards who are put through a rigorous training programme. It is gratifying to see the amazing development, sheer determination and concentration they bring to this role as they strive to achieve the goal of becoming a fully fledged sommelier.

The ten major top hotels participating in this initiative are;

Bushmans Kloof, Cape Grace, Mount Nelson, One&Only Cape Town, Queen Victoria, Radisson Blu, Taj Cape Town, The Royal Portfolio, The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa and The Vineyard Hotel & Spa.

The Cook-Off for the trainees and wine stewards will take place at the South African Chefs Academy (SACA) on Wednesday 28th and Thursday 29th August where they will present a well-balanced three-course menu paired with Cape Legends’ wines, using versatile pork from the Western Cape Pork Producers, an association that is enviable in their approach to responsible farming with the finest input worldwide.

The wine stewards will be under the close watch of The South African Sommelier Association (SASA), established in 2010 as an integral part of the food and wine industry with the vision to promote a culture of fine wine, food and service excellence in South Africa. *

The black tie celebratory gala dinner will be held at the historic Vineyard Hotel & Spa on Thursday, 26th September, where Executive Sous Chef Shane Louw will prepare the dinner around the winning dishes partnered by Cape Legends’ wines.

The splendid tables each with their silver and white theme will be judged by Floral Artist Flower Walker and Interior Designer Jay Smith. While the bread and butter will also come under close scrutiny of Dr Susanne Reuther of KitchenAid.

Annette Kesler says, “Excellence begins with the hospitable gesture of serving the finest bread and butter!”

The Partnerships:











See also feature in Business Day:

Charities benefiting:

StreetSmart SA, Our Kids of the Cape and Friends of ARO Outreach.

* SASA is a non-profit, membership driven organization and aims to offer its services to local and international Sommeliers, in being the contact and network portal for industry professionals. The association aims to provide training and mentorships to guarantee the continuous development of professional standards of the highest level.



Annette Kesler

Tel: (021) 552 3716



South African Chefs Academy

Paul Hartmann

Tel: (021) 447 3168



Cape Legends

Lize-Marie Gradwell and Melissa Fall

Tel: (021) 809 8340 and (021) 937 3229



Western Cape Pork Producers

Marieta Human

Tel: 082 826 3173



Khoisan Trading Company (Pty) Ltd

Britt Geach

Tel: (021) 761 6243



StreetSmart SA

Nils Heckscher

Tel: (021) 418 0621



Kids of the Cape & Friends of ARO Outreach

Jenny Everingham

Tel: (021) 657 4500



South African Sommelier Association

Higgo Jacobs

Tel: (072) 194 7010





Entries now open for 2013 Competition


Entries for First Round of The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award 2013 are now open and candidates are urged to enter soon as entries close on the 31 May 2013. See below for entry details.


The high standards attained by previous winners, Wayve Kolevsohn in 2012 (Sommelier at The Roundhouse at the time and currently Sommelier at The Test Kitchen) and Joakim Hansi Blackadder in 2011 (Sommelier at The Roundhouse at the time and now at Rust en Vrede), have set the benchmark for aspirant sommeliers. As with the 2011 and 2012 competitions, the winner of the 2013 competition will be announced in November 2013 and will win a trip to France including a trip to the prestigious House of Champagne Bollinger. Wayve Kolevsohn is presently in Champagne enjoying her prize and celebrating her victory, no doubt with a glass or two of Champagne Bollinger.


The 2012 Awards runner-up, Kayetan Meissner, a Sommelier at the Saxon Boutique Hotel in Johannesburg, won aone night stay for two, including bed and breakfast, at Ellerman House, which overlooks the Atlantic Ocean.


This annual competition, which is aimed at enhancing and recognising the calibre of local sommeliers and wine service staff, was launched in 2011 and proved to be a resounding success.


Ginette de Fleuriot, Marketing Manager at Vinimark The Wine Company and organiser of The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award anticipates more entries this year, “We look forward to an increased number of entrants for The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award 2013 and to wider representation from all of South Africa’s premier tourist regions.”


Champagne Bollinger is proud to be the main sponsor of the prestigious The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award. The competition is a joint initiative between Vinimark The Wine Company (importer of Champagne Bollinger and South Africa’s largest independent specialist wine wholesaling company) and The Reciprocal Wine Trading Company, importers and distributors of Riedel Glassware.


Ginette de Fleuriot comments further, “This industry-wide initiative was established to advance the interests of all of the country’s fine wine producers, as well as those who make their living from the sale of wine in hotels, restaurants and wine bars. The sponsors and organisers trust that this competition will continue to act as a catalyst for the hospitality industry to expand training facilities and support local sommeliers and sommeliers-in-training, in the interests of all those who enjoy dining out.”


Neil Grant, Chairperson of the South African Sommelier Association (SASA), states: “Wine service has a poor history in South Africa and only with incentives such as these will we find an improvement within the industry. Chefs in South Africa over the past 10 years have proven how good they are and now wine stewards/sommeliers need to be part of this movement so we can challenge the international markets.” SASA has committed to mentoring the winning candidates to further assist in guaranteeing continued professional wine service of an international standard.


The competition entry criteria are:


  • ·     Those currently employed in the service of food and wine and with a history of a minimum of three years of such service.
  • ·     Contestants are required to have substantial knowledge of the local wine scene and of the professional service of both food and wine.
  • ·     An adequate knowledge of international wine appellations and styles of wine is also a prerequisite.
  • ·     More importantly, however, the contest examines the ability of those selling wine in the hospitality industry to relate what is produced in South Africa to the expectations of international visitors more familiar with the major wine producing regions of the world.


Competition dateline


First Round: Registration Forms and the completed Question Paper are to be submitted no later than 31 May 2013.


Second Round: The Second Round will take place in August 2013 at venues to be announced.


Final Round: Finalists will compete in Cape Town in October 2013 at a venue to be announced.


Competition winner announcement: The winner of The Bollinger Wine Service of Excellence Award will be announced in November 2013.




Judges at all rounds of the competition will include internationally trained sommeliers; Cape Wine Masters; and members of the hospitality trade.


To enter The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award


Go to:


For more information contact:

Ginette de Fleuriot

Vinimark Head Office


Tel: 021 – 886 9165




Michael Crossley

Reciprocal Wines & Riedel Glassware


Tel: 011 – 482 9178


For further details on this year’s contest, go to


May 2013



Issued for  The Bollinger Exceptional Wine  Service Award by: The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award
  Posy & Jeremy Hazell • PR & Wine  Consultants Contact: Ginette de Fleuriot
  Tel 021 851 1563 • Cell  082 557 2968 Tel  021 886 9165 • Cell 074 100 9865
  E-mail E-mail




The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service 2012 Awards


2012 Winner:

  • ·     Wayve Kolevsohn:Previously employed at The Roundhouse in Camps Bay and currently the Sommelier at The Test Kitchen, Cape Town;


2012 Runner-up:

  • ·      Kayetan Meissner: A Sommelier at the Saxon Boutique Hotel in Sandhurst, Johannesburg.


2012 Judges:

  • ·      Mia Martensson, Sommelier and Sales Manager for The Winery Of Good Hope
  • Kent Scheermeyer, Sommelier and founder of     KSconsult
  • Neil Grant, Sommelier and co-owner of Burrata     Restaurant, Cape Town
  • Ginette de Fleuriot, Cape Wine Master &     Marketing Manager for Vinimark The Wine Company
  • Higgo Jacobs, Sommelier and consultant

The finalists will be judged on wine and food service and will be tested on the following:


•     wine styles and terminology

•     wine label information

•     wine regulations

•     regions of origin

•     major international wine regions and their wines

•     identifying wines in a blind tasting

•     service techniques

•     food and wine pairing

•     wine storage

•     social skills and ability to interact with the patron


Background on The Bollinger Wine Service Award


One of the impediments to publicising the achievements of South African wine has been the absence of a class of wine waiters able to communicate the finer points of our wines and place them in an international context.


The past few years have seen important changes which have come some of the way in addressing this gap. These include the involvement of the Cape Wine Academy in creating a qualification for wine service professionals, and the investments in waiter training driven by WOSA (Wines of South Africa) under the Fundi programme ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2010. The increasing number of internationally trained sommeliers living and working in South Africa is also no doubt contributing to a raised level of awareness around issues of wine service.


An annual competition – aimed at encouraging those who seek to make a living from wine service – is clearly part of the next stage. Sponsored by Champagne Bollinger and with infrastructural support from Riedel Glassware, The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award has been established to bring focus – and recognition of achievement – to the growing group of professional wine waiters in South Africa.


The recently formed South African Sommelier Association (SASA) is fully behind The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award and some of its members will be judges at the competition. The association aims to provide training and mentorship to guarantee the continuous development of professional standards of wine service at the highest level.

WSET Introduces First Stand-alone Spirits Courses in South Africa

The International Wine Education Centre is delighted to announce the first ever stand-alone general spirits courses starting in Stellenbosch in May.

The UK-based Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET) teaches internationally-recognised wine and spirit qualifications which are the industry-standard in 60 countries around the world. WSET has been educating people about wine and spirits since 1969 and more than 43,000 people, studying in 16 different languages sat a WSET exam in the last academic year alone.

The WSET Level 2 Award in Spirits underpins the skills needed in all areas of the spirit trade – customer service, hospitality, retail and wholesale.

The course covers the history, production and style of spirits of the world: Cognac, Armagnac and other brandies; Scotch, Bourbon and other whiskeys; white spirits, including vodka, rum, Tequila, gin; and liqueurs and other flavoured spirits. Tasting is part of every session with around 40 local and international spirits tasted over the duration of the course.

The first course in South Africa will take place at Van Ryn’s Distillery in Stellenbosch and will be lectured by spirits aficionado Dave Hughes and artisan distiller Roger Jorgensen. The course will last 6 weeks with a multiple-choice exam at the end.

Who is it aimed at?

• People employed in the spirits industry needing information on the characteristics of the principal spirits and liqueurs of the world, to provide guidance on brand selection and assist with tasting and evaluating of spirits and liqueurs using the Systematic Approach to Tasting.

• People who are not employed in the drinks industry, but who have a serious interest in spirits and wish to broaden their knowledge in a fun, informative yet structured way.

• People studying for wine qualifications and who would like a structured spirits course to support those qualifications.

There are limited places available for this course, so for more information, please go to . For more information about future courses in Stellenbosch, Cape Town and elsewhere, please contact Cathy Marston on

 Course details.

Course Code      L2SWL0513

Location               Van Ryn’s Distillery, Stellenbosch

Date & Time       Wednesdays from 22 May – 26th June, 6.30pm- 8.30pm (6 weeks, 2 hours/week)

Exam                     Wednesday 3rd July, 6.30pm

Cost                       R4,990 per person

Includes               All tuition, all course material, exam, tasting of at least 40 local and international spirits and a lapel pin & certificate for successful candidates.

SASA Judges Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award

After a testing morning of written exams and a blind tasting at the Finals in October, the four finalists were faced with a rigorous practical assessment. Tasks included the correct mise en place and positioning of Riedel glassware for a six-course meal, the selection of dishes to match a range of wines, and the service and description of one of these wines. The final task – to describe two red wines – might at first have appeared easy enough, but the two wines were the same which was the first catch and one of them had been slightly tainted with TCA.

Wayve Kolevsohn, runner-up last year, finally prevailed, to win The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award 2012. Runner up this year was Kayetan Meissner, a Sommelier at the Saxon Boutique Hotel in Sandhurst, Johannesburg. Wayve, previously employed at The Roundhouse, begins as Sommelier at The Test Kitchen, in Cape Town, this month

The Bollinger Exceptional Wine Service Award has been established to bring focus and recognition of achievement to the growing group of professional wine waiters in South Africa.

World champion sommelier praises South African wines

CAPE TOWN, 23 SEPTEMBER: American hotelier and wine maker Chris Bates – who took the world championship in the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs’ 6th Concours International des Jeunes Sommeliers at the Mount Nelson on Friday – today praised the South African wine industry for the quality of its products, and for the speed with which it has evolved.

Twelve wine professionals – each representing one of the world’s top wine loving countries – faced a formidable panel of experts during the 8-hour-long Concours. Their tasks included blind tastings; demonstrations of practical skills in red wine decanting, glass service, champagne service, food and wine pairing; the identification of spirits by nose alone; and two theoretical skills tests – the correction of a faulty wine list, and a one-hour written exam about the wines and wine regions of the world.

This annual competition is designed to improve knowledge and skills among wine professionals in the 21- to 35-year-old age group. Contestants qualify to represent their countries through winning a series of regional and national competitions.

Mr. Bates said that the judging panel – the CEO of the European Court of Master Sommeliers, Brian Julyan, the Court’s education director, Bryan Dawes, master sommelier Frank Kämmer, and Neil Grant, the chairperson of the Sommeliers Association of South Africa – “Put us through a nice round of tasks on the day.

“The most challenging part was controlling your own nose and not letting the pressure and excitement of it all get to you.”

He said that his work provides the training he needs for this kind of competition Concours.

“As sommeliers, we work at this daily in our careers; we spend a lot of time tasting and in development; we’re involved in organisations like the Chaîne; and we take part in competitions quite regularly.

“People might not realise it, but we spend a lot more time correcting wine lists than we might like to. But it’s important because the wine list is our sales tool – so we do a lot of reading about wine, and we study it all the time, and visit the producers as often as we can.”

Asked about his experience of South Africa, he said that this is his third visit to the country.

“It’s been delightful,” he said. “I came here in 2000, and again about two years ago, and it’s been interesting to track the development of your wines, the styles, and where the industry in South Africa is going.

“The evolution has been incredibly fast.

“You have a very technologically advanced wine culture, and the enthusiasm for good wine is catching up to the enthusiasm for well-made wine – wine that’s a little less technically perfect.

“There’s a lot of excitement here for the not-so-standard things in the wine world.

“There’s also been a lot of foreign investment, so the technical and physical development of the wineries, the wine lands, and the restaurants has been remarkable.”

Mr. Bates is the general manager and executive chef at the Hotel Fauchère in Milford, Pennsylvania, and makes his own rieslings, pinot noirs, cabernet francs, and syrahs under the Element Winery label in the Finger Lakes region of New York.

He began cooking at his mother’s side, began working in restaurants at 14 years of age, and later studied at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration. He had passed the Court of Master Sommeliers’ introductory exams and competed in the Best Sommelier in America Competition by the time he was 21 years old.

He spent time in Italy and Germany before returning home, where he worked in various highly rated hotels before taking up his present post at the Hotel Fauchère.

Asked to compare his own wines with any he’s found in South Africa so that readers could try to understand his style, he said, “I’m not sure you can compare.

“We have to deal with a very different style and climate.

“I tend to like strange wines, though – wines that are a little less standardised, more technically improper. So maybe I’d go with Adie Badenhorst’s wines (A.A. Badenhorst Family Wines,, which are funkier, earthier, and less fruit-forward.”

He said that being a world champion sommelier won’t change things for him in his day-to-day work. “But I hope it will encourage a few more members of the Chaîne to visit us and check out our restaurant and property.

“And hopefully it will also catch peoples’ attention, and make them a little more excited about what we do.”

Tokara Sommelier Shoot-out

Recipe: combine a Friday night with a stylish award-winning restaurant. Stir in 3 top sommeliers, mixing well after each addition. Pour in a few bottles of quality wine.  Next, throw in an unconventional, waggish chef and scatter with a generous dollop of eager guests.

Tokara’s first Sommelier shoot-out is the brain-child of its talented chef, Richard Carstens. After becoming tired of sommeliers asking him to make a dish to go with a certain wine, he decided that it was time he gave them a taste of their own medicine.
So he called upon his resident sommelier, Jaap-Henk Koelewijn, together with Josephine Gotentoft of Makaron and Higgo Jacobs, to find wines to go with with his food. Not just one dish, mind you, but a full 4-course menu. (Richard doesn’t play games).

Each sommelier presented their chosen wine with each course, afterwhich guests were able to sniff, swirl, and sip to their hearts content before scoring which wine was deemed the best pairing for the dish.

Josephine – Stellenrust Barrel-fermented Chenin Blanc 2012

Higgo – Delaire Rosé 2011

Jaap-Henk – *Graham Beck Game Reserve Viognier 2010


Josephine – Haut Espoir Semillon 2006

Higgo – *Beaumont Hope Marguerite 2011

Jaap-Henk – Tokara Director’s Reserve White


Josephine – *Pegasus Cinsaut 2011

Higgo – Chrystallum Pinot Noir 2007

Jaap-Henk – Steenberg Nebbiolo


Josephine – Laibach Natural Sweet 2012

Higgo – *Graham Beck Demi-Sec N.V

Jaap-Henk – Paul Cluver Gewurztraminer 2012

Why you should book for the next ‘shoot-out’
Wine pairings like these become so subjective with lots of ‘agreeing to disagree’. But that’s part of the fun. It would be boring if everyone tasted the same thing.
It enables you to expand your knowledge of wine producers in a short space of time. Plus you are exposed to 3 experts who are more than happy to share information and chat about wine-related issues, like the problem with Pinotage or corkage in restaurants.
The winner of the inaugural ‘shoot-out’ was Higgo Jacobs and he graciously accepted a very polished and scholarly-looking trophy.
Whatever your reason for wanting to attend the next Sommelier Shoot-out, one thing’s certain – you can be sure of enjoying only the best wines, served by the most knowledgable people, while delighting in Richard Carstens’ playful and delicious food.

SASA Presence at Cape Wine

SASA was approached by WOSA (Wines of South Africa) to select wines for, coordinate and man the themed tables at the 2012 Cape Wine “Tasting Under The Trees”.

These tables were set-up in the Vindaba Hall, away from the hustle and bustle in the main tasting hall, and prooved a very popular tasting destination to taste wines in context of cultivar or style, with objective and informed assistance behind the tables from SASA Sommeliers.

Thanks to all who assisted, and visited this exciting feature!