Sunday Times Chef of the Year Competition

Sunday Times Chef of the YearEntries for one of the year’s most prestigious chef competitions are now open, and the Sunday Times Chef of the Year Competition (previously known as the Sunday Times Food Awards) have made a few exciting changes to the line-up. Entries close on the 14th of September and the theme for this year’s competition is Modern South African Cuisine. There are four categories: Chef of the Year, Young Chef of the Year, Stalwart of the Kitchen and Junior Chef of the Year.

Chefs have the option of choosing ingredients from specified list and submit a menu incorporating these ingredients in a new and exciting spin on traditional South African cuisine. Entrants in the Junior, Young and Chef of the Year are required to submit a three course menu of starter, main and dessert, while Stalwarts must produce a two course menu of a starter and main.

The Chef of the Year competition is open to all chefs resident in South Africa that are 30 years and above, and the first prize is R50 000. The Young Chef of the Year category is aimed at young chefs between the ages of 25 and 30, with a prize of R20 000. The Junior Chef of the Year replaces the Chef School Challenge from previous competition years, and is aimed at qualified chefs under 25 years of age, with a prize of R10 000. Finally, the Stalwart of the Kitchen aims to recognise the large group of chefs and cooks over the age of 35 who have no formal qualifications yet make up the backbone of the industry. The winner will be awarded a cash prize of R10 000.

Sunday Times Chef of the Year

Wynand van Rooyen and Ashleigh Heeger, last year’s winners of Chef of the Year and Young Chef of the Year respectively.

The panel of judges will select four finalists in each category. Andrew Atkinson, executive chef at the Michelangelo Hotel and Masterchef SA judge, will be the competition’s head judge. The kitchen judge is Arnold Tanzer, who acted as the culinary producer on the Masterchef SA competition. The tasting judges for 2012 are Ruben Riffel, owner of Reuben’s Restaurant in Franschhoek; Jackie Cameron, executive chef at Hartford House; Andrew Unsworth, editor of The Sunday Times Travel Weekly; Hilary Biller editor of The Sunday Times Food Weekly as well as Michel le Borgne, executive chef at Foodcorp’s The 7th Floor.

“The Sunday Times first launched this competition in 2007. The collaboration with Foodcorp took place in 2009, a partnership that works extremely well as both parties aim to create the opportunity to recognise the talented chefs and food innovators in South Africa,” says Jacqui Gunn, manager of the competition since its inception.

The final award ceremony will take place from the 2- 4 October 2012 at Foodcorp Innovation Centre’s The 7th Floor, Cape Town.

For more information on entry requirements and the competition visit the Chef of the Year Facebook page at or contact Jacqui Gunn via email at

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