Nomfundo Kota walked away as the winner for her marvellous Avocado Scotch Egg Benedict which she created for The South African Avocado Growers Association (SAAGA) Culinary Schools Student Competition.
Dana-Leigh Coleman from Capital Hotel School came in second place and Dylan Buys from the Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine in third place.
The winning school, based on the number and quality of entries received from each school, was Capital Hotel School.
This is the ninth year that SAAGA has hosted the competition, which aims to encourage young chefs in their chosen careers to use avos in their regular dishes, as well as to explore their own creativity by conceptualising imaginative avocado recipes. In this way, the competition showcases the versatility of avos as an abundantly available, locally grown ingredient.
All students from South African culinary schools are invited to enter the competition. Despite challenges around schools finishing their curriculums on time as a result of lockdown restrictions, 84 entries were received from 18 different schools.
These schools included Capital Hotel School; Capsicum (Durban, Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Rosebank); 1000 Hills Chef School; Chefs Training & Innovation Academy (Durban, Stellenbosch); False Bay College; International Hotel School; Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine; Limpopo Chefs Academy; South African Academy of Culinary Arts; Silwood Kitchen; Steyns Culinary School; and Warwick’s Chef School.
This year’s theme was ‘Add an avo (or two) to a gourmet burger or sarmie’, tapping into the new-age gourmet burger and sandwich trend that gained popularity in South Africa during lockdown.
Up-and-coming young chefs were invited to conceptualise and create their own unique gourmet burger or sarmie where avocados were the hero of the dish, regardless of any other complementary ingredients that were used.
The judging panel comprised six SAAGA local marketing development committee members as well as 2020 Avo Ambassadors, Lutho Pasiya (Independent Online) and Kym Argo (Get It Magazines). The panel agreed all the entries were of an extremely high calibre, with just a small margin separating some of the scores, particularly among the school winners, where the top three schools really stood out.
The cash prizes that were awarded included R7 500 for winner Nomfundo Kota, R4 500 for second-placed Dana-Leigh Coleman and R3 500 for third-placed Dylan Buys. Capital Hotel School, as the winning school, was awarded R10 000.
First place: Nomfundo Kota from the South African Academy of Culinary Arts
Avocado Scotch Egg Benedict – English muffins served with sliced frilled pork bangers, avocado scotch egg, fresh avocado and hollandaise sauce.
Second place: Dana-leigh Coleman from Capital Hotel School
Bacon Jam Roast Tomato & Avo Rose Tartine – An open-faced sandwich of freshly baked and toasted ciabatta topped with a bacon jam, roast tomatoes and an avo rose.
Third place: Dylan Buys from Jackie Cameron School of Food & Wine
Korean Barbecue Avo Burger – A Korean barbecue chicken burger with a sweet and sour creamy avocado sauce