Three popular Catering Schools from around KZN fielded their own top students to participate in the Inaugural Hirsch’s Head Chef Cook Off that took place at  Hirsch’s Umhlanga Branch recently. Ismail Amos and his extremely worthy assistant, Havenisha Naidoo from Capsicum’s cooking school were announced as the winners with Fusions Cooking School, Monique Dunn and Kyle Arnold coming in second and International Hotel School’s Nonceba Dlamini and Akil Ruiters taking third place. The cook off took place in the state of the art Siemens kitchen at Hirsch’s.

Ismail and Havenisha wowed the judges with their Funky Fungs starter (a name they made up on the spot) that consisted of sautéed calamari and chicken strips, with Macademia nuts and fresh herbs. This was followed by a beautifully cooked fish dish that was accompanied by an unusual and delicious burnt onion puree, pumpkin puree and a German pancake.  Ismail said that he had concentrated on getting his time management right and he thought that the team’s timing and the use of unusual flavours possibly gave them the edge in the closely fought competition.

Hirsch’s gave over R15,000 worth of vouchers to the winners and runners up and Bosch gave the winning school a Bosch food processor and the runners up hand blenders.

Judges at the competition – well known South African Celebrity chef, Joani Mitchell, Desmond Davies, KZN Chairman of the South African Chefs Association for KZN and CEO of the Hirsch Group, Allan Hirsch said that the standard of cooking and the use and balance of flavours was excellent. 

Rounding off the competition, Allan commented that Hirsch’s were excited to have been instrumental in putting together the Hirsch’s Head Chef Competition.  “This has given these great young chefs an opportunity  to stand out and show what they are capable of producing, and we wish them all the very best in their future careers in the industry.”