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Birmingham student wins national South African chefs competition

Caption: Here are judges Jose Souto (left) and Petrus Madutlela, congratulating Chace Wagenhauser.

A young chef from University College Birmingham takes first prize at the South African Young Chef of the Year 2018 competition. 22-year-old Chace Wagenhauser has won the opportunity to train in one of South Africa’s top restaurants, where she’ll learn more about the country’s cuisine.

The competition invites chefs under the age of 25 to create a South African inspired menu, using fruit from the country – plums, peaches, nectarines, apples and pears. They are encouraged to research South African cooking and ingredients to help inspire their creations.

Chace impressed judges with her menu of:

  • Pan Fried Scallops, Granny Smith Apple, Apple Gel, Apple & Celeriac Puree and Cape Malay Foam
  • Beef Fillet and Transvalia Peach Bobotie with a Savoury Custard
  • Malva Pudding with Textures of South African Songold Plums and Amarula Ice Cream
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Pan Fried Scallops with Granny Smith Apple

She said: “Having not entered a competition before, I didn’t know what to expect and certainly didn’t expect to win, so you can imagine how surprised and elated I am. The event as a whole was a good learning experience and it was great to be able to see how the other finalists interpreted the brief to create some beautiful dishes”.

Chace studies Culinary Arts Management (BA Hons) at University College Birmingham, which has included a year’s placement at Sopwell House in St Albans, Herts. Here she learned various styles of cooking, including fine dining, brasserie, banqueting, and pastry.

She competed against seven other finalists, either studying or already working in the food industry.

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Malva Pudding with Sungold Plums

The competition aims to raise awareness of the use of South African fruit as chefs’ ingredients, and also highlight the part fruit farming has played in the development of South Africa and its rural communities in the past 20 years.

The judging panel included chef lecturer and author, Jose Souto; South African-born chef patron at The Poet at Matfield, Petrus Madutlela; actress, presenter and author of Milly Cookbook, Nicola Millbank; products and suppliers editor at The Caterer, Lisa Jenkins and The Telegraph contributor & editor at Bread & Oysters Magazine, Carolyn Hart.


About the competition:

The South African Young Chef of the Year competition is part of an ongoing campaign to promote fresh produce from South Africa, including the flavour and season of its fruits and the positive ethical reasons for buying fruit from South African farmers

  • The Competition is run by HORTGRO, the industry association representing South African farmers
  • The Beautiful Country, Beautiful Fruit campaign has been running in the UK and Germany since 2009
  • South African stone fruit (plums, peaches and nectarines) are available in UK supermarkets from November – April and South African apples and pears from March – October



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