With her menu of mutton curry with sambals, poppadoms and rice, and a sweet treat of an apple tartlet served with custard and vanilla slice, Charmaine Sinclair took top honours as the 2013 winner of the Knysna Tourism Living Local Green Chefs initiative. She took home a cash prize of R1 000 for her efforts, while each finalist received R 500. All five of the final finalists will also participate in a formal cooking training program with Kilzer’s Kitchen Basics during August.
This year’s competition attracted ten entries. “The competition started with participants presenting their dishes to our panel of judges for a tasting,” explained Knysna Tourism Office Manager Glendyrr Fick. “Out of these hopefuls five finalists were identified and these five each had the opportunity to serve their menu to the public, at the Knysna Tourism Office, during the week of the Pick n Pay Knysna Oyster Festival.
“The public scored each day’s meal and, when the scores were tallied, Charmaine’s menu emerged as the winner!”
Charmaine said that she never expected to win the competition. “My friends all told me that I could do it, but I just took part as cooking is such a big part of my life.”
“Winning this competition has given me such encouragement and the confidence to believe that cooking is not only my passion, but that I am good at it too!” Charmaine exclaimed. “Now I feel that I can confidently take part in even bigger competitions. So thank you, Knysna Tourism – and Glendyrr in particular – for giving me this opportunity to learn even more.”
Glendyrr explained that this competition formed part of a bigger project. “The aim of the Knysna Tourism Living Local Green Chefs Initiative is to empower residents of local rural communities within and around the national parks in the Greater Garden Route National Park,” she said. “This will be done by teaching them excellent cooking skills, good business practice and vegetable gardening, accompanied by a sound mentorship program. This project will eventually be implementable at all national parks in South Africa – or even further afield on the continent and across the globe.”
“We are also working on establishing a unique supply chain route, the Eden Slow Food Route, which we hope to support the Green Chefs in sourcing local produce. The emphasis will be on locally produced, wholesome food, produced by locals with great care and integrity,” Glendyrr continued. “These organic producers will also supply to other establishments in the local tourism industry.”
To learn more about the Green Chefs initiative or the Eden Slow Food Route, please contact Glendyrr Fick at 044 382 5510 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Knysna Tourism Office Manager Glendyrr Fick (far right) handed their certificates and prizes to the 2013 Green Chefs finalists on Thursday 11 July.
They are (fltr) Shameera Omar, Johan Du Plooy, Michael Mbondo and overall winner Charmaine Sinclair (absent: Velishwa Ralushe).