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  • Chef Hector Rocks Unilever Culinary Competition
    We’re so proud of our Chef Hector, competing for Unilever’s Chef of the Year title.
    Posted by: Sun International
    04 August 2014
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    Sibaya is proud of its Executive Chef Hector, who impressed judges at the regional finals of the prestigious Unilever Chef of the Year Competition. Chef Hector was trained at the International Hotel School, and had the privilege of being mentored by some of the best chefs in the industry, including Chef Luke Nair, during his in-service training at the famous Royal Hotel in Durban.​

  • Pitting his skills against five of the region’s best cooks in a nail-biting mystery basket cook-off at Unilever Food Solutions in Umhlanga, Chef Hector showed-off his culinary prowess by preparing a sumptuous three-course meal on the fly, using surprise ingredients, within the tight three-hour timeframe.

    Amongst the chefs competing at the Durban Regionals were Xavier Francis from the Oyster Box Hotel; Noel Hall from Ushaka’s Cargo Hold; Jade van der Spuy from 1 000 Hills Chefs School; Khutso Masethe from My Gourmet Events, and Peter Venter from Diakonia Council of Churches.

    So tight was the competition that the judges have yet to make their decision on who will go through to the National Finals. Chefs are judged on menu engineering, plating, hygiene, time management, and creativity.

    “The competing chefs showed tremendous skill and technical ability during the regional leg of the competition. It takes great innovation and skill to come up with a tantalizing and creative three course meal using only a few ingredients. They have to use their imagination and culinary expertise in a race against the clock. Chef Hector did Sibaya very proud. The judges commended him on his innovation and the flavour of the dishes he prepared.

    “We are now anxiously waiting to hear if he will go through to the National Finals. However, the fact that he made it this far is certainly a point of great pride for us as this is only the second time that one of our chefs has been chosen for the Regional Final of the Unilever Chef of the Year Competition,” says Allan Naicker, Aqua Restaurant General Manager.

    Using his four mystery ingredients – quail, duck breast, lamb loin, and salami – along with a few ingredients from the communal table, Chef Hector prepared pan seared duck breast, honey glazed quail and mixed berry compote with micro herb salad and crispy salami to start. For mains, he put together mouthwatering herb crusted lamb loin and parmesan mash, accompanied by a mushroom and spinach ragout and sweet beetroot and lamb jus. For dessert, he made lime parfait, with a trio of chocolate mousse and raspberry sauce.

    Says Chef Hector: “It was a thrilling opportunity for me to be part of the regional competition and to be able to evaluate myself, my creativity, and my skills against other excellent chefs. There is indeed exceptional culinary talent in KZN.

    “Entering this competition is not only about the end goal, but it is also opportunity to grow as an individual and to help grow my team using the knowledge and skills that I have acquired from the experience. For me, it is also a window to showcase my talent for using the simplest ingredients to create a magnificent dish that does not only taste beautiful but also looks the part.”​​

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