Now we’re cooking! Capsicum Culinary chef students triumph at Showcook Reaching for Young Stars competition

Published Jun 25, 2024


Three rising stars from Capsicum Culinary Studio have captured the spotlight at this year’s esteemed Showcook Reaching for Young Stars competition, showcasing their culinary talents and securing prestigious accolades that promise to shape their promising careers in gastronomy.

Celebrating its 16th year, the competition held in the Western Cape serves as a platform to foster entrepreneurship among budding culinary professionals, providing them with an opportunity to showcase their skills and gain recognition in the competitive culinary world.

Huwitt Strydom, a third-year student from Kraaifontein, emerged as the standout in the Hot Chefs category. His imaginative creations—ranging from canapés to a main course featuring lamb bacon—impressed a distinguished panel of judges that included culinary experts Jocelyn Myers Adams and Alexandre Barrière Izard.

Huwitt’s outstanding performance earned him a coveted three-month internship at a prestigious Parisian hotel with full accommodations, followed by a five-month apprenticeship at Winslow’s Tavern in Cape Cod, USA, under the mentorship of Chef Patrons Phillip & Tracey Hunt.

Upon his return, Huwitt will further enhance his skills with a three-week internship at the renowned 5-star Cape Grace Hotel.

Ryan Flandorp, from the Southern Suburbs, clinched the title of KitchenAid Africa Young Star Bio-Wheat Baker of the Year.

His mastery in crafting sourdough bread, brioche, and brown health bread not only earned him a three-week internship at Cape Grace but also secured him a Kitchen Aid stand mixer, a kitchen scale, and an exclusive plant-based recipe book.

Muhammed Mollagee, a 20-year-old resident of Bo-Kaap, excelled in the Patisserie Kitchen Excellence category, demonstrating impeccable kitchen hygiene and organizational skills.

His dedication earned him a specialized training course from June Steenekamp of Didactix for the Level 3 Food Safety for Catering Qualification, a crucial stepping stone for advancing into supervisory roles within the food catering industry.

In addition to their internships and specialized training, all winners received high-quality kitchen knives, artisan mixers, ceramics, bakeware, and kitchen gadgets, underscoring their commitment to excellence and innovation in culinary arts.

Charl Botha, lecturer and team mentor at Capsicum’s Cape Town campus, expressed profound pride in the students’ achievements, highlighting their dedication and resilience throughout the rigorous competition.

He commended all participants for their exemplary performance and acknowledged the fierce competition they navigated to emerge victorious.

Co-organized by and culinary expert Annette Kesler, the Reaching for Young Stars competition not only celebrates culinary excellence but also offers transformative international mentorship programs.

Chania Morritt-Smith of emphasized the profound impact of these opportunities, noting that they are pivotal in shaping the future careers of aspiring culinary professionals.

Over the years, the competition has witnessed numerous students from Capsicum Culinary Studio and other institutions carve out successful careers in the hospitality industry.

These talented chefs are not only setting new standards but also driving innovation within the culinary landscape of South Africa, promising a vibrant and dynamic future for the industry.

The success of Huwitt Strydom, Ryan Flandorp, and Muhammed Mollagee at the Showcook Reaching for Young Stars competition is a testament to their talent, hard work, and the exceptional training provided by Capsicum Culinary Studio.

As they embark on their respective journeys, they carry with them the promise of continued excellence and innovation in the art of culinary craftsmanship.