Gert Böcking (left), Artwell Muchenje (right)

Do you remember last year’s Inter Hotel Challenge? Let me remind you; Cape Grace’s chef candidate Gert Böcking scooped first place in the fierce competition to prepare and serve a meal paired with wine to a panel of critical judges.

This year’s Inter Hotel Challenge has just been launched with a new set of up-and-coming Chefs and Sommeliers, who have been instructed to present a well-balanced three-course menu paired with wine including the use of Rio Largo olive oil, Khoisan Sea Salt and a main course with pork, for a total cost of R150.  Cape Grace is putting forward candidate chef Artwell Muchenje and candidate sommelier Marlvin Gwese .

A draw was done to pair the eleven participating Cape hotels with a local wine estate and Cape Grace has the privilege of partnering with Alto Wines – South Africa’s oldest red wine estate. It’s now up to the food and wine teams to plan the menu and pairing to create an irresistible combination that will suitably impress the judges, who have warned the teams; “we are not scoring you on what you do right, but on what you do wrong!”

Last year’s winner Gert Böcking has given his colleague Artwell Muchenje something to live up to, but Artwell isn’t shy of taking on new challenges. He started at Cape Grace as a night waiter and worked his way up to a high ranking position in the kitchen as Senior Chef du Partis.

However, this year will be even harder with the competition extending nationwide to include ten more top hotels, five each from Johannesburg and Durban. Gert knows only too well how much you learn about yourself by taking part in this challenge and says, “when the stress gets unbearable and you feel like giving up, remember why you are doing this and finish like a champion.”

He heeded his own words and now it’s Artwell’s turn to step up to the plate! Artwell’s ambition is to become Executive Chef in a 5-star hotel, (he says preferably Cape Grace), and this is just another challenge on his path to the top. We wish him well!

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