Tavern chefs to battle it out for a R100 000 cash price and bragging rights

Posted on 3 February 2023 By Olerato Ramafsi

South Africa’s aspiring tavern chefs will test their culinary skills over the coming months in a competition designed to promote food serving in taverns and combat binge drinking as they battle it out to claim the title of Mzansi Tavern Chef – and a makeover of their outlet worth R100 000.

A partnership between Distell, Nederburg Wines and the National Liquor Traders, featuring master chefs Peter Goffe-Wood and Bennie Masekwameng, along with Drinks Federation of South Africa Chairperson Monhla Hlahla as judges, the competition kicks off with the Western Cape provincial final on 7 February, followed by the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng.

The provincial cook-off at the Nederburg Wine Estate will see 15 tavern chefs from the Western Cape challenging each other in a cook-off judged on taste, creativity, affordability and presentation.

Provincial champions will win prizes to the value of R30 000 towards food serving in their outlets and go up against the winners from each province in the national grand final for the chance to win the ultimate prize of a tavern makeover to the tune of R100 000.

‘The Tavern Chef competition is the pinnacle of our campaign to promote food serving in taverns as one of the measures to address binge drinking,’ said Jolene Henn, Distell Head of Corporate Affairs Southern Africa.

‘Eating food before and during alcohol consumption is a practical way to regulate consumption and avoid intoxication.’

‘Food serving in taverns has the dual benefit of helping to moderate consumption and promote a responsible, more sociable atmosphere, while also creating an additional revenue stream for the outlet which can drive township economic development and employment.’

‘As part of our Bansela rewards programme for taverners, Distell is incentivising taverners to serve food and water as a way of moderating consumption of alcohol and reducing binge drinking. Most of the taverners taking part in the Mzansi Tavern Chef competition will be selected from those who have already started serving food in their outlets.

‘We also reward taverners for adhering strictly to our responsible trading principles, which include not serving alcohol to anyone under 18, pregnant women and clearly intoxicated persons, and complying with their licensing conditions.

‘To support these initiatives we also fund community patrollers who inspect outlets and report non-compliance,’ Henn said.

Distell Premium Wines Marketing Manager Jackie Olivier said Nederburg was proud to host the Tavern Chef competition.

‘As one of the country’s most known and awarded wine brands, deeply entrenched in South African wine and food culture, Nederburg is a passionate advocate of local flavours as well as the responsible consumption of wine and other alcoholic beverages.’

‘We’re so excited to see what interesting food the Tavern Chef participants dream up to serve in their taverns. We hope to be inspired by their culinary creations as we continue on our Taste, Learn and Discover journey, enabling our valued consumers to get to know our range of delicious wines and how well they pair with a wide range of local South African flavours,’ said Olivier.

Convenor of the National Liquor Traders Lucky Ntimane said the competition would help to raise the standard of food on offer in taverns and motivate taverners to join the responsible drinking campaign.

‘We are very excited to see how this competition can inspire tavern owners to improve their service and make their outlets a more welcoming, healthier environment,’ Ntimane said.

‘I want to wish the participants good luck and may the best tavern chef win!’

Picture: Getty Images

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