Chefs Who Share raises R2 million for Charity

Lentswe Bhengu, Jamie-Lee Saunders, Reto Mathis

The 2015 ‘Chefs who share – the ART of giving’ black-tie charity gala which took place on 10 September, once again exceeded all expectations and raised more than R2 million for youth development in South Africa. Held for the third consecutive year in the Cape Town City Hall, the glittering ‘feel-good’ evening was unanimously voted by patrons as ‘the charity event of the year’.

Hosted by Founders Barbara Lenhard and Florian Gast, together with ongoing presenting partner Mercedes-Benz and associate sponsors Deutsche Bank, Swiss International Air Lines, Bulgari, Frey Chocolate, the Century City Conference Centre and Taj Cape Town, the gala brought together 14 of the country’s top chefs and seven acclaimed sommeliers, who for one night only worked together in seven teams to create a culinary feast for 252 guests.

Elana Afrika-Bredenkamp and Jeremy Mansfield took on MC duties at the gala, with Iain Banner and Philip Powell presiding over the now legendary auction. Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the evening, the auction afforded guests the opportunity to bid for 17 outstanding works of art by some of South Africa’s leading artists, as well as seven special once-off travel and lifestyle experiences. In addition seven art pieces by up-and-coming young creatives from the Little Artists School in Johannesburg were available in a silent auction. Artist Marieke Prinsloo-Rowe once again received the highest bid of the evening – her ‘Young Swimmer Girl’ bronze statue fetching R180 000.

The primary focus and preoccupation of Prinsloo-Rowe’s body of work is and has been an exploration of the female form. She is intrigued by the way in which sculpture mimics the three dimensionality of a human presence and thus the slightly surreal dialogue it invites. Prinsloo-Rowe has completed numerous private and public commissions and her work is represented in several public sites, private collections and galleries both nationally and abroad.

Chefs who share – Young Chef Award’ winner

This year’s gala also saw the announcement of the first ever ‘Chefs who share – Young Chef Award’ winner – Jamie-Lee Saunders, Commis chef at Red Indigo Restaurant at Grootbos Private Nature Reserve in Hermanus. Following a rigorous application process, Jamie-Lee was one of seven finalists selected for their innovative canapé entries. The young chefs were presented with a challenging three-day programme during their stay in Cape Town, culminating in a spot in the star-studded ‘Chefs who share’ kitchen on the night of the gala, where they were teamed up with their culinary idols to prepare canapés for the illustrious audience. Jamie-Lee was paired with ‘Team 6’ with chefs Chantel Dartnall from Mosaic at The Orient and Scot Kirton from La Colombe.

Her canapé creation, ‘Pink peppercorn macaroon with duck liver pâté and candied apples’, as well as her professional manner and vivacious personality, earned her the coveted title. She was chosen as the winner by chef and TV personality Lentswe Bhengu, the South African Ambassador of the award; Swiss celebrity chef and Swiss International Air Lines brand ambassador Reto Mathis, who acted as the finalists’ international patron; and the 14 participating South African chefs. The young champion’s once in a lifetime prize includes a trip to Europe, courtesy of Swiss International Air Lines, to spend several days cooking in a Michelin-starred restaurant, before visiting the Moët & Chandon headquarters in Épernay, in the heart of France’s Champagne region.

As in previous years, 100% of the money raised at ‘Chefs who share – the ART of giving’ via ticket sales, as well as all proceeds from the auction will go to two carefully chosen charities, the Make A Difference Leadership Foundation and the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. ‘Chefs who share’ has now raised R6 million for this good cause since its inception in 2013.

Chefs who share’s ongoing ‘Veggie Box Initiative’ meanwhile offers further support to local communities by developing sustainable programmes in partnership with existing charities, in order to provide nutritious food to children; educate about healthy meals; and help in growing sustainable vegetable gardens in underprivileged areas.

Barbara Lenhard is delighted with this year’s gala event: ‘It is wonderful to once again achieve such an amazing result, and we are so grateful for being able to make a difference with the money that has been raised. All the hard work has paid off and we would like to express our deepest thank you to the wonderful artists and companies for donating so generously towards the auction, as well as to the chefs, sommeliers and helping hands for being involved. Without their dedication and time going into this event, ‘Chefs who share’ would not be possible.’