Young Star Chef of the Year Announced

A student from the Private Hotel School has once again been named Young Star Chef of the Year, a second consecutive win for the renowned hospitality institution.

This year’s One&Only Reaching for Young Stars competition was won by 21-year old Oigen Kaptein, a student at the tertiary institution’s Stellenbosch campus, whose prize includes an intensive three week internship at the gold listed Condé Nast Traveller One&Only Le Saint Géran in Mauritius.

Kaptein, has also been awarded a five month working experience at Winslow’s Tavern, a highly esteemed and top heritage restaurant in Cape Cod, Massachusetts run by South Africans Phillip and Tracey Hunt.

Last year, the school’s Rutendo Ruth Marovatsanga walked away with the same prestigious title and won an internship at the One&Only The Palms and the One&Only Royal Mirage in Dubai.

This was not the only win for the school. Private Hotel School students walked away with a slew of awards including Young Star Baker of the Year.

The One&Only Reaching for Young Stars Competition, which was held recently in Cape Town, had a panel of nine judges headed up by Reuben Riffel and including Marieta Human, Brian McCune, Guy Webber, Julietta e Silva, Kyle Hickman, Luvo Ntezo, Marlvin Gwese and Penelope Horwood.

The categories this year encompassed a wide field including pastry chefs, who showed off their prowess with mille-feuille, bakers who produced artisanal loaves, beverage students who mixed cocktails, service with food and wine pairing and chefs who had to design and prepare a three-course menu.

Kaptein, who hails from Bredasdorp in the Western Cape, and is currently completing his final internship work-integrated-learning  block at Asara Hotel  to complete the Occupational Chef Certificate, not only picked up the Young Star Chef of the Year award, but was also awarded top honours in two other categories including the “Ultimate Lancewood Dessert” and the “Best Food and Wine Pairing” (along with fellow TPHS student Liam Smith).

A delighted Kaptein said: “I chose the hospitality industry because it’s a passion which I know will become a lifelong career and not just provide employment. My curiosity for the    culinary industry was ignited while I was working with my mother who is also a chef.

“I would like to open my own restaurant one day and to go overseas to experience the food cuisines of different countries. I’m sure winning this competition will help me explore more and I am grateful for the opportunity!”

The Private Hotel School fielded five further winners in this year’s competition including:

  • Wisani Marivati – who was awarded Young Star Baker of the Year and will also get the opportunity of a five month apprenticeship at Winslow’s Tavern.
  • Liam Smith – jointly awarded Best Food and Wine Pairing Menu with Oigen Kaptein.
  • Marius Meyer – named one of the top three pastry chefs.
  • Elzaan du Plessis – placed second in the Young Star Beverage Student of the Year
  • Leo Sturgeon – winner of Best Cocktail

Addressing the students at the awards ceremony, guest speaker Maylene Broderick, Chief Director: Enterprise Development and Transformation for the Ministry of Tourism said: “Never before has there been a better time to be in the tourism sector! It’s our time, your time, to shine and make the most of this spotlight and I know those of you that are in this room today realise that and you are our future!”

Says Lianne Holt, principal for The Private Hotel School: “We are not only delighted with Oigen’s win as Young Star Chef of the Year, but also with the fact that so many of our students who entered did so well. This is the second year in a row that one of our students has picked up the ultimate accolade in this competition, which is a testament to our excellent lecturers.”