A student chef from Westminster Kingsway College has triumphed in the South African Young Chef of the Year 2019 competition.
21-year-old Nikoleta Theofylaktidou will fly to South Africa to spend a week with award-winning restaurants Reuben’s and La Petite Colombe in Franschhoek.
The national competition is part of the South African Fruit campaign in the UK, and sees young chefs, under the age of 25, enter a three-course menu based around plums, peaches, nectarines, apples and pears from the country.
Entrants were encouraged to research South African cooking, culture, ingredients and flavours, and according to the judges Theofylaktidou demonstrated a high level of knowledge through her menu.
"When I found out about the competition I knew I wanted to take part, because South African cuisine isn’t something I’ve experienced," said Theofylaktidou. "I learnt a lot about how ethical and high quality the country’s produce is.
"I’m so looking forward to the trip, especially working in two well-recognised restaurants, learning new techniques and increasing my knowledge," she added. "I also cannot wait to experience, in person, the South African culture and cuisine."
Theofylaktidou is in her final year at Westminster Kingsway College, studying the Professional Chef Diploma. She hopes to utilise her experience in South Africa when looking for a job later this year.
The judging panel included chef lecturer and author, Jose Souto; South African-born chef patron at The Poet at Matfield, Petrus Madutlela; actress, presenter and author of Milly Cookbook, Nicola Millbank; Founder of Eighty 20 Nutrition, Donna Crous and Manager of South African restaurant, High Timber, Neleen Strauss.