Mahlatse Madimabe wins mushroom competitionNovember 17th, 2011 by Susan Reynard | Categories: food, industry, people, products, training
Mahlatse Madimabe has won the 2011 Rising Stars cooking competition, sponsored by the South African Mushrooms Farmer’s Association (SAMFA). She was one of five finalists, all tasked with preparing an “honest, easy-to-make and tasty dish where mushrooms are the hero”. All of the dishes demonstrated the versatility and flavour of fresh, cultivated mushrooms.
Mahlatse Madimabe of Culinary Passions School of Hospitality’s mushroom and chicken liver tart secured her top place and the title 2011 Rising Star. She says: “I love cooking and through this competition I have learned to push for what I want in life; I have learned so much from other finalists. Once I have completed my studies I want to run my own five-star restaurants in my home town, Soweto. I want to bring the versatility of mushrooms into our own traditional dishes.”
Azwifaneli Mudau of Culinary Passions School of Hospitality came in second with her red curry mushroom in a naan bread basket. She says: “Being in second place meant so much for me because I have never entered a competition before and I never thought I would get this far. I was so nervous but coming this far has given me the courage to overcome the fear I had in me and to believe in myself and to enter more competitions as I would like to become one of South Africa’s best executive chefs.”
Third place went to Rose Ntuli from Lesedi Community Development Organization in Mpumalanga. She says of the experience: “I was astonished when I received a phone call to tell me that I made it to the top five. It was really unexpected, though I have a great passion for cooking but I have never cooked with mushrooms before – it was a total different experience for me.”
Renchia Ingram of The Culinary Academy came fourth, with her portabella mushroom duxelle and Kalish Laljeeth of Durban University of Technology came in fifth place with his mushroom and thyme lasagne.
Ingram is currently studying towards her diploma in Advanced Food and Wine. She says: “This competition has opened doors for me in this industry; it has given me the great confidence to believe in myself and to enter more competitions. I would like to travel the world to learn about the different cultures and their traditional foods. Becoming a top chef is by far my passion. Do what you love and never look back.”
Laljeeth notes: “I love working with food. I would like to go into recipe development or work as a food stylist. This competition has given me the opportunity to develop my own original mushroom recipe. By making it this far proves that I have the ability to develop more recipes and it gives me courage to never give up on my dreams. Being part of the five finalists has made me so happy because it was my first time taking part in cooking competitions. My school was very proud to hear of my achievement in this competition. Don’t give up on your dreams and be persistent in everything that you do – I am living proof of my own advice.”
Chef Citrum Khumalo, part of the judging panel, adds: “It was a tough challenge for both the students and the judges. The students were briefed on creating original recipes with mushroom as the leading ingredient, original recipes that celebrated the wonderful attributes of fresh cultivated mushrooms and they proved themselves as each student brought their unique side to the competition.”
SAMFA chairperson Ross Richardson says: “The rising stars competition remains one of the most exciting developmental events on the SAMFA calendar. We are astounded by the quality number of entries we receive every year. This prestigious annual competition, now running in its fifth year, is a competition which provides great opportunities for the young student chefs to showcase their flair and courage in the kitchen.”