Chesterfield College cookery student named South African Young Chef of the Year
Chesterfield College professional cookery student, William Joynes, has been named as the South African Young Chef of the Year after winning a national competition organised by South African deciduous fruit growers, Hortgro.
His skills and the effort he put into the competition means he will go on a trip to South Africa to learn from some of country’s top celebrity chefs.
In the first round of the competition, organisers asked young UK chefs to submit a main course showcasing South African stone fruit. Before lockdown, William and his fellow students, George Allen and Jake Parkin worked in the Chesterfield College kitchens to develop mouth-watering dishes to enter the competition. All three of them impressed judges with their entries and were shortlisted as finalists back in February.
They were due to travel to London to complete a cook-off final at High Timber restaurant, but the COVID-19 pandemic meant this stage of the competition was cancelled. Organisers later resurrected the competition and asked finalists to create a video to demonstrate how they would cook a dessert with a list of ingredients.
William worked with a former Chesterfield College media student to produce a video of him making a South African milk tart with a cinnamon crumb and a caramel apple sorbet. His choice of dish, his creative combination of ingredients and his skill in the kitchen made him stand out and he was named as the winner of the competition last week.
He will travel to Franschhoek in South Africa, as soon as travel restrictions are lifted, to join celebrity chefs, Reuben Riffel and John Norris-Rogers, Head Chef at La Petite Colombe. He will be fully involved in the running of two award-winning restaurants, gain a deeper understanding of how each operation works, and develop his knowledge of South African fine dining.
Jacques du Preez, Hortgro’s General Manager for Trade and Markets: “William produced two superb competition entries. Both dishes demonstrated a great deal of skill, a clear understanding of the brief and he showcased South African stone and top fruit perfectly. William should be incredibly proud of himself and South Africa’s top chefs are looking forward to hosting his stage.”
William told us how he developed his dishes and how it felt when he found out he had won: “I did some research on South African dishes and I used the knowledge I had built up from working in the fine dining restaurant Rafters in Sheffield, as well as the skills we learnt at college, to develop the dishes. I added my own flair with my knowledge of different techniques and the ingredients we had to work with.”
He added: “It was just amazing when I found out I’d won. When my tutor called to tell me I was absolutely ecstatic. It was good to get that feedback from professional chef judges. I am really looking forward to the trip to South Africa. It is a fantastic opportunity to learn about South African cuisine and get unique industry experience that will help me as I start to build my career.”
William’s tutor, Ian Matthews, who supported the students to enter the competition and ensured they had time to develop their dishes, said: “These competitions are a fantastic way for students to extend their skills. It is wonderful to see how each of the entrants from Chesterfield College approached the competition and it is a pleasure to support them to try new things in our training kitchens.
He added: “They worked really hard in difficult circumstances and continued to compete from home during lockdown. The fact that they were all finalists is down to their hard work and passion. I am very proud of them all and everyone at college sends congratulations to William. We look forward to hearing about his adventures in South Africa.”