Courtyard Hotel Waterfall City Triumphs at Game of Chefs

Courtyard Hotel Waterfall City Wins at Game of Chefs 2024


JOHANNESBURG, July 1, 2024 – The Courtyard Hotel Waterfall City team showcased their culinary excellence by winning the Game of Chefs 2024. They walked away with the winner’s trophy, gold medals, certificates, and a substantial R40,000 cash prize.

Game of Chefs, an invitation-only event, is approved by the World Association of Chefs Societies. Now in its fifth year, it invites professional chefs from South Africa’s top restaurants, hotels, lodges, catering companies, and chefs’ associations. The competition took place from June 11-13, 2024, at the EconoFoods Culinary Village during the Hotel & Hospitality Expo Africa and Africa’s Big 7 show.

The Winning Team of Courtyard Hotel Waterfall City

The victorious team from Courtyard Hotel Waterfall City included Executive Chef Natalie Schoonbee, Pastry/Commis Chef Ro-Anne Williams, Junior Sous Chef Erick Mbudu, and Chef de Partie Evans Mtombela. They created a stunning menu from a mystery basket containing papaya, turnips, tuna, duck, beef short rib, camembert, and regular pantry items.

Courtyard Hotel Waterfall City Team’s menu featured:

  • Starter: Tuna Tataki with cucumber and kiwi fruit salsa, pickled ginger, and teriyaki.
  • Main: Seared Duck Breast, Duck Leg and Beef Short Rib Trio with roast garlic mashed potato, pak choi, turnip, papaya, and gooseberry gremolata.
  • Dessert: Camembert Mousse with coconut sponge, berry compote, and smoked vanilla condensed milk drizzle.

Winning Team Insights: Teamwork and Preparation

Natalie Schoonbee emphasized the importance of teamwork and preparation. General Manager: F&B Operations, Trevor Boyd, and hotel General Manager of Courtyard Hotel Waterfall City, Brendan Luttig, offered invaluable mentorship. City Lodge Hotels sponsored the team’s application, uniforms, and essential equipment, contributing to their success.

“During practice sessions, we followed competition protocols and created mystery baskets to practice making menus from random ingredients. We executed our dishes within the allotted time,” Natalie said.

She reflected on the experience, saying, “It was unfamiliar but fun. I bonded with my team in a casual yet rewarding way. Their focus and dedication were commendable. I see incredible potential in our kitchen team, and I trust this won’t be our last accolade.”

Erick Mbudu shared his initial doubts and how he overcame them. “I was scared, but remembering my grandma’s belief in me helped. On competition day, seeing Chef Trevor reassured me. I decided to do my best, win or lose. Winning was a dream come true!”

Ro-Anne Williams expressed her excitement and gratitude. “The competition was nerve-racking but thrilling, like a busy service. Courtyard Hotel Waterfall winning was a huge milestone and still feels unreal. I’m more confident and passionate about the industry now.”

Evans Mtombela summed up the experience, saying, “If we can achieve this in our first competition, we can do anything!”

Game of Chefs 2024 Competition

Game of Chef Competition Details

Eight teams competed, given 150 minutes to gather ingredients, write menus, cook, plate, and serve 15 servings of a three-course meal. The scoring criteria, adhering to Worldchefs rules, included:

  • 50 points for taste.
  • 25 points for correct professional preparation.
  • 10 points for arrangement, presentation, and innovation.
  • 10 points for mise-en-place.
  • 5 points for service.

Judges included Rudi Mueller (head judge), James Khoza, Mahlomola Thamae, Trevor Boyd, Pieter Malan, Coovashan Pillay, and Martin Kobald.

Other Awards and Future Prospects

Les Creatifs won the first runner-up position, receiving a silver medal and R25,000. Sandton Sun and Towers were the second runner-up, earning a bronze medal and R15,000. They also received the Best Hygiene Practice award, sponsored by Tork, with a trophy and R5,000.

Trevor Boyd praised the Courtyard Hotel Waterfall City team’s training and professionalism. “Our chefs learned quickly and applied their training. On competition day, they looked and worked professionally, representing City Lodge Hotels well. The judges noted our team’s high standards and outstanding performance.”

Lindiwe Sangweni-Siddo, Chief Operating Officer, celebrated the team’s victory. “We are proud of our chefs for entering and winning. As we expand our food and beverage offerings, we applaud their dedication and skill growth, enhancing their careers and our service delivery. Culinary passion shows on the plate, contributing to a top-notch guest experience.”