Culinary Team South Africa will be among the 52 countries showcasing their talents, skills and culinary specialities to the world in October at the Culinary Olympics, which is held once every four years in Germany.

The 29 intricate dishes that make up what is known as the Cold Table, consist of various categories, including a five-course menu, tapas, festive platter, friandises, four desserts, three starters, an ovo-lacto three course menu, showpiece and more – the Cold Table is an overwhelmingly impressive demonstration of the techniques and talents of the chefs represented on the Team.


Culinary Team South Africa’s Cold Table was recently unveiled for the first – and last – time in public at the inaugural Food & Hospitality Africa expo, where visitors had the opportunity to view the culinary Cold Table masterpieces created over two days by the Team. Painstakingly prepared in intricate detail and with exact precision, the food is coated with aspic, a gelatine-like substance, to preserve it for the duration of the display and to enhance the colour and visual appeal of the dishes.


“The Cold Table is a showcase of chefs’ skills, patience and precision. This presentation is the personification of the science of culinary art, which tests old world skills presented in new world style.”

– Manager of Culinary Team South Africa, Heinz Brunner


“The Cold Table is judged on the presentation, composition of the plate, practicality of the dish for the restaurant environment, aesthetic appeal of the dish, quality of aspic work and whether the dish appears as described. It is an extremely exacting component of the Culinary Olympics and one that tests the skills of chefs unlike any other. Our young chefs will be exposed to cutting edge techniques and cuisines from around the world and will return to share this knowledge with their peers. This is undoubtedly one of the greatest benefits of international culinary competitions.”

– Former Manager of the Team and now Cold Table advisor, Garth Shnier

Through consultation with technical experts in the field of gelatine and aspic, this year’s team has broken new ground in the chemistry and technique of aspic.

“Most gelatine in the world is used in bulk food manufacturing applications, but its versatility is only bound by one’s imagination. Gelita is honoured to have been able to contribute to the South African National Culinary Team’s efforts on their cold table presentation with regard to the aspic work. It has given us an opportunity to share our knowledge of gelatine’s versatility.”

– Operations Manager of Gelita South Africa, Dieter Nelles

The cold table is to be presented entirely to the international jury on exhibition day, which for South Africa will be Saturday October 22. The theme of South Africa’s Cold Table this year is ‘The Bounty of the Earth’, reflecting South Africa’s rich natural resources and mining history, as well as the abundant bounty of ingredients from land and sea. Each team member was asked to choose a gemstone to represent the dishes they will be presenting, with the chocolate showpiece of a mineshaft and traditional mining equipment completing the picture.

“We are going to the Olympics as proud ambassadors of South Africa and representatives of a great heritage of culinary excellence in this country. We will put in all the necessary hours to do our country proud – and we’re delighted at the growing support we are getting from people within the culinary industry and from the general public.”

– Manager of Culinary Team South Africa, Heinz Brunner

Also, Trevor Boyd joins the South African National Culinary Team following the resignation of Jerome Norton who has taken up a once-in-a-lifetime position at a global hotel group in Canada.

“The pinnacle of international food competition is to be in the hot kitchen at the IKA Culinary Olympics – this is what really drove me to be a part of the South African National Culinary Team once again. Competing at IKA is a rush like no other for a chef!”

– Trevor Boyd

Furthermore, South African National Culinary Team manager, Heinz Brunner announced Henrico Grobbelaar as captain of the team. Choosing Henrico to captain the team was rooted in his vast experience, passion and leadership skills as well his ability to motivate fellow team members during the pressurized time leading up to the Olympics and during the event in October. He is highly regarded amongst his colleagues and Brunner has no doubt he will lead the team with the same passion he applies to his craft.

As the executive chef at Southern Sun The Cullinan hotel, Henrico Grobbelaar is one of South Africa’s most creative and celebrated chefs who constantly pushes boundaries to grow his skills. His cuisine is innovative and exciting as is evidenced in his ability to elevate classic dishes to mouth-watering new heights.

This Cape Town-based chef has been a member of the South African National Culinary Team since 2005 when he joined the development squad and has since worked his way up the ranks. He is also no stranger to being captain of the team, having captained the team in 2008 and 2012. Henrico’s team responsibilities also include supervising the main course in the hot kitchen and overseeing the platters for the cold table display.


“I see the South African National Culinary Team as a sport in my industry. The team means a lot to me because it keeps me focused.”

– Newly-appointed Captain, Henrico Grobbelaar

But he didn’t always want to be a chef, as a young man he wanted to be an engineer. But once he decided to follow his passion, rather than enrolling at a chef’s academy, he peeled vegetables for three years as an apprentice chef under the guidance of Australian chef, Michael Bridgeman– further proof of his deep-rooted passion for the culinary world.

“This is, and will always be, a personal achievement. It is all about personal development and doing something above and beyond what is required in my trade.”

– Newly-appointed Captain, Henrico Grobbelaar

The South African National Culinary Team will be participating in the IKA Culinary Olympics under the auspices of the South African Chefs Association. Their participation has been made possible through the generous sponsorship of headline sponsor LSC/Imperial, along with partners City Lodge Hotel Group, ChefWorks, Turn ‘n Slice and N1 Restaurant Suppliers.

Previous post


Next post


The Author

The Editor

The Editor