It’s South Africa’s best food competition for youngsters, and it’s back bigger and better than before. Taste Bud Battle seeks to find the country’s best young chefs, with the winner crowned after a competitive cook-off which will be held in Johannesburg in October.
Entries are now open in a number of categories with regional heats taking place around the country.
Last year’s winners were five-year-old Yusri Zunaid Noorbhai (Taste Bud Battle Mini Chef of the Year); Gabriella Shalekoff (aged 11, Taste Bud Battle Junior Chef of the Year) and 16-year-old Trezar Bhana (Taste Bud Battle Senior Chef of the Year and overall champion).
Says organiser Donna Verrydt: “To say we were overwhelmed with the response last year to the inaugural competition would be an understatement. This year we will be hosting cook-offs in Cape Town, Durban, George, Johannesburg and Pretoria to uncover South Africa’s best young chefs. There are various categories for youngsters aged from four to 19 and we are expecting hundreds of young chefs to enter.”
Verrydt explains why getting children into the kitchen is so important: “It provides practical experience with many essential skills, such as reading and following directions. Research has shown that getting involved in cooking helps children to develop fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and even early concepts of maths and science.”
According to an article in The New York Times, children who cook become children who taste and who develop a more open-minded approach to food. Cooking is a way to talk about health and about healthy ingredients. It also brings cooks of all ages closer together.
Taste Bud Battle’s theme for 2020 is Fruity Fun.
Continues Verrydt: “The creative options are endless. You can bake with fruit, you can cook a savoury dish using fruit, you can even make a dish that just resembles a fruit (it doesn’t have to contain fruit but can look like a fruit). Contestant’s dishes can focus on just one fruit or could feature a medley of fruits. Fruit can be the actual dish, the accompaniment or the sauce! And remember, some produce that you may think of as a vegetable, may actually be a fruit*!”
There are four age categories this year: pre-primary (four- and five-year olds); junior primary (aged six to nine); primary (10 to 13) and high-school (14 to 19). Entries close May 31.
Contestants can enter by going to the Taste Bud Battle website (www.tastebudbattle.co.za).
Semi-finalists will be announced on June 11, with regional cook-offs taking place on July 11 (Johannesburg); July 18 (Pretoria); July 25 (Durban); August 1 (Cape Town) and August 15 (George). Finalists will be announced on August 31 and flown up to Johannesburg for the ultimate Taste Bud Battle where category winners will be chosen and the overall grand champion will walk away with some amazing prizes.
Taste Bud Battle sponsors include Capsicum Culinary Studio, Snowflake, Cresta Shopping Centre and Menlyn on Main with more to be announced soon.
Information from JAG Communications