The RCL FOODS Young Chefs & Bakers Challenge is open to all culinary enthusiasts across South Africa. Entries are to be submitted by 2 August 2024 and participants must form teams of two and submit original recipes showcasing their creativity and technical prowess across two courses: a Restaurant Main Course and an Innovation Dessert. Entries will be judged on criteria including ingredient use, creativity, presentation, and adherence to competition guidelines

Following the success of last year’s competition, which crowned Catherine Sainsbury and Robert Zituta from Silwood School of Cookery as champions, this year promises to showcase the talents of South Africa’s rising culinary stars.

The competition, organised by RCL FOODS and administered by the South African Chefs Association (SA Chefs), aims to foster innovation and excellence among aspiring chefs and bakers aged between 18 and 27 years old. Participants will have the opportunity to showcase their skills through a series of rigorous challenges, culminating in the national finals where top young talents will vie for substantial prizes.

Head Chef of RCL FOODS Chef Bradley Kavanagh emphasises the competition’s significance in nurturing culinary talent: “Through initiatives like the RCL FOODS Young Chefs & Bakers Challenge, we’re not just nurturing culinary talent; we’re embodying our commitment to ‘We grow what matters’. This competition is a testament to our dedication to cultivating skills, inspiring creativity, and fostering a passion for quality ingredients. It’s about leading by example, driving change, and living our values every step of the way.”

This year, Callebaut Chocolate is joining as a product sponsor, offering a special prize to the team with the highest score for their dessert dish at the National Finals. The winning duo will receive an opportunity to attend the Chocolate 2.0 course at the Chocolate Academy, sponsored by Callebaut Chocolate.

Reflecting on their victory last year, Catherine Sainsbury shares, “Winning the RCL FOODS Young Chefs & Bakers Challenge was a dream come true for us. It has opened doors to incredible opportunities and affirmed our passion for culinary arts.”

Regional Semi Finals will be held in KZN, Gauteng, and Cape Town on 12 September 2024, with successful teams progressing to the National Finals scheduled for 3 October 2024 in KwaZulu Natal. The culmination of the competition will see top teams compete for cash prizes and the coveted opportunity to elevate their culinary careers.

For more information on how to participate and detailed Terms and Conditions, visit