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Local spice brand announces and celebrates winners after a national search
30 October 2023
Ordinary cooks waited with bated breath at Truffles on the Park, Sandton, as they waited for the announcement from Chef Zola Nene of who would be named the ultimate home cooks in the country.
Earlier in the year, Robertsons Spices called for South Africans to submit their best Robertsons-infused dishes to stand a chance to win various prizes to support their culinary passion.
"Robertsons has been famous for flavour for almost one hundred years. Ordinary South Africans have made Robertsons famous in their homes, so we wanted to recognize them and give them a platform to showcase recipes that made them famous in their families and communities," says Dehne Peters, brand manager of Robertsons Spices.
When entries were closed at the end of May, the brand had the mammoth task of searching through hundreds of submissions, searching for the most promising recipes that used just the right concoction of spices. Finally, the submissions were narrowed to the top nine recipes.
The nine cooks responsible for these recipes were invited to participate in a series of Robertsons' pop-up restaurants nationwide. Three cooks went head-to-head in Durban, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pretoria as they prepared their dishes for shoppers in major malls in a stylish temporary Robertsons restaurant where shoppers voted for their favourite dish out of three in each region.
At the event, guests were afforded the opportunity to enjoy a three-course meal comprised of the nine cook’s submissions.
The ultimate three victors of the evening were Londeka Chonco, Paula Mainstone and Lethabo Kgadima, who prepared baoza dumplings, kingclip and mussels in a Cape Malay curry sauce and creamy chicken livers with linguine respectively.
“Being in the top three has shown me that I have more potential than I believed I had. Now I know that I should push myself and keep trying new things. Even if I fail, I will keep trying. I am proud because my hard work has paid off. Congratulations to the other home cooks who were part of the campaign. Everyone did a good job”, exclaimed Londeka Chonco.
Paula Mainstone shared that the Robertsons journey has been a great experience for her. “For me, winning is not just about the money. It’s about the exposure I have received and working with a brand that has been a part of my life since I was a child.”
For Lethabo it was the joy of people gathering at a restaurant to taste food that she had made. “This campaign has been such a confidence booster. I am truly happy to be a part of the top three. This is proof that I have been doing something right in the kitchen.”
The top three winners all walked away with R20 000 in cash and a hamper to the value of approximately R25 500 each.
Peters further clarified that the competition aimed not to undermine those who have received qualifications in the culinary field. "We have worked with many esteemed chefs who also use Robertsons in their kitchens, but we all know that aunt, uncle, friend or colleague that has that one recipe worthy of a standing ovation. That is what we wanted to highlight with Famous for Flavour".
Readers can also attempt to replicate the winning recipes by downloading the home cook recipe book HERE