The first ever SA Olive Young Chef Competition is a tasty mix of South Africa’s thriving culinary culture, the incredible talent of our future chefs and the versatility of olive oil and olives. SA Olive sees it as the perfect opportunity to be part of developing young and talented local chefs.

Hurst Campus (Paarl) students were given the opportunity to submit olive and olive oil inspired recipes. The top nine recipes were selected and came to life at the final cook-off held on 13 April 2019. The finalists presented their culinary creations to a panel of professional, high profile chefs including Master Chef SA judge, Pete Goffe-Wood, and Marc Maingard, trained chef and the mastermind behind the feeding scheme 2nd Harvest.

Fans were able to vote for their favourite dishes on Facebook & Instagram. The final votes were tallied up and added to that of the judging panel. The SA Olive Young Chef winners were announced on 7 May 2019 and walked away with a cash prize sponsored by SA Olive Industry Association.


Dish 1: Dark Chocolate & Olive Oil Mousse – Angelo Walder

with black olive shortbread, olive oil Cremaux, fresh raspberries and dried black olives.

Says Angelo: ‘Olives are a very strong tasting fruit. I found it difficult to come up with an interesting dish to serve to the judges of SA Olive. I thought through the idea of olive oil and olives and a dessert popped into my mind. I’m not a person who is in love with the olive flavor but a chef always cooks with almost all ingredients he can get his hands on. I am hoping that the energy I’ve put into this dish will intrigue the judges. Dark chocolate always goes well with olive oil, so a mousse came to mind. I just hope the flavours will astound the judges.’


Dish 2: Olive Oil & Olive Infused Waffles – Bianca Pienaar

topped with homemade bachu infused ice-cream, dressed with a salted caramel sauce and sprinkled with sweet dried olives.

Says Bianca: ‘I decided to be part this competition because it is the first chef competition that I have the opportunity to be a part of. It is also my first big challenge in my journey of becoming a chef. If my dish is selected as the top SA Olive Young Chef favourite, not only will I be a representative of my school, but it will add to the building blocks of my career as a chef. Joining this competition as a junior is both exciting and a great honour.’


Dish 3: The Olives Nest – Busisiwe Sibindi

Pulled confit styled chicken leg that will be crumb coated, served with creamy tomato and Kalamata olive sauce surrounded by sautéed multi-coloured baby carrots, asparagus spears and Shimeji mushrooms with a hint of crispy chicken skin.

Says Busisiwe: ‘A beautiful display of olives in a nest representing the olive being cracked open and taking off from its nest. For me the olive wasn’t a much appreciated product before, but now it’s as precious as an egg to a hen to me as my knowledge on olives and olive oil will continue to grow as it hatches from the egg.’


Dish 4: Olive Oil and Feta Cheese Ice-cream – Cleo Arendse

with olive and rosemary biscuit, dark chocolate and orange sauce, Italian meringue kisses, an orange coulis and olive oust.

Says Cleo: ‘For my dish I have prepared and constructed a sweet dish that in my opinion elevates the humble olive to the best of its ability.  This dish shows innovation and creativity with simplicity but has the ability to ‘wow’ the palette with an olive flavour that is noticeable throughout the dish. All the olive components in this dish are made with solely SA olive products, which in my opinion gives it its exceptionally distinct flavours. It shows that olive oil is not only produced to be poured over a salad, but one can also cook and make exceptional dishes with it.’


Dish 5: Olive and Apple Malva Pudding – Kyle Michael Evitts

with an olive crumb and olive and apple sorbet with an apple and olive coulis.

Says Kyle: ‘I always feel like in competitions, people aim for these outrageous dishes that gob smacks anyone who gazes upon it, but I have found that we, no matter how adventurous we may be, always return to the foods we are the most comfortable with. That was the first thing that came to mind, and I wanted to go with that feeling. Generally, the first things that people think about when dessert is mentioned are cakes, puddings and ice-cream. I wanted to show off the versatility of the olive by using it in two separate states – using it in a solid food, as well as in a food that could be either liquid or solid. I like the simple things in life, and nothing sounds better to me than a nice warm Malva pudding with ice-cream after a long day, so that is what I decided to go with. I have tried to be as sustainable with the olives as possible, only discarding the pip, which can be planted later to produce more olives in the future (yay!). I use most of the olive in every aspect of the dish, even using the leftover pulp from the jam to make a simple garnish for the dish.’


Dish 6: Decadent Chocolate Vegan Fondant Brownie – Melissa Laing

with cashew cream frosting.

Says Melissa: ‘The best part of the SA Olive Young Chef Competition was learning about the different types of olive oil, the ways to taste it and its flavours. It was an amazing experience picking olives and seeing how the machinery works.’


Dish 7: Olive Puffs – Precious Job-Inomwan

with olive dip.

Says Precious: ‘It is with utmost pride that I am taking the opportunity to develop a recipe, I believe that in showcasing what I can do, or what I can come up with, is not an opportunity I will get everyday. I therefore took every effort to utilize it. I have been using Extra Virgin Olive Oil for almost 2 years because of its health benefits – especially for those who are diabetic. It will be an honour to represent and help create more awareness of how healthy olive oil can be.’


Dish 8: Honey & Olive Oil Ice-cream – Renate van Reenen

served with a toasted sponge cake, a Sweet olive oil gel and toasted almond crumbs.

Says Renate: ‘I work with desserts and creating one with olives and olive oil sounded like a great challenge. It is something fun and new for me to work with.’


Dish 9: Olive and Mushroom Tortellini – Tanner Leigh

with tomato juice emulsion, pickled olives, spinach puree, ginger hair, basil oil (veg).

Says Tanner: ‘Vegetarianism and veganism are becoming more noticed trends and lifestyles and I believe it would be silly to overlook it. I really enjoy taking humble ingredients such as vegetables and creating full flavor profiles from each.  I also enjoy showing the versatility of a product, and I feel olive oil and olives are perfect. Although I didn’t highlight it as the main ingredient, I showed the use of olives and olive oil in few ways. For the cooking, to make pasta, to make the pasta filling, to emulsify, to pickle, to make oils, to crisp things up.  Olives and olive oil have such a history and importance in cooking. It is so important that we as young chefs understand this.’