From Cook to Chef with TASTE Eat Out Bursary

TASTE Eat Out Bursary
TASTE Eat Out Bursary

Do you want to be the next Jamie Oliver, Luke Dale-Roberts, Margot Janse or Reuben Riffel?  If so, the 2013 TASTE Eat Out Bursary is up for grabs and Woolworths TASTE is calling for all budding chefs to apply. A one-year scholarship to Silwood Cookery School in Cape Town will serve up the opportunity for one young chef to leap towards culinary greatness.

The winner of the bursary will be announced at the Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards on 10 November 2013, at The Lookout at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront.

Last year’s winner, Damien Stemmet, a former student at Plumstead High School, is now nearing the end of his first year at Silwood – the prestigious culinary academy that accepts only 48 students every year. Stemmet was selected from a pool of applicants and it was his passion for pastry and long hours of working on weekends and holidays in the kitchen at Knead Bakery that sealed his dream of training to become a top chef.

“This bursary has completely changed my life,” said Stemmet. “From the very first day, when I received my top-notch equipment, I’ve been amazed by everything I’ve seen and learnt at Silwood. It used to be that I’d look at an onion and some oil as just that. Now I know it can be coarsely or finely chopped, and sweated down until it is sweet; a complete transformation! I’m being exposed to new techniques and new cuisines all the time.”

In addition to training, Silwood students are required to assist with catering a number of functions throughout the year, a task Stemmet has really taken to. “Much of what I’ve seen has inspired me, with pastry and catering at the top of the list.” After Silwood, Stemmet wants to work on a cruise ship, and eventually travel to France, where he can further his culinary experience. His long-term dream is to be head chef of his own catering company.

“A great chef is someone who has learnt the basics, and then breaks the rules with out-of-the-box thinking to stand out from the rest. It takes absolute dedication and commitment,” says Abigail Donnelly, Woolworths TASTE food editor and Eat Out editor.

The bursary programme has been running successfully for seven years, acknowledging and assisting the talented cooks out there with limited resources who just need a helping hand to get on the road to chefdom. The aim of the bursary programme is to help launch more rising stars like Damien, who is clearly going places.

Donnelly offered some advice to applicants:  “You may be a food fanatic, but tomorrow’s chef will also need to be able to envision a stronger culinary industry for South Africa. We want young chefs who are just as committed to nurturing the greater community as they are to having their name at the top of a menu.”

So, if you see your future in a chef’s apron, download the application form on the Woolworths TASTE website

If you have any trouble downloading the form, or have any questions, please email or call Samantha Charles at TASTE magazine on (021) 417-1111.

Once completed, applicants can email their application to, fax it to 021 417 1243 or post it to Woolworths TASTE, New Media House, 19 Bree Street, Cape Town, 8001

The closing date for applications is Saturday 7 September 2013.

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