Constantijn Leo Hahndiek

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    CRUSH CHATS TO Constantijn Leo Hahndiek

    Top 10 finalist in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 - Africa & Middle East

    More than 3000 young chefs submitted their application together with their signature dish to participate to S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015, the global scouting project to find the world’s best young chefs.

    Applications were divided into 20 regions, according to the geographic area of origin, dishes were judged  according to five Golden Rules: ingredients, skills, genius, beauty, message.

    A fantastic seven of the Top 10 selected for Africa and Middle East, were South African chefs, and in this series we catch up with each of them.

    30-year old Constantijn Leo Hahndiek works in the kitchen at Fairmont Zimbali Resort. He tells us a bit about himself and his dish.

    It is an amazing achievement to have been placed in the Top Ten of this award selection – congrats! Tell us about your journey to entering…

    I entered because I have never entered a competition before, a lot of competitions force chefs to use a brands products or promote a brands convenience products and I don’t believe in that. I think the San Pellegrino is a true competition and this is my last eligible year to enter.

    Tell us about the dish that got you here…

    It’s really a dish that has followed me and evolved through my career, and a good dish to bring me back to the basics of classic techniques and pure simple cooking. Also I love the fact that the few ingredients used are enough to create a complete dish.

    Without giving too much away, do you have an idea what you will be cooking in the next round?

    Too many idea’s but for now I’m just focused on my signature dish.

    Chef David Higgs is the selected mentor for this group – daunting or exciting…or both?

    Exciting and inspiring, I have a lot of respect for him and have followed his career and food avidly.

    Quickfire Questions…

    Current favourite ingredient… South African Wagyu Beef.

    Kitchen tool you cant live without… Turning knife.

    Your foodie guilty pleasure… Ice cream.

    Bucket list foodie destination… The list is too long.

    Drink after a long, hard service… Bourbon and lime on ice if I have the following day off!

    Funniest kitchen experience to date… There was a great girl called Kauliswe in my last kitchen and we used to prank each other daily and the amount of laughter that gave me through stressful times was very necessary. A carefully poured cappuccino with beautiful milk art on top with deadly chilli sauce lying underneath is not what you need at 7 am in a busy week.

    Pet peeve… When someone drops the tin foil or the cling-film gets melted..

    Last meal on earth… Mom’s cucumber pickle and cheese on thick homemade bread.


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