FBI student chopping his way to success

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FBI School Chef of the Year 2016 winner, Kyle Cilliers, hopes to use the skills he is currently learning to cook his way around the world. PHOTO: SEITHATI SEMENOKANE

Food and Beverage Institute School Chef of the Year 2016 winner, Kyle Cilliers, is having the time of his life learning the skills he needs to make him a top chef.
A Bloemfontein guy from Grey College, Cilliers says his interest for all things culinary led him to entering the competition where he won a bursary to study at the FBI. He entered the competition because from a young age he felt that cooking was his calling.
“It’s always been one of my career choices to become a chef. I also saw the competition as a way to prove to myself that I can make it in the industry,” he says.
Cilliers says getting the call that he had made into the final made him stress a little, but he grabbed the opportunity with both hands. “It was a hectic day, I had everything sorted and ready for the day. Everything went according to plan, except for my potato croquettes. I think the mash that I put inside them was a bit too runny. But at that moment I had to work with what I had, there was no going back.”
Cilliers has spent the year learning all the basics. Working with various ingredients to make a variety of dishes, while also learning the proper way to handle ingredients and to respect them. “With the potatoes, what I’ve done is the Potatoes Croquettes Pomme Williams; thin chips, skinny fries, Potato Dofinwa, and rose potatoes. We’ve also learnt to make our own pasta,” boasts Cilliers.
He adds they have also learnt the knife skills that are needed to function in a kitchen and the lesson came along with some first-aid knowledge. Learners also work at functions which offers them the opportunity to get real life experience.
Cilliers encourages learners who are currently in matric to enter the competition. His advice for the entrants is to plan their menus well in advance, prepare accordingly for the final cook-off and most importantly have fun while in the kitchen. “Being in the kitchen feels like a second home to me. I love it!” ends Cilliers.
The competition is open to Grade 12 students who have subjects in Domestic Science, Consumer Studies, Hotel and Catering or Home Economics. The deadline for applications is Friday 21 July 2017. By then the applications must either be hand delivered or posted to the FBI at Private Bag X01, Suite 276, Brandhof, 9323. For more information, also visit www.chefsinstitute.co.za. – Seithati Semenokane 
seithati@centralmediagroup.co.za