Challenging chefs to produce great food – in a unique location

The Tsogo Sun Chef’s Challenge takes the hospitality group’s leading chefs out of the comfort zones of their restaurant kitchens and challenges them to prepare a meal for a select group of invited foodies in a unique location within the property.

The first challenge saw Chef Gareth Jordaan of the elegant Lucé restaurant in the Southern Sun Hyde Park hotel presenting 15 lunch guests with tasting portions from his new menu in the porte cochère of the hotelto the delight of passing hotel guests.

The second exclusive gathering of foodie bloggers and media on 26 January challenged Chef Kenny Ngubane of Aarya Restaurant to produce tasting portions of selected dishes from Aarya’s menu. Aarya is a collaboration between Deena Naidoo, first winner of MasterChef SA, and Tsogo Sun, and is located at SunSquare Montecasino in Fourways.

The menu for the event included canapés – smoked salmon, crème cheese with blinis and caviar; grilled Mediterranean vegetables, basil pesto and parmesan shavings; and Parma ham with marinated vodka melon balls. The first course brought platters of exotic pizza starters and delicious intermediate salads. Main course was an Aarya speciality – a trio of curry consisting of rich, decadent butter chicken, bean and prawn, served with condiments, Jeera basmati and roti. Dessert was the perfect ending to the Aarya showcase – upside down cheese cake with lemon curd, and a South African cheese selection with preserves and water biscuits.

Aarya’s wine list includes a selection of wines handpicked by Tsogo Sun at the Nederburg and Cape Winemakers Guild auctions last year, bringing some of South Africa’s finest wines to the tables of its guests.

Chef Kenny Ngubane, who started his career in 1990 and has been with Tsogo Sun since 2007, is now Executive Chef at Montecasino with strong involvement in Aarya. He says of the Challenge: “To be in an environment that I am not accustomed to is very liberating and a breath of fresh air.” The biggest challenge was being outdoors without easy access to resources. His favourite item on the menu are the welcome snacks “because that’s something we don’t do much at Aarya.”

Chef Kenny has been delivering on the vision created by Deena and Togo Sun for the restaurant since it opened, and has been the backbone of the operation, ensuring a consistent, quality culinary experience at the now highly popular Montecasino restaurant. He loves Aarya for “the interactive exposed kitchen and the modern take on comfort food.”

Aarya has some exciting changes in the pipeline, old and new fans alike can watch this space for new developments in Autumn.

Priya Naidoo, Tsogo Sun’s GM, Group Communication, says the group has tremendous confidence in its chefs’ abilities to deliver excellent food – under just about any circumstances. “This is a fun challenge for us and for them – and hopefully for our invited guests – and it gives our chefs the opportunity to showcase the amazing scope of their offerings within their restaurants, and their logistical skills in preparing delicious food against the odds, with smiles on their faces. They and their teams make us proud!”

To make a reservation, call (011) 557-7007 and to view the restaurant’s menu, go to Tsogo Sun’s portfolio includes over 90 hotels and 14 casino and entertainment destinations throughout South Africa, Africa, the Seychelles and Abu Dhabi. For further information, visit, follow on Twitter and Instagram @TsogoSun or like on Facebook /TsogoSun.

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