The Queen Victoria Hotel is eagerly anticipating November 28 when the winners of the 2023 Inter Hotel Challenge will be announced. The V&A Waterfront-based hotel, which forms part of the Newmark Hotels & Reserves portfolio, is supporting a team of two young employees that are competing in this nationwide hospitality challenge.
Now in its 11th year, the Inter Hotel Challenge offers an extensive training programme and competition that aims to fast-track skills in the hotel and restaurant service industries. It aims to ignite the careers of its young South African participants.
The 2023 challenge, which commenced in August, has included orientations, barista workshops and practical mentoring excursions to various wineries and distilleries in the Cape. The practical and theoretical syllabus has been designed by Jean-Vincent Ridon of the Sommeliers’ Academy together with representatives from the Cape Wine Academy.
The Queen Victoria Hotel duo participating in the Inter Hotel Challenge are Dylan Hendricks and Ashley Klassen.
Hendricks initially joined Newmark Hotels & Reserves as an intern at The Victoria & Alfred Hotel in September 2022. At the time, he was fresh out of college having just completed his Diploma in Hospitality at the College of Cape Town. Executive Chef Terrence Ford, who oversees the food and beverage offerings at Newmark’s Waterfront cluster hotels, noted Hendricks’ potential and hired him soon afterwards as a Commis Chef at the five-star Queen Victoria Hotel.
At the challenge, Hendricks competed in the category of Commis Chef.
Klassen joined The Queen Victoria Hotel as a waiter in February this year. Jason Le Fleur, the hotel’s resident Manager, noted Klassen’s rapport with guests when he worked as an outsourced waiter at an evening function. Le Fleur contacted Klassen shortly afterwards asking him to join the restaurant team. His easy and personable manner set him apart and he was soon also serving at the hotel’s high-end sister property, Dock House Boutique Hotel.
He is competing in the category of Wine Steward and has achieved 94.8% for his Inter Hotel Challenge Sommelier Academy exam.
For the cook off, which took place at Capsicum Hotel School in Cape Town during October, the Queen Victoria Hotel team designed a bespoke food and wine menu which incorporated many of the ingredients supplied by the Inter Hotel Challenge’s sponsors.
“At Newmark we are passionate about our people and invest heavily in training and development as well as internal promotions. Dylan and Ashley’s passion and enthusiasm is always evident, and we wish them the best of luck in the upcoming challenge,” said GM of Newmark V&A Waterfront Hotels, Matthew Smith.