The judging of 169 entries for the Koeksister competition took place in the board room at The South African Chefs Association offices on Friday 22 May. All entries were judged according to their specifications on the entry forms or if none were mentioned, at room temperature.
Elsu Gericke - SACA judge
Ita Geyser - SACA judge
Edward Clegg - WACS accredited Judge
George Georgiou - WACS accredited Judge
Seline van der Wat - Runner-up in SA Masterchef 2014
All entries were marked with a number and the entries were attached to ensure that the judges saw the description of each entry.
The judging commenced at 9am and was concluded at 3:20pm. The entries were judged using the following criteria:
Appearance: Packaging was taken into account but more importantly the appearance of the product, neatly braided or twisted, golden brown in colour, not too pale or too dark.
Syrup: Clarity, smoothness and quantity was judged. Not too much or too little resulting in a dry koeksister.
Taste: Most points were awarded for taste. Balance in flavours and sweetness. No overpowering flavours present.
Texture: Balance in texture, not too hard or too soft but elements of both textures were desired.
Innovation and Creativity: Judges awarded points for any innovation or creativity shown with the koeksister, may it be in added flavours, presentation, appearance, etc.
Working down to a final four entries from the 169 that was received was an incredibly difficult task due to the high standards of entries.
The judges were all very impressed by the quality. It was evident that a lot of thought and hard work went into the preparation of each of the entries. There was a good variety of flavours and techniques and a lot of experimentation which shows creativity.
Certain common mistakes were noted though, like not using fresh oil which left some koeksisters smelling of old oil. Some were a little overcooked and in some the sugar had crystallised.
The judges took into consideration that there was a delay in preparation and tasting and that the products needed to be couriered.
In the end the top four entries selected stood out from the rest and all the judges unanimously agreed that they deserved to be chosen.
If the standard of 2015 is anything to go by, we are very excited to taste what 2016 will bring.
South African Chefs Association