2019 Distell Inter Hotel Challenge Wine Steward Candidate: Siyabonga Mthembu

We introduce you to 2019 Distell Inter Hotel Wine Steward Candidate: Siyabonga Mthembu from The Vineyard Hotel.

My journey in the hospitality industry started at the President Hotel in 2009 where I worked as a waiter in the Islands Restaurant. In 2012 I left to pursue my private business dream of selling fish and chips. It was a success, however, I decided to return to the President Hotel in 2013 once again as a waiter. My key responsibilities were to assist the sommelier in food and wine pairings. I started at The Vineyard in October 2017 at Splash Café as a pool waiter, after the 2017/2018 season, I moved to room service where I worked as a mini bar attendant and room service waiter. In August 2018 I became a waiter at The Square Restaurant. I began working the breakfast shift first then later proceeded to late shift permanently in October 2018. I had the opportunity to work in various outlets, which gave me a holistic view of the operations within the hotel.

I believe that my extended knowledge and experience makes me a reliable asset not only for The Square Restaurant but also for the hotel. My love for expanding my knowledge about wine has led me here, for the past several years I have learnt the evolution of wine; from the grape in the vineyard to the wine in the glass. The ‘art’ incurred therein is quite amazing and I find the study of wine extremely fascinating. Furthermore, I love being able to give my guests an unforgettable experience when dining at The Square Restaurant. It is the intangible moments that create an experience for guests, and I pride myself with continuously delivering a service that is beyond expectations. 

More about The Inter Hotel Challenge
The Distell Inter Hotel Challenge aims to encourage development in the hospitality industry, giving a much-needed leg up to young talent. It is an annual challenge run by Showcook, where hotels in South Africa are matched with Distell's fine wines and spirits. Young wine stewards & chefs are nominated by their hotels and compete annually for the top spot. The candidates receive training, do cook-offs and exams to improve and test their skills and awarded at a glittering 'Oscars' event in August.