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Q&A with Chef Trevor Boyd - SA Culinary Olympic Team Manager & Executive Chef of Michelangelo Hotel

Updated: Apr 7, 2020

Sigma Chef: Chef Trevor, you have had an illustrious career thus far and certainly many more achievements to follow. Currently, you play an intricate role within Legacy Hotels at the MichaelaAngelo Hotel a premier establishment. Over and above this you have also taken on the highly demanding position as the Manager of the South African Culinary Olympic Team, to compete in the 25th IKA Culinary Olympics in Stuttgart Germany in 2020. Could you share with us how you balance the demands of such a brutal schedule? Trevor Boyd: Balancing is a fine line. We make sure we have a calendar for the year both at work and for the Team. I will arrange all Team arrangements around my work schedule. I am fortunate enough to have good logistics management within the Team and they do plenty of work behind the scene to lessen my Team burden. At work, I have a great support structure that is totally comfortable to keep the ship afloat while I am away. Sigma Chef: Would you agree that the 25th Culinary Olympics is a significant milestone in the history of the competition and would it not be a phenomenal accomplishment for the South African team to bring home a medal on the 25th anniversary of the Culinary Olympics? Trevor Boyd: Yes 25th IKA Culinary Olympics is a huge achievement. To keep this competition alive and developing pays tribute to the competition’s directors and sponsors. We are definitely training with the aim of a Gold medal and hopefully, all the blood, sweat and tears are going to give us a fighting chance during the competition. Sigma Chef: Could you share with us what quintessential preparation is required to compete at this level? Trevor Boyd: There are so many parts to align to get this team ready. How we treat our goal this modeled around the Formula One Pit Stop model. Every person has a part to play and needs to know exactly what is expected of them. No one team member is bigger than the team. I have a vision and I believe that the Team members are in tune with that and that makes my job so much easier. Sigma Chef: You were part of the South African team that competed in the 2008 Culinary Olympic IKA Culinary Olympics, the South African team was awarded a gold medal that year. What do you feel about our chances of achieving a gold in 2020? Trevor Boyd: I believe our chances are pretty good. We have a solid vision and a solid game plan to get us to the Olympics. How we get through our training schedule over the next year will determine how well we do. I am confident in my chefs and believe they want it more than me…… Sigma Chef: How is the competition judged and have there been any changes in the judging criteria of the competition that may be advantageous and/or present new challenges for the South African team and how many countries compete in the event? Trevor Boyd: Between thirty- two (32) and thirty-six (36) nations compete at the Olympics. The judging criteria generally only changes a little year by year, however, in 2020 a whole category has changed and we will now be doing a live cooking Chef’s Table rather than the Culinary Arts Display table that seemed to waste so much food in the past. Sigma Chef: Although there have been many reality cooking television shows over the past years depicting the milieu of the high pressure, Head Chefs, Executive Chefs, and their counterparts and brigades face in executing the demands of providing exacting service on time, at high quality with consistency every time. Do you feel the true essence is conveyed in these shows or is there more to it? Many chefs health suffer after years committed to their passion due to the nature of the job, rounded shoulders, metacarpal tunneling, back, leg and foot injuries to mention a few, would you agree that the job is not for the faint-hearted? Trevor Boyd: Yes, our industry does hurt. May Chefs have suffered ill health due to the pressures of the job, but I am sure to tell you that if you ask a true chef at heart if he or she would want it any other way their answers will be NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sigma Chef: It takes a special kind of character and personality to operate in one of the toughest jobs in the world. What in your opinion are the makings of a successful Executive Chef and Leader? Trevor Boyd: Teamwork is the only trait that is needed. Yes, determination, creativity, and flair are important what you cannot execute a perfect dish without the assistance of the whole brigade. Sigma Chef: For those younger chefs and aspiring students, what tenets should they hold at the forefront of their minds in order to achieve success in the demanding world of a world-class Kitchen and what advice would you impart to the students and brigades of the future? Trevor Boyd: Be aware that the industry does not take prisoners. Be sure that this is what you want, then give it 200% for the first 10 years to gain as much knowledge and advantage over your peers as possible. Sigma Chef: Looking through the lens of someone that has been in the industry for many years, what does you’re your crystal ball tell you about the future for Culinary Students in South Africa for the future? Trevor Boyd: I see the future of the culinary student evolving dramatically. I see a different way that teaching will happen and feel that it will become a lot more hands-on and far less theoretical work. Sigma Chef: What have been the memorable highlights of your career? Trevor Boyd: Definitely putting on the Green and Gold Blazer and winning a GOLD medal at the Culinary Olympics

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