Masego Molebatsi is the chef de partie at Silvan Safari. She told as any secrets in the african cuisine. 


You currently work as Chef de Partie at Silvan Safari, with many years of experiences in South Africas culinary world. Tell us about how you got started as a chef. Why did you decide on cooking professionally?

I started getting in the cooking industry, in high school when I choice to hospitality studies as one of my subject. It was there when I decided to take it, on as a profession and I fell in love with it ever since.


Which culinary school did you attend?

I attended at South African Chefs Training and Innovation Academy.


What will you never forget about your first year as a chef?

My first year as a chef, I realized that I choice a career and not a job.


Every career starts with hard moments when you think about giving up. Were there such moments in your career, and how did you overcome them?

I don’t remember wanting to give up my career as a chef. Whenever I had issues at work, I’d voice it to my supervisors, if they couldn’t help and things got harder, you try get yourself out the situation. But if no one can help, best permanently get yourself out the situation.


What is the best part of being a chef?

The best part of being a chef, is your mother cant tell you to stop playing with your food.


What is the most difficult aspect to be a professional chef?

The most difficult aspect of being a chef is, satisfying everyone’s taste buds, that eat your food. And having a mental blockage, when you you’ve worked long hours everyday and you have to come up with new ideas and flavours.



How are chefs considered in South Africa society in the past and how does it differ to the current situation?

With the diverse cultures South Africa has, our cuisines extraordinary because all cultures bring their own unique flavours; textures; soul; that have the power to bring people together.


Modern South African cuisine, what does it mean for you?

Modern South African cuisine means, taking what our grandparents raised us with and combining that with what we learn from other cultures.


How would you describe your own culinary style today?

I can´t say I’ve mastered any specific cuisine, because I know there’s a lot to learn from each and every cuisine out there.


You are still very young in the culinary industry and you are always looking for growth. What are your targets/ dreams?

My target is to be able to help majority of the youth to learn, to eat a lot healthier, so they able to live longer and avoid a lot of illnesses that awaken a short period of life. I dream of being a nutritionist chef.



What are some of the lesser known spices and vegetables you use?

In South African you go to Soweto and you find authentic flavours and food, I grew up eating, at Durban you find food combination of the Zulu and Indian people. You go to all provinces South Africa has and each province has its own unique thing to offer.



What does work mean for you?

Work means growth, providing and learning.


As a chef, you never stop learning: Curse or blessing?

It’s a blessing to be able to learn something new.




Healthy nutrition and an understanding of our food; should start at a young age and be established as a school subject. Are there any initial tendencies/approaches in South Africa?

We are taught about nutrition and how to consider, the next persons beliefs.


The kitchen has become so international and is always bringing new trends, themes… to the fore. Hand on heart; how do you always get along as a chef with this?

We try by all means, to get along, because each and every chef has something new/old to offer on the plate. Which allows everyone to learn from each other.


What motto do you have for your work as a chef?

My motto would be, food is love.


What situations have helped you the most in your development as a chef?

The allowance from my snr chefs, to work in all departments has helped me grow even more in my career.


What do you do if you want to treat yourself to something special to eat?

Recreating leftovers.


What is one of your favourite local street food/ simple outside eat dish/place in Johannesburg?

I’m not a big fan fast food, so I cant say I have a favourite.


What would you do as a chef if money were not an issue for one year?

I would travel around the world, on a food journey, try as many different cuisines out there.


What do people often misunderstand about the job of a chef?

What people misunderstand about chefs is, what they see on television is what happens, in an actual kitchen.



Any place in the world you would like to work as chef one day?

Working on a cruise ship is one place I’d like to work at.


If you would have the time to write a cookbook, what would it be about?

My cookbook would focus on our everyday food, but on a healthier level.


Thank you Masego!


What is your plan for your future as a chef?
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