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The people of South Africa have enjoyed a creative relationship with food ever since Cape Town was nothing more than a vegetable garden for ships following the spice route. Almost 400 years later, the country’s culinary traditions are bigger, brighter, and more exciting than ever before – and that is partly due to the efforts of its world-class chefs.

South Africans are making their mark in the food industry around the world, and it would be impossible to sing all of their praises. Instead, we have chosen to highlight 5 chefs who definitely are worthy of all the attention they have been getting.

Chef Siya Kobo

Siya Kobo of Kobo Cuisine in Johannesburg’s trendy Maboneng Precinct has come a long way since his childhood in the rural Eastern Cape province. He learned to cook by watching his family and friends. After starting work as a waiter, Kobo eventually moved to the restaurant’s kitchen, where he prepared meals.

From there, Kobo volunteered at a hotel in a bid to learn more about food preparation. He was eventually offered a job. He put his fledgling skills to the test by entering cooking competitions, and eventually moved to various hotels, before opening his own restaurant.

Chef Adriaan Maree

The head chef at Forum Homini restaurant Roots, chef Adriaan Maree previously did wonderful things at Rust en Vrede, and he learned a thing or two working under Claude Bosi at London’s Michelin-starred Hibiscus restaurant.

The talented chef believes in using simple, local, fresh ingredients in powerful flavour combinations. This means diners can look forward to a new menu on an almost monthly basis, which must be as exciting as playing real money Bingo online.

Siba Mtongana

One of South Africa’s favourite celebrity cooks, Siba Mtongana is a familiar face to viewers in more than 135 countries, thanks to her cooking show, Siba’s Table. After growing up in Mdantsane, East London, in the Eastern Cape, Mtongana studied food and consumer sciences, majoring in food sciences and nutrition.

Mtongana, who has worked as a model and as a food editor for a magazine, is famous for taking family favourite recipes and reinventing them with an exciting modern twist.

Chef Minette Smith

Chef Minette Smith is a wonder in the kitchen, but her special talent is for confectionery and pastry. Before being appointed to her current position, Smith worked under respected chefs at the Saxon Hotel’s Five Hundred Restaurant, as well as at Rust en Vrede and at the Orient’s Restaurant Mosaic.

Smith is no stranger to representing South Africa in illustrious competitions abroad. She is currently head chef at the Chocolate Academy Centre.

Chef Jan van der Westhuizen

South African chef Jan van der Westhuizen is owner and head chef of Jan In Nice, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Nice, France. Van der Westhuizen’s restaurant is renowned for South African cuisine to which the chef has added a bit of French flair.

Van der Westhuizen has authored two cookery books. The first was the French Affair. It was followed by Jan – A Breath of French Air.

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