CRUSH CHATS TO Katlego Sebastian Mlambo
Top 10 finalist in the S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015 - Africa & Middle East
More than 3000 young chefs submitted their application together with their signature dish to participate to S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2015, the global scouting project to find the world’s best young chefs.
Applications were divided into 20 regions, according to the geographic area of origin, dishes were judged according to five Golden Rules: ingredients, skills, genius, beauty, message.
A fantastic seven of the Top 10 selected for Africa and Middle East, were South African chefs, and in this series we catch up with each of them.
26 year old Katlego Sebastian Mlambo is currently working at Rust en Vrede in Stellenbosch. He is a Silwood gratuate and talks to us about his entry into the competition as well as a bit more about himself.
It is an amazing achievement to have been placed in the Top Ten of this award selection – congrats! Tell us about your journey to entering…
A friend of mine mentioned the competition to me and then I noticed it on social media too. I thought to myself, why not? I have nothing to lose by entering and so much to gain if I go through to the next round. Entering competitions also gives me a chance to be creative and to have something to work towards. It’s also a chance to meet new people within the industry and maybe make some friends along the way.
Tell us about the dish that got you here…
It’s called the Cape Coast Rock Pool and is basically a South African seaside story. The dish is a reflection of the abundant seafood that we have available to us. Sea lettuce, mussels, kob, tuna and octopus are all on the plate. My goal was to show different skills and techniques as well as the individual flavours of the seafood.
Without giving too much away, do you have an idea what you will be cooking in the next round?
We have to cook the signature dish so I’ll be cooking my Cape Coast Rock Pool. The pressure is that we have a set time frame to cook and we will be out of our comfort zones by cooking in a new kitchen and the added pressure is cooking for the judges.
Chef David Higgs is the selected mentor for this group – daunting or exciting…or both?
A bit of both but I’m mostly excited and hope that I make it through to the next round because having someone of his stature be my mentor would be fantastic.
Current favourite ingredient… Plums, they are so versatile and are absolutely amazing at the moment, I especially like the yellow ones.
Kitchen tool you can’t live without… My spoon. Its always in my pocket and I love my Mandolin.
Your foodie guilty pleasure… It may sound weird, but I love burnt popcorn.
Bucket list foodie destination… A trip around the USA, I would eat at Husk in Charleston, Eleven Madison Park, Manresa, Alinea, The French Laundry, The Grace, and Benu to name just a few. If I could only choose one place then a night at Fäviken would be my ultimate destination, I’m a big fan of Magnus Nilsson.
Drink after a long, hard service… Gin and tonic. Inverroche gin with tonic, cucumber ribbons and a twist of lemon.
Funniest kitchen experience to date… When I was a commis chef and I was sent to look for a banana peeler in one of the other kitchens.
Pet peeve… A dirty sink and when someone messes salt, it just goes everywhere.
Last meal on earth… My Gogo’s pap with lamb chops and gravy.