Chef Vusi Ndlovu
Chef Vusi Ndlovu
Thursday 3 November
Vusi Ndlovu doesn’t have a romantic story of how he decided to become a chef.
“I didn’t sit with my grandmother – because ‘boys play outside’. My cousins cooked a lot, they baked. I always thought that was cool,” says Vusi.
“I saw the emotion that people who cooked food brought to the table. I thought, ‘if I can cook, I’ll be the favourite’.”
He was born in Zimbabwe but grew up in Pretoria. According to Vusi, his parents wanted him to become an engineer – being the first-born son. But after attending an open day, he vehemently decided against it.
Fresh out of high school, Vusi got a job at a hotel working on the eggs buffet. He would hang around in the kitchen after his shift waiting for his transport, and it was then that he began to be inspired and learn from other chefs. “From there it just flourished,” he says.
The Eat Out Restaurant Awards is an annual awards programme that recognises and applauds excellence in the South African restaurant industry. Vusi cooked at the 2018 awards, as one of the youngest chefs to ever do so!
“It was quite an eye-opening experience, cooking for 800 of South Africa’s top food minds,” he says. “It was a big party, but such hard work – I didn’t expect the mass, the volume of the dishes. You look up and you see rows of empty plates and you think you’ll never finish.”
Chef Vusi is returning this year to cook a first main course. “Coming back this year is a big honour. The pressure is times 10 now, to make 800 plates of a hot dish. It doesn’t matter who you are, you can’t have cold plates!”
Ranked among the top seven chefs at the global San Pellegrino Young Chef finale in 2018, Vusi’s culinary career is only on the way up.
Follow Vusi on socials:
@v4vusi / Vusi Magic-man Ndlovu