A culinary nomad and prodigy, chef Katlego Mlambo is intent on creating a mark in the globe one plate at a time. The Eldorado Park born culinary artist educated at Cape Town’s reliable Silwood University of Cookery and has had stints in worldwide kitchens in Europe, Asia and the US.
A recipient of the 2019 Eat Out Nederburg Growing Star Award, he has honed his expertise doing work less than Luke Dale Roberts who is a single of the ideal cooks in the place. Katlego created a identify for himself as head chef at the jazz eatery, The Marabi Club in Maboneng and has two cooking displays beneath his belt.
For the younger chef, this feels like just the starting. We catch up with Katlego to speak following spot, dreams and South African cuisine.
You’re back again at Marabi Club cooking some of your signature dishes. And you are on the 2nd time of your Food items Network present, Day-to-day Wow. In which do we uncover you mentally at the instant?
I’m in this kind of a wonderful house. A ton of chefs went by way of a dim patch due to the fact of COVID. But we experienced to regroup and dig deep. The a single thing I have observed is my groove. COVID gave me time to believe about the variety of chef I want to grow to be. I’m in my factor now with the next period of Day to day Wow. The food stuff is more chilled but nevertheless has that good dining system and finesse. It’s nonetheless me turning everyday foodstuff into one thing amazing.
I’m experiencing being back again at Marabi Club, which I contemplate my first adore. I’m very grateful that the co-proprietor Dale de Ruig and I have retained this romance and that he has offered me complete carte blanche to cook the food I enjoy cooking. It feels good to be again and working with a new crew. What is been worthwhile has been viewing the progress. And I’m completely ready for the subsequent chapter.
This would be London?
Yes, in truth. And the reason for that is basically growth. I have worked with wonderful cooks and one of my mates, Patrick Williams is generating some amazingly delicious foodstuff in London. I like South Africa, but I do really feel that for me to be the chef I want to be, I require to have that abroad practical experience. I have labored overseas in this article and there, but I really don’t feel I have absent to these establishments as a head chef. I will be getting up the placement of head chef at Kudu restaurant in London.
Why London exclusively?
I like London. The explanation it is so shut to my coronary heart is that it was my 1st abroad come upon. I’m a enthusiast of a great deal of British chefs, food stuff and programmes. I have lived in New York and it is quick-paced. But I like to imagine of London as a mini New York. I love the distinctive influences there like Jamaican and the deliver that they have there.
The chance to do the job with 1 of the good up-coming chefs in the Uk and to be portion of his team is rather humbling for me. The other cause for picking out London is for the reason that it is shut to Europe. When I get a little bit of a break, I have bought the enjoyment of heading to Italy or Spain and taking in at other Michelin star eating places to retain stimulating and expanding my brain.
How has travel contributed to your cooking ethos?
As cooks, we steal with our eyes. You consider what you acquire and make it your own. Obtaining lived in Thailand for a bit, a good deal of my cooking is influenced by South East Asian components. We use the phrase fusion a large amount, but it is central to earning tasty and attention-grabbing meals.
What do you appreciate about the food you make?
The food stuff I make is proudly South African. What I appreciate about that is that South African delicacies are unable to be boxed. We have so quite a few influences and cultures – from the Cape Malay, the Tsongas, Sothos, to the Afrikaans, Zulus and Indians. That is what will make our foods so exclusive. You just cannot connect a solitary flavour profile to it. My food items is about the balance, the texture, the sweetness, spiciness, sourness, and bitterness. It’s a entire umami explosion in your mouth. There are some classical flavours that you don’t want to mess with, but I think food wants to be fun. We have moved absent from South African food stuff staying boring, that all it is affiliated with is pap and amasi. We have some awesome make in South Africa to participate in with.
My head is frequently contemplating and I dream rather a bit. I have a notebook future to my bed and in some cases I generate down the issues that I see in my dreams. In some scenarios, the dishes the up coming working day appear out 110% as first-time miracles. And in some cases it is again to the drawing board. My food is interesting, naughty, tasty and cheeky like myself.
What desires do you even now have for your self?
Owning two seasons of a tv cooking clearly show is nevertheless brain-blowing. It humbles me each day. I nevertheless want to have a restaurant just one working day. I’ll say this now since I breathe it and I see it: the working day Michelin arrives in South Africa, I’ll be the 1st black chef to have a Michelin star. I do feel in that. I would like to have a cooking show with Jamie Oliver. I imagine we would have very good banter. The next point is a cookbook which is presently in the operates. It is about my existence, my story with a selection of my favorite recipes.
When do you start in London?
We’re at present finalizing travel requirements to get me established up in the Uk, points like an English test and a TB examination. I really should get commenced all over July 2022.