Behind the Wheel with...

Celebrity Chef Benny Masekwameng

Benny Masekwameng

I am originally from…

Alexandra township, Johannesburg.

My MasterChef judging experience has taught me…

We talk to Chef Benny Masekwameng about MasterChef, Fidel Castro and travelling

That there’s a lot of talent and passion in South Africa and that I, as judge on the show, will learn new things every day from the contestants! We’ve only just started – I’m looking forward to the seasons to come. 

The best food route to travel in South Africa is…

The Cape Winelands – the restaurants found on the wine estates really have talented chefs that use the freshest seasonal ingredients available locally and produce fabulous and very creative dishes!

The greatest place I’ve ever travelled to is…

Turkey, where I got to sample coastal and inland Turkish dishes. It ranks very high on my favourite food destination list!

The worst place I’ve ever travelled to is…

Zanzibar – I never enjoyed the food. I tried a couple of the local favourites and found nothing to write home about.

A celebrity chef will never travel without…

A chef’s jacket.

 My greatest South African adventure so far has been…

The road trip I recently took with my family. We drove 5 000km to eight cities around South Africa.

The most famous person I’ve cooked for is…

Fidel Castro. He came for a convention held in Durban. I worked with his personal chef in preparing breakfast for him for the duration of his stay, and after the first two days the chef left me to decide on the dishes because Fidel was happy with my cooking. I got a $500 tip, a box of cigars and a bottle of Havana rum (which I gave to my dad as he was a big fan of Fidel).

My favourite all-time dish to cook is…

Braised spinach with crushed nuts and chilli.

My favourite all-time dish to eat is…

Pork trotter stew with lentils and phutu pap.

All South Africans must travel to…

The Western and Eastern Cape, KZN and Mpumalanga. We have a beautiful coastline and views in SA and driving along it recently, just reminded me how beautiful our country really is.

Local places best known for their unique food offerings are…

Turn ’n Tender (Illovo) for their legendary beef ribs. Local Grill (Parktown North) for their steaks. Pigalle Restaurant (Melrose Arch) for their seafood. 54 on Bath (Rosebank) for their pork belly. Curry Court (Pietermaritzburg) for their curries and bunny chow.