MEET SOUTH AFRICA’S MOST EXCITING NEW FOODIE TALENT, KATLEGO MLAMBO
Katlego Mlambo, head chef at The Marabi Club in Johannesburg’s inner-city Maboneng Precinct, was recently honoured with the 2019 Eat Out Nederburg Rising Star Award. The coveted title forms part of the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards, which took place in Cape Town in November...
Established in 2013, the Eat Out Nederburg Rising Star honour annually goes to the most promising newcomer to South Africa’s culinary scene, identified by Eat Out’s anonymous and rigorous judging panel, led by chief judge Margot Janse. Yet again, there was intense speculation about who would win, given the incredible spate of fresh talent currently found in eateries across the country. For the first time in 2019, Eat Out released a list of nominees in the running for this award, to add to the excitement in the lead-up to the overall awards ceremony.
The other five chefs who were nominated for the 2019 Eat Out Nederburg Rising Star award were:
“Katlego is brave, doing what he believes in and focusing on African food.”
Born in Johannesburg and educated at the Silwood School of Cookery in Cape Town, Katlego’s first placement was at La Colombe, which was announced South Africa’s number one restaurant at the 2019 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards. He has also done stints at The Roundhouse (where Eat Out Top 10 restaurant Salsify is now situated) and other top culinary establishments. “I cut my teeth under the leadership of some of the country’s most talented and celebrated chefs, including Luke Dale Roberts of The Test Kitchen, and John Shuttleworth of Rust en Vrede,” he explains
Katlego then spent several years travelling the world, gaining international exposure and experience, thereby gearing himself up for the next step in his journey: spending some time in Cape Town before making his final return to Johannesburg to head up the kitchen at The Marabi Club. He says he feels in the right place right now, cooking his own style of food: “And people are enjoying it!”
Katlego knows first-hand how to survive and thrive in this intense industry: “You need to have the passion and know that it’s not what it looks like on television. It’s tough but rewarding.” Said one of Eat Out’s anonymous judges: “Katlego is brave, doing what he believes in and focusing on African food.” Another judge agreed: “He’s choosing to do a different kind of dining by creating awareness of African food.”
As for his goals in the next five years, Katlego sets the bar high for himself: “I hope to have published an award- winning cookbook, hosted a couple of cooking shows that can be viewed around the world and, of course, be running an award-winning restaurant.”