Meet Chef Vusumuzi Ndlovu who took home the kudos for being one of the top 7 in this year’s S.Pellegrino Young Chef 2018 Awards…
He realised that he had a calling for the kitchen 15 years ago when he bagged his first job in the hospitality industry at a boutique hotel in the Drakensberg. Today, chef Blake Anderson holds the position of Complex Executive Chef at Montecasino and has over 70 employees who report to him. We get to know him a bit better, from his passion for Mediterranean cooking to his favourite inner-city hangouts in Jozi.
Chef Blake Anderson has always been intrigued by the wild and wonderful world of hospitality. After completing an Advanced Diploma in Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts at AHLA, he started working at Moorcroft Manor Boutique Country Hotel in the Southern Drakensberg. It was here that he realised he “didn’t know enough”, and so he went on to complete a Diploma in Professional Cooking at both Prue Leith Chefs Academy and HTA School of Culinary Art. “The long hours and pressure as a junior are tough. It takes years to understand this industry and why we keep returning for more every day,” Blake says.
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Blake has previously held back-of-house positions at fine-dining restaurants around the country, such as commis chef at Myoga and Ginja in the Cape, and head chef at Attic here in Parkhurst (which has since closed down). He was also head chef of Food on the Move, a food delivery service catering to the film industry. In his current position, Blake offers a variety of cuisines at the Tsogo Sun-owned restaurants at Montecasino. “SIXTY° Liquid Lounge offers tapas and sharing food with a modern twist and hints of South African culture, while Billy G caters to a diverse market – think cuisine with influences from SA, Asia, India and Italy,” he explains. Of course, he has his own firm favourites on each menu: the beer-battered fish with rustic fries and mushy pea puree at 3SIXTY°, and the slow-braised pork belly in soy sauce and honey at Billy G.
READ MORE ON FOOD AND DRINK HERE.
Having trained at Cape Wine Academy twice, Blake also knows his wines. His personal favourites are reds from Rupert & Rothschild, Lanzerac and Moreson estates in the Franschhoek region – especially the Rupert & Rothschild Bordeaux Blend 2013 when he can get his hands on the vintage bottle. His favourite cuisine to both cook and eat is Mediterranean, from Israeli shakshuka and Greek baklava to Neapolitan pizza. “This cuisine allows me to introduce so many different flavours to one dish – it brings a sense of family and just good, wholesome food.”
READ MORE ON OUR TOP 5 HERE.
When he has a day off, Blake enjoys spending time in the great outdoors – he’s a trail running enthusiast – or spending quality time with his wife. You might catch him at one of his favourite places in Jozi, like Hell’s Kitchen, Good Luck Bar or Beerhouse.
If you plan on spoiling that special someone with a home-cooked meal this Valentine’s Day, Blake suggests keeping it simple and not overcomplicating the flavours. “Stick to one or two flavours and make those the heroes. Also, use quality ingredients.” His fool-proof decadent dishes in the summertime are a cold prawn and mussel starter, slow-braised pork belly with a Thai papaya salad, and Greek yoghurt with summer berry ice cream. Et voilà!
Candice, the Editor of Hello Joburg Magazine, is a coffee-drinking, fashion-obsessed lover of anything and everything lifestyle related. She’s also a self-confessed foodie, champagne enthusiast and devoted bargain hunter.