Dining Out, People of Joburg

Chef of the month: Trevor Boyd

Jan 10, 2019, Author: Candice May

He started off as a ‘rough diamond’ that was polished under the guidance of Garth Strobel at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town. Today, he heads up the National Culinary Team of South Africa who will be participating in the IKA Culinary Olympics in 2020. Meet the Michelangelo Hotel’s executive chef, Trevor Boyd. 

Chef Trevor’s story of why he decided to become a chef is decidedly clichéd. “Being the youngest in my family, I spent most of my time at home in the kitchen with my mother, who spent hours on end cooking for our large family. My love for the kitchen developed in those early years,” he says. He attended WITS Technikon, where he completed a National Diploma in Catering Management. “I loved that I was finally learning about something that interested me. I did really well at hotel school, whereas I performed poorly in high school,” he laughs. 


However, Trevor’s culinary style today is anything but clichéd. He’s worked his way up the ranks, from a trainee to an executive chef, to get to where he is now. Trevor says his first real influence was Garth Strobel, who afforded him the privilege to work for him at the Mount Nelson Hotel in the Cape. “He was the polish on a rough diamond that he’d found,” he says. In his culinary competition world, Trevor says Garth Shnier, the Sandton Sun’s executive chef, has been his all-time pillar of strength, motivation and discipline. “I’ll forever be indebted to both these great men.”  

While he doesn’t really have a favourite cuisine, Trevor says what he truly appreciates is wholesome, uncomplicated food. “I believe I can cook any cuisine, but South African food and flavours are close to my heart and I love that I know how to cook food from my own country,” he says. That being said, he does have a best-loved summertime dish – dukkah-spiced Mauritian sea bass with textures of apple and citrus aioli. “It’s the perfect balance of protein and fruit on a plate – fresh, healthy and light.” His wine of choice is the KWV The Mentors Grenache Blanc – a refreshing sip with aromas of orange peel, mandarin and Granny Smith apples.   


At the Michelangelo Hotel’s Piccolo Mondo fine-dining restaurant, all menus start and end with Trevor, but in-between, the exciting development takes place. “All staff members are given the opportunity to be involved and to strategise, but I approve all recipes and costs,” he explains. Trevor currently has about 36 employees who report to him and firmly believes that there’s power within a team and that it’s vital to have a good understanding between back-of-the-house and front-of-the-house operations. In his opinion, the key to achieving this is maintaining a good sense of humour. “That’s the most important aspect to my day – if you can’t laugh at yourself, those around you and difficult situations, you’ll always struggle through the bad times.” 


When Trevor isn’t cooking up a storm, he’s kicking back with his beagle puppy AKA his ‘little devil’, Nutmeg. He always enjoys watching a good Liverpool game and entertaining friends and family. The more people he has to cater for, the better! 

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