Every South African knows him as Chef Benny from Masterchef SA judging fame, but we’ll always know him as Benny Masekwameng, Executive Chef at Tsogo Sun and our very own celebrity. But aside from loving him on TV, not many people know much about him. So we sat down with everyone’s favourite chef judge and found out a few facts…
A genuine South African homegrown treasure, Benny grew up in Alexandra in Johannesburg and was lured into the culinary world by his mother who supplied meals to construction workers in Alexandra as an additional income. Benny believes it is this early start helping out in his mom’s kitchen that set him off on his impressive culinary journey.
After graduating in Catering Management at the Natal Technikon, he was appointed as a Trainee at the Hilton Hotel in Durban, where he worked for more than six years, promoted over this period. The job took him overseas regularly, to promote local food at events held at South African embassies, and it was these events that taught him ’showmanship’, in interacting with the guests. Benny held various positions throughout South Africa and joined Tsogo Sun in 2006.
Benny believes that South Africa is on par with international standards of culinary flair and quality. His signature style is to craft South Africa’s favourite dishes in an unexpected modern presentation, revolutionising the textures, whilst including the natural flavours of organic ingredients – bringing personality, culinary know-how and a dash of intrigue to the table. A proudly South African chef, he focusses on using fresh, natural ingredients procured locally.
This tastemaker is in demand by all who seek an expert view on what constitutes culinary excellence. Besides his vast daily responsibilities at Tsogo Sun, he also finds the time to serve on the panel advising Africa.com on which restaurants in Africa deserve their coveted platinum status reserved for only the top establishments and has upgraded SAA’s first and business class menus recently.
His culinary ingenuity is stimulated by his belief that food should not be clichéd, but should be appreciated for its simplicity and natural perfection.
A perfect gentleman with an easy smile, Benny is passionate about sharing his culinary knowledge.
Join us every Tuesday and Wednesday night on Mnet to watch Masterchef SA season 2, where Benny delights and surprises both contestants and audiences alike with his dashing dimples and wonderful personality.
If you could find out one thing about Benny, what would it be? Leave your questions in the comments section and we’ll select a few of our favourites and get the answers for you, straight from Benny himself.