Benny Masekwameng, Executive Chef at Southern Sun SunSquare Montecasino MondoVino Restaurant, is the latest in a collection of South African celebrity chefs. He has been chosen as one of three judges for the renowned MasterChef SA reality television programme!
A genuine South African homegrown treasure, Benny was lured into the art of preparing and cooking food by his mother, who supplied meals to construction workers in Alexandra Township as an additional income. Benny believes it is this early start in his mom’s kitchen that set him off on his impressive culinary journey. After graduating in Catering Management at the Natal Technikon, Benny held various positions throughout South Africa and joined Southern Sun Hotels in 2006.
In 2009 Benny had the opportunity to work with Kenneth Ngubane when he started at the Southern Sun OR Tambo International Airport Hotel as Executive Sous Chef. Kenneth is another South African chef that found his home at Southern Sun Hotels and leads the culinary team and day to day operations at Southern Sun OR Tambo International Airport Hotel. Kenneth is known for dazzling guests in transit with his truly South African culinary delights!
Being exposed to the likes of Kenny and Arnold Stuurman, Executive Chef at the Palazzo Montecasino Hotel, Benny successfully developed his own style and flair. It was not so long ago that all the top-level chefs in South Africa were imported from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Switzerland, Italy and France. But with the support of leading hotel groups, like Southern Sun, local chefs are coming into their own now, dominating the teams in international cook-offs and winning international acclaim.
With the support from Southern Sun and acclaimed chefs like Kenny and Arnold, who had an interest in his exceptional natural talent, Benny rose to the top, in a profession where the odds were against him. His mother, who worked two jobs, taught him the stamina and creativity required to be successful and to continuously rejoice in and celebrate his heritage. “Sometimes people tell me that I am so lucky to be an executive chef, but luck has nothing to do with it. I am successful because I am true to myself, the values my mother taught me, I work hard, I love food and at Southern Sun I receive the support required to excel”, says Benny.
“Chefs are the lifeblood of Southern Sun Hotels. They delight, inspire and motivate us. We are proud to be the natural home of so many South African homegrown chefs, who with the natural flair of South Africans continues to amaze and enchant our guests with their world class culinary flair”, says Graham Wood, Managing Director at Southern Sun Hotels.
Southern Sun is wholly owned by Tsogo Sun Holdings (TSH), one of South Africa’s leading hotel, gaming and entertainment groups. Tsogo Sun Holdings currently comprises Southern Sun and Tsogo Sun Gaming.