Chef David Tsotetsi

Growing up in the small town of Heidelberg, David always had to cook for his siblings while his parents were at work. Without realizing at the time that food is going to be his future. Just after enrolling at the university to study Chemical engineering, David visited the Cape Town food and wine festival. This is where he recognized his love for food again. After only 3 months of studying engineering, he dropped out as he was convinced his passion was within the food industry. He enrolled at the Tsogo Sun Academy, and this is where everything started for David.

Working at OR Thambo International Airport, he was trained by the likes of Chef David van Staden (Tsogo Sun Exec Chef and now judge for Chopped SA), Celebrity Chef Benny Masekwameng (Tsogo Sun Exec Chef and Masterchef SA judge) and Executive Chef Kenneth Ngubane.

From there David moved on to 54 on Bath. A boutique hotel situated in the beautiful Johannesburg suburb of Rosebank. Making his way up the ranks and working closely with Exec Chefs Gerard Vingerling and Phil de Villiers, he became Chef de Partie of this exclusive 5* hotel.

Moving through the industry and building his reputation, David is now Executive Chef at Hanover Re. One of the largest reinsurance groups in the world.

All of the above-mentioned chefs, being a true mentor and helping David to become the chef he is today. They are the reason why David always tries to find ways to help young and passionate chefs, to succeed and achieve their dreams.

I asked David a few questions.

What is the one ingredient you can’t do without in your kitchen at home and at work? ‘Garlic, I can’t survive without garlic in my kitchen’

What is your go-to meal when you are low on time? ‘Pasta and Wraps’

What is the best recent food trend? ‘We have seen a rise in Gastronomy. Chefs are going in a route that is more challenging and requires one to be always on top of their game’

In your opinion, what country in the world has the best food and why? ‘I believe France has the best food in the world simply because it is influenced a lot by other cultures. Also, French cuisine is more about trying to create things that we seem to think they are impossible. Let’s not forget about the wine’

Have you cooked for a celebrity or famous figure? ‘I had the privilege of cooking for Prince Henry and Oprah Winfrey on her visit to South Africa’
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