In Conversation: What The Chefs Eat

The sweet mixture of caramelised dough and the satisfying crunch of a Belgian waffle. The thin yet fluffy crust of an authentic Italian pizza, loaded with a freshly cooked sauce made from local Italian tomatoes perfectly seasoned with the right mix of herbs. The perfect balance of cooked mince enrobed in deep-fried dough that makes a South African vetkoek. 

No matter where your travels take you, locally or abroad, the food you consume on your journey is often the most memorable part of any trip. This is why large hotel and resort franchises spend considerable time on their restaurant menus, ensuring their guests are able to experience a taste of the city or region the hotel is located in. Chefs at these hotels spend hours crafting the perfect recipes, adding their own unique touches to the restaurant concepts to take their guests on a flavour-filled journey in just a few bites. 

We tapped the chefs of three Radisson Hotels restaurants in South Africa to provide us with an insider’s view of where they get their inspiration from and what it takes for a dish to go from concept to menu.

Chefs take people on incredible journeys with the food they create – and inspiration is everywhere!

My passion and love for food inspire me. I was not fortunate enough to taste everything I wished to while growing up but now that I am a chef, it’s different. I’m able to play around and mix ingredients – and bring taste to life! I’m not afraid to experiment with new ingredients and flavours. – Chef Keletso Molaotse, Park Inn by Radisson Polokwane

The key to developing a dish can be found in seasonal ingredients and trends…

When developing a dish my starting point is always the availability and cost of ingredients. – Chef Keletso Molaotse

For me, it’s important that the ingredients of that dish are the star and focus point. Trends also help push me in a direction for specific seasons. – Chef Norman Heath, Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, Cape Town

Sometimes, opposing flavours make for the most successful dishes

I’m super proud of my smoked snoek and banana maki dish, with wasabi elements and a soy-sauce gel. This dish has stuck with me for more than 10 years and it never gets old. The flavour combinations just work! – Chef Norman Heath

I’m especially fond of my minty chocolate brownies with homemade vanilla ice cream, tulip biscuit and berry compote. It’s one of the top-selling desserts on the menu as people really enjoy the mint and rich chocolate flavours. – Chef Keletso Molaotse

Fish – salmon or tuna! – is always a hit

My seared tuna dish has been my most successful. It’s simple but packed with freshness and flavour. – Chef Norman Heath

My most successful dish is definitely the grilled wasabi and pink ginger salmon. –  Chef Genghis San, Radisson RED Rosebank, Johannesburg 

Food can be works of art, too – and can take months, if not years, to perfect

The dish that took the longest time to develop is our fennel fish sausage served at Tobago’s at Radisson Blu Waterfront. I worked on this dish for a year before it fully came together. – Chef Norman Heath

My tomato art dish is definitely the one that took the longest to perfect. It consists of beefsteak tomato stuffed with goat’s cheese, thyme and chives and accompanied by a spicy tomato tart, tomato jelly, bocconcini mozzarella and basil on olive oil and Parmigiano. – Chef Genghis San

A chef’s personal favourite meal is usually the most simple of dishes

Being from Durban, I love hot, spicy food so curry is always top of my list when cooking for myself. – Chef Norman Heath 

When I cook for myself, it’s mostly pasta and seafood – it’s the simple things! – Chef Keletso Molaotse

It really depends on my mood and what I’m craving on a particular day. One dish I eat at a minimum once every two weeks is boiled chicken with a light consommé of greens, rice noodles and a spicy soy dipping sauce. – Chef Genghis San

A memorable dish is defined by…

Flavour! – Chef Genghis San

It’s all about taste. Most often, you’ll know my dishes by their strange flavour combinations. – Chef Norman Heath

Exploring and playing around with different flavours. – Chef Keletso Molaotse

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