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HL Next Level 2019: Chef Vusumuzi Ndlovu

In today’s competitive culinary space, innovation has become a necessity – and for inspirational chef Vusumuzi Ndlovu, the future of food is in DIY.

Illustration Stacey Knipe

Vusumuzi Ndlovu | House and Leisure

Each year, House and Leisure creates a special feature that is all about up-and-coming South African creative talent. We look closely at the worlds of decor and design, and ask architects, ceramicists, product designers, artists, jewellers and photographers to tell us who we should be watching out for in their areas of work. 

Recent alumni of the Next Level list include fashion designer Rich Mnisi, photographer Zander Opperman and illustrator Karabo Poppy Moletsane, among many others. Check out the entire 2018 Next Level crew here.

The research phase of the work on this feature is followed by a discussion of precisely who we want to showcase – and why. This year, the team recognised that there has been a palpable return to the handmade recently, and so we wanted everyone who was featured to be someone who makes their pieces by hand.

From a textile designer to a jeweller and a chef, all the creatives included in 2019’s House and Leisure Next Level list do just that.

Chef Vusumuzi Ndlovu Is One Of Them

In today’s competitive culinary space, innovation has become a necessity – and for inspirational chef Vusumuzi Ndlovu, the future of food is in DIY.

Since being voted one of the top seven young chefs in the world at the 2018 SPellegrino Young Chef Awards, Ndlovu headed up The Marabi Club in Johannesburg, where his local flavours set the tone for the fledgling restaurant.

Now he’s answering the question of what’s next for South African cuisine by producing his own ingredients. ‘The idea to build a larder with “ingredients” we make ourselves was based on the fact that a lot of chefs were using similar ingredients. So I chose to experiment with fermentation and brewing, which led to an array of flavours and textures that I am very excited to use,’ he says.

Vusumuzi Ndlovu awed the judges at the Young Chef Awards with his Isicupho creation, a dish consisting of heavily smoked duck leg biltong and pumpkin fermented in umqombothi.

‘This was my proudest and most honest creation, and it took three months to get it right,’ he says. ‘Cooking is a craft as much as it is an art. We can’t create incredible dishes without first understanding the fundamentals of what we do.’  

Watch Our Video Portrait Of Vusumuzi Ndlovu Here

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