Cooking his way of life

2015-04-30 17:01

TEBOGO MASOPYE is an inspirational man who has never let his disability stand in his way to success.

This 28-year-old chef is paralysed in one limb, but he does not allow his situation to prevent him from achieving great things in life.

Born in Pretoria, but raised in Bloemfontein, Masopye used to hate cooking when he was still a teenager. However, today he is one of the great chefs in the country, cooking up a storm for the guests of the Protea Hotel Central in Bloemfontein.

“My mom loved cooking different kinds of food and baking. She would ask me to assist her in the kitchen with mixing and spicing. This is how my love for cooking developed,” Masopye said.

“Honestly, cooking was not my cup of tea. I didn’t know how to cook at all. All I could do was make sandwiches, fry eggs, make potato chips, cook pap and so on,” he explained.

The down-to-earth chef, who completed his diploma in Graphic Design in 2010, said that after he had developed a love for cooking, he realised that he needed to have a qualification to back his talent.

He was fortunate to get the opportunity to be part of a hospitality programme in Grahamstown in 2011, organised by the Hospitality Youth Initiative (HYI), an initiative by the Department of Sport, Arts, Culture and Recreation in partnership with the Department of Tourism.

“After completing this programme, I received a hospitality management certificate. I also received a one-year internship with a hospitality management firm where I gained valuable experience,” he said.

“During my internship, I did all the hotel duties. But, in the end, my love for cooking won,” he said.

“Immediately after I had completed my internship, I was offered a job here as an assistant chef. I was later promoted to being chef. The promotion was a very big step in my career because it opened many doors.”

Masopye specialises in hot food and his favourite dish is tuna carbonara with feta cheese.

“My passion for food is reflected in my dedication to sourcing quality ingredients for every menu.

“By using only the best seasonal produce and keeping the cooking process fresh and simple, I allow the dishes to speak for themselves,” he said.

He added that besides the basics, such as salt, pepper, onion and garlic, he always had basil, truffle oil, saffron, olive oil and Canadian maple syrup in his kitchen.

He said he would like to see himself working for one of the best hotels in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

“I like Dubai. It is a great place and has one of the best hotels in the world. I like the JW Marriott Hotel and I would like to see myself working there one day,” he said with a big smile.

So what is a typical day for Masopye in the kitchen?

“My day includes preparing the menu and staff for service, liaising with guests X which is my favourite part of the day X and planning the day with the other chefs,” he said.

“To keep up with current trends, I read a lot of recipe books and do research on the internet. I also network with other chefs.”

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Go to www.express-news.co.za to see Tebogo Masopye serving his clients

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