“I was pretty much raised in the industry,” says Bertus Basson, who started cooking at the age of 17. Two years later, he moved to London to work at the Michelin-starred Chez Bruce restaurant.
He describes the three years he spent in the kitchen of chef and owner Bruce Poole as a life-changing time, where he learned to respect fresh ingredients.
After returning to South Africa, Basson opened All Things Culinary, acatering service with chef Craig Cormack. But 2007 was the year his career really tookoff: he competed in the Bocuse d’Or world chef championship and was named Unilever Chef of the Year.
He also opened his first restaurant, Overture, at Hidden Valley wine estate in Stellenbosch, in October of that year. Overture placed in the top 10 of the Eat Out Awards for seven consecutive years.
His second venture, Bertus Basson at Spice Route, in Paarl, opened in 2015. Both establishments pay homage to the traditional South African meals and flavours that Basson grew up eating.
He has judged four seasons of Ultimate Braai Master, the South African reality cooking show aired in 22 countries, and continues to serve braai-inspired food at functions and food markets through his popular food truck.
Find Bertus on Twitter: @BassonBertus