Celebrated chef and cookbook author Lentswe Bhengu dies of illness

Lentswe Bhengu. Picture: Lentswe Bhengu Instagram

Lentswe Bhengu. Picture: Lentswe Bhengu Instagram

Published Mar 1, 2023


Celebrity chef, cookbook author and television personality Lentswe Bhengu has died.

The official Instagram page of Bhengu announced that he died on Tuesday after suffering a short illness.

“It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the untimely passing of our beloved son and brother Lentswe Bhengu-Mafoko, fondly known to the media and his culinary family as Chef Lentswe.

“Lentswe had the misfortune of suffering a short illness and succumbed last night, 28th of February 2023 at Sandton Medi-Clinic.

“The Mafoko and Bhengu families welcome your prayers and request some time to privately mourn the passing of our beloved son,” the family said in a statement.

The news came as a surprise to his followers and industry friends.

“What (sad face emoji) pls say it’s a prank pls pls pls”, said Zanele van Zyl aka Cooking With Zanele on social media.

“There’s no way!” exclaimed Moshe Ndiki.

“This is heartbreaking,” commented Linda Majola.

Born and raised in KwaZulu-Natal, Bhengu always expressed a keen interest in food and dining. He had been cooking since he was 8 years old, following his mother around the kitchen.

In 2010, Bhengu exchanged his suit and tie for a chef jacket when he enrolled at the prestigious Culinary Academy in the Cape Winelands.

After graduating, he quickly made a name for himself in the culinary scene, whipping up memorable creations in the kitchens of some of the finest restaurants.

Pretty soon, his talent and passion for cooking opened new doors, one of which saw him embark on a journey to uncover the different tastes of Africa.

Bhengu was a food festival, event and expo regular and has had some of his work commissioned abroad.

Details of his memorial and funeral will be communicated in due time.