He was already a success story, as the vocalist of Mi Casa, when his passion for cooking invited “this wonderful chaos” into his life.
Reflecting on his journey, J’Something says: “About three years ago all I wanted to do was cook at home. Cooking was a relaxing thing. It started as a hobby because music, for me, was a bit hectic. I posted a picture on Instagram and that’s when everything changed: Something’s Cooking (on Mzansi Magic) and What’s for Dinner (on SABC3) popped up.”
That’s aside from him being asked to host demos, headline at the Good Food & Wine Festival and more.
And he took things a step further when he opened Something’s Cooking by J at Time Square in Pretoria.
A little emotional thinking about the strides he’s made so far, he says, “Being a restaurateur and having my own restaurant, what a dream, what a crazy journey! The rush is phenomenal. Three years ago, all I wanted to do was cook, now I have all these blessings.
“Opening a restaurant is not only an incredible brand extension for me and a dream come true, it’s allowed me to employ over 50 people.”
He laughs. “I thought dealing with Mi Casa was hard.
“I feel really grateful and, at the same time, weirded out. All of this started as a passion and now it’s just exploded!”
J’Something also constantly gives thanks to every person who encouraged him to follow through on this culinary journey.
A book is in the pipeline, but don’t go looking for something conventional. It’s still very much a work in progress at the moment.
“I’ve been asked about a book so many times and, yes, it’s coming. But I’ve no idea when.
“I’m constantly learning about food. I’m not a chef, I’m just a dude who likes cooking. When I did my first draft of a cookbook, it was Sunday roast. Now it’s Sunday roast with jus - it keeps evolving.
“Hopefully, I will have a cookbook soon. But not in that traditional form that everybody knows. I want to try to do things differently.”
As for what can be expected of him at the festival, he says: “I’m not a bragger, but I think I brought a whole new level of entertainment to the food world. What you can expect is food and music. I’m going to be prepping some of my favourite dishes, including stuff from the restaurant. And I’m going to have a guitar on stage and I will be singing. It’s going to be a whole bunch of fun. I want people to learn to make some good food and have a good time making it.”
Even at home, music is a crucial ingredient in his creative process.
“I love instrumental music in the kitchen! That, for me, makes for great cooking. And, the answer you really wanted (referring to a question on his kitchen must-haves) is olive oil, garlic, chilli, soy sauce, honey and ginger.”
Although his influences come from his Portuguese upbringing and his love for blending cultures, he also believes in “story-based cooking”.
J’Something says: “I’m a home cook. I will cook from a recipe book, something I find on Google, one of my mum’s dishes or whatever I have in the pantry that can work.
“I’m a firm believer in attaching a story to my food because it is personal.”
Hinting at what’s to come on My Kitchen Rules SA, he reveals: “It is food with drama. It might sound weird, but imagine MasterChef men with the Kardashians.
“I’ve never been so excited about a show before - that’s why I’m doing this.”
And the heat, I believe, isn’t only coming from the kitchen. Let’s just say, everybody believes themselves to be a MasterChef quality judge/food critic on the show.