Vusumzi Ndlovo says it's ok to be different. Picture: Supplied

The culinary world can be an intimidating place for any young chef. 

With some of the biggest names coming out of the smallest kitchens, local young chefs are blazing the trail across the country and in kitchens around the world. 

26 Year old self-taught chef Vusumzi Ndlovu recently competed in the S. Pellegrino Young Chef competition in Milan. 

He was the only African to show off his cooking skills on the world stage and that in itself is a great achievement.

Vusumzi is the head chef at Johannesburg’s Marabi jazz club, and says the long hours and sacrifices are some of biggest challenges faced by young chefs. 

“From my personal experiences the grueling hours and sacrifice that needs to be made is a big struggle for young chefs these days,” he says.

“Many young chefs want to be superstars. 

“All dreams are valid, yes, but you have to work harder than you think and that scares them a lot, hence you see a lot of talented guys fizzle out.”

“Personally I faced a lot of different challenges.

“I tried so hard to be seen and fit in, kitchens can be cliquey so naturally you want to be in the clique. 

“That was a big one for me.”

Vusumzi has been fortunate to travel and work in kitchens around the world and through his own experiences, he wants to encourage other youngsters to dream big. 

“I’m done being quiet in my corner and I am doing things and achieve things that I was told u could never achieve,” he says.

“I’m trying to show people that it’s ok to be weird, it’s ok not to fit in or be liked by everyone.

“My success so far has attracted a lot young chefs that are asking for insight into our process.

“I hope I’m (encouraging) young chefs to dream beyond their horizons.”