On the eve of the opening match of the FIFA World Cup, I attended a private screening of the Russia vs. Saudi Arabia match hosted by DStv in Sandhurst, Johannesburg.
Chef Lentswe, host of the popular Africa on a Plate TV series, was commissioned to curate a dining experience for the evening’s guests, which included celebrities Nomzamo Mbatha, Kwesta and Somizi.
I had a chat with him in the kitchen as him and his team went about preparing an explosive culinary experience for guests.
“So today I was asked to do a menu that celebrates not only South Africa, but also Russia because obviously the World Cup is in Russia. So we have a menu of two select items that are Russian, and the main one I want to talk about is the borscht soup. When I was doing my research I found that if you want to call one thing authentically Russian, borscht soup is really out there. It’s a soup of loads of beetroots cooked with loads of vegetables. We’ve just tweaked it a little bit by adding some beef to it that‘ll add some nyama (meat) factor to it.”
One of the South African dishes on the menu he’s very proud of is the samp. “How we normally cook it is you boil the hell out of it and you add some roasted bones later on to get that sauciness. I think with my being a professional chef, there needs to be a level of ‘what am I doing to uplift the meal?’. The best way I thought about doing how do I uplift it is comparing it to risotto - I love risotto.”