Chef Katlego Mlambo putting new African cuisine on the world map.

Just walking to work at The Marabi Club in Jozi, Chef Katlego Mlambo know’s that he is one among several young entrepreneurs whose legacy will be the regeneration of inner city culture. 

To the kitchen at this renowned Jazz club, he brings the distinction of a man who has cooked for presidents, A-listers from Black Coffee to Beyoncé – and for him, it all goes back to the early days with his gogo.  

Read more: The Marabi Club brings 1920s South African jazz to life

Katlego grew up in a township called Eldorado Park, in a home he says was filled with amazing women. 

“My gogo is my hero, my mentor and my anchor. She was showing me the pots when I was growing up.”  

Career highlights include cooking for Cyril Ramaphosa at The World Economic Forum, cooking for Barack Obama and the Marabi Club receiving the award of African Restaurant of the Year in 2021.

This jazz club offering marks the first time that Katlego has been serving a menu that’s all his. 

This is a chef who loves being South African, taking all of our many influences, with no rules or boundaries, up-flavouring humble, traditional ingredients and thrilling everyone who comes through his door.

Our day with him culminated around with a selection of his friends who continue to celebrate  his achievements with him. 

It’s here that friend Thabiso Ndolvu comments, “The wish was to become the best person he can be, he’s fulfilling that. The wish was to become one of the best chef’s in the country because we need black chef’s to be represented – so that black chef’s coming through can feel the need to say, `actually that’s who I want to be like’.”

This is a responsibility that Katlego doesn’t take lightly. 

“For me, what’s important is to change the mindset, especially those of my fellow black brothers and sisters. Food has changed so much over the last few years, and it’s all about us revolutionising, moving forward and putting Africa on the map. I think I’d like my footprint to be,  ‘Katlego with his fellow brothers and sisters, who have actually put African cuisine on the map,” shares Katlego.



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