When Derick van Biljon won Season 3 of The Tastemaster SA, it marked an incredible transformation. Having grown up as a promising artist, studied film and musical theatre, then became a videographer and stylist, he definitely took the scenic route to a career in food.

Derick’s food journey began over a decade ago when he started his social media account “Foodie SA.” Through his account, he would document his recipes and share them with like-minded individuals. What started as a hobby soon became a passion as during the 2020 Covid hard lockdown, he decided to live his passion for food as a media creator.

Overtime, he became involved in food styling for the industry and in 2021, he was part of the food stylist team for a South African dark comedy mystery television series. Soon, he realised that he could fill a niche demand for video work to food creators, wine farms and lifestyle personalities alike. Although he had come a long way from art days, he did feel that he was losing creativity. 

“Food is very much like art. It’s an expression of elements coming together to form a whole, and when you step back and you can enjoy it, it’s very satisfying,” he says. For a foodie, being raised on a cane farm in KwaZulu-Natal was a blessing. A place where he was exposed to many cultures and all kinds of cooking, something that he showcased on the third season of The Taste Master SA. 

“I didn’t really think that I had it in me to do something like this [The Taste Master SA]. I’ve learned an incredible amount about myself, to trust in my abilities and also learn from other people,” explained Derick. 

“I’m not a trained chef, I’m not a professional baker. I tried to be creative and take the judges on the journey and innovate, and I think that’s what got me to the top,” he explains, “I could often feel my mother’s hand guiding me, calming me down and I think it helped. That is why I dedicated my win to my mother.”

In honour of his family, Derick decided to make us one his family’s favourite – malva pudding, from a recipe that has been passed down from Derick’s grandmother, to his mom, and now to him. Find Derick’s recipe here.

“Malva pudding is something close to my heart, it’s heritage food which is important to me culturally. It’s something my mother would make, my grandmother would make. I’m not going to change the recipe too much. Stay true to it, but will dress it up and elevated just a little bit” he says. With Derick’s talent, his friend and chef Mynhardt Joubert egged him on to enter The Taste Master SA.

“I met Derick when I started studying musical theater at Pretoria Technical and he also studied the same course. We instantly became friends,” he explains, “food was definitely one of the very first subjects that connected us and has been a driving force in our friendship ever since.”

This Taste Master’s food journey recently saw him move to Cape Town, home to his mentor and food writer, Errieda du Toit. We joined the duo as they prepared a delightful eggs benedict dish.

Having traded his paints and canvas for egg yolks, Hollandaise sauce and sourdough, Derick’s only become a finer artist and better still, these works are edible.

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