Here are the three culinary experts measuring up cooking skills in South Africa's first ever MasterChef series!Benny Masekwameng: Head Chef at MondoVino Restaurant, Sun Square
Benny Masekwameng is an accomplished chef who currently wears the Executive Chef's hat at MondoVino Restaurant at Sun Square in Southern Sun's Montecasino. This position is part of the incredible prize package for the first winner of MasterChef SA.
Benny grew up in Alexandra township in Johannesburg and was lured into the culinary world by his mother. She was a cleaner at a local Wimpy fast food restaurant, but started a catering business in her spare time to supply meals to workers at construction sites in the area. Benny helped out wherever he could and it is this early start in his mom's kitchen that set him off on his impressive culinary journey.
In the late 1990's Benny was educated in Catering Management at the Natal Technikon. After graduation, he was snapped up by the Hilton Hotel Group, where he spent the next seven years working his way up the ranks in the kitchen. In 2006 he joined Southern Sun and in the last five years he has advanced to the top position of Executive Chef.
Benny has represented South Africa at international food festivals in Madagascar and Jamaica, living out his passion for South African cuisine and promoting our country.
He has cooked for a variety of guests from all walks of life, from your ordinary Joe on the street, to heads of state, ministers, members of the Royal family, as well as local and international celebrities. He has been fortunate to have worked with top international chefs all over the world and believes that his training and travels have moulded him into the chef that he is today.Andrew Atkinson: Executive Chef, Michaelangelo Hotel, JHB
Andrew has represented South Africa internationally in various culinary competition arenas and has had the thrilling experience of cooking for various dignitaries and other VIPs, like our famous ‘Madiba’ (Nelson Mandela), Queen Elizabeth, Prince Phillip, Prince Charles, former US President Bill Clinton, Thabo Mbeki, UB40, Sting and Whitney Houston!
While Andrew had his own company he enjoyed the opportunity to run various large and prestigious outside catering functions, to name a few: the Presidential Inauguration; the Evelyn Mandela Funeral; the Adelaide Tambo Funeral for 17 500 people; and various sporting events, including the A1 GP for 3 years, various International and local rugby and cricket matches and a variety of large corporates.
He captained the SA National Culinary Team who competed at various competitions and SA promotions around the world. Furthermore, he has represented SA at various international competitions, namely: Zimbabwe Salon Culinaire held in Zimbabwe; Culinary Olympics in Berlin; Scothot International Culinaire in Scotland; International Salmon Grand Prix in Ireland.
Andrew has also taken part in various SA food promotions in different countries: SA Food Festival at Hotel Berlina, Berlin; SA Food Festival at Mainz Hilton in Germany; SA Food Festival at the Rio Sheraton, Brazil, for the Cape to Rio yacht race.
Over the years he has appeared on various radio and TV programs and was one of the chefs on the SA version of Ready Steady Cook.Pete Goffe-Wood: Former Head Chef, Wild Woods Restaurant, CT
Pete is the ex-owner of Wild Woods Restaurant and Contributing Editor for Men’s Health Magazine.
He played a key role in the renewal of Blues Restaurant and is the author of its newly launched book Blues – Essence of Cape Town, re-affirming the legendary status of this Camps Bay landmark. He is currently involved in developing 95 Keerom Street for Rhodes House, and is working with the Meikles Hotel group in Harare and Victoria Falls.
Pete’s most recent culinary projects include the Cape Town Chilli Fiesta, Nederburg Fashion Week, Marimba Restaurant, Winchester Mansions in Sea Point, Sérénité Wellness Constantia, the Nose Wine Bar in De Waterkant, Fancourt in George, Killimanjaro in Johannesburg and the Oasis Restaurant Group in the Sultanate of Oman.
Between makeovers of great eateries and creating daring new menus, Pete actively works to build respect for his profession as chairperson of the Western Cape Chapter of the South African Chefs Association and lecturing in Operational Management at the Institute of Culinary Arts in Stellenbosch.
Whether Pete wears his chef’s jacket, shares in the conviviality and pleasures of food and wine as a dedicated Slow Food supporter, or writes on the topic as food editor for GQ and monthly columnist for Hospitality magazine, his energetic creative approach and insight into industry issues earned him the respect of his peers.