The ‘Gourmet Bushie’ takes on the Big Apple
Celebrity chef Sherwyn Weaich is off to represent SA at the New York Times International Tourism Convention
Celebrity television chef Sherwyn Weaich has remained true to his Durban roots. Weaich’s love for his city is often reflected in the gastronomic delights he conjures in his kitchen, from curries to dombolo, a traditional dumpling. The 29-year-old, who appeared on television shows like Master Chef South Africa and The Ultimate Braai Master, wears many hats including that of cookbook author and creator of signature events. Weaich unpacks his love for good food, ahead of his appearance at the New York Times International Tourism Convention this week.
Where does your passion for food stem from?
So many people have asked me, why I chose this path in the kitchen? My answer remains the same: I did not choose this path, I grew up in a home surrounded by food and it is a part of who I am. So in essence, it chose me. I grew up in a home filled with family and fun and laughter. So it goes without saying that food was always on our mind. From vetkoek to dombolo, I’ve had it all.
Name two people who have inspired you?
This might seem like a simple question but it’s not. I don’t have just two and there are so many. However, my grandmothers have both have motivated and pushed me, guided me and taught me. One is the curry queen and coming from Durban I was able to learn how to blend flavours and spices because, as we know, Durban is the spice capital of Africa. The other granny taught me my baking ... from bread to cakes and puddings. She learnt from her dad, my great-grandfather who was the first non-white executive chef at the former Edward Hotel on the Durban beachfront.
The first dish you prepared?
It was terrible, I was about six years old and it was my parents’ anniversary. My cousin and I tried being creative ... Let’s just say we ended up eating take-out that night and we ended up cleaning, the walls, floor and ceiling. It was a disaster. What I did learn though was what not to do the next time because most of all I had fun, even though the food was not suitable for human consumption.
Tell us about your brand The Gourmet Bushie?
I started my brand after my travels across Southern Africa and it was in the Namib desert after dune surfing that it dawned on me. South Africa has a history of diverse cooking and cooking over an open flame. By creating The Gourmet Bushie I was able to not just cook good food but create an experience for people. So any dish that I showcase in a kitchen I can show you step by step over an open fire. That’s what my brand is about,creating experiences through food and with food.
You will be representing SA at the New York Times International Tourism Convention this week. Will you be promoting Durban as a foodie destination?
I will be showcasing South African and Durban food trends, speaking about local hot spots, and what to expect. While I’m in New York, best believe, I will leave a few New Yorkers with a bit of an education, having taught them how to vosho and gwara gwara (local dance moves) in the kitchen while cooking because its not just about the food but the true South African experience.