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Kitchen Vibes With William Lehong

Media personality William Lehong is the proud co-owner of Kitchen Vibes Restaurant in Morningside. We had a chat to him about his love of the African food scene.

You’re a media professional, what attracted you to the restaurant business?

I’ve always had a love of food. My mom cooks the best “Jeqe”, she has her own special recipe and measures everything by hand and just watching her cook and seeing the heart and passion she put into her dishes is what made me fall in love with food.

Now, it just so happens that the universe has pulled me towards another foodie and a really good cook. My job on the morning show also sees me in the kitchen talking about food every day so getting into the industry wasn’t a stretch for me.

What inspires you?

I’ve found that the most extraordinary stories come from your everyday ordinary people and from simple encounters like talking to the cashier at the shop or something along those lines.

I feel like we often miss out on opportunities to learn because we allow segmented thinking or classism to get in the way.

What is your favourite culinary destination besides Africa and why?

Nice in France is a destination I would dine at. I’ve met Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen, South Africa’s first Michelin-star chef, a few times and we’ve had interesting conversations and spoken about how he incorporates a little bit of South Africa into his food at Jan his restaurant in France, so it’s a destination that really appeals to me.

What are your thoughts on the South African food scene and its place in international cuisine?

I think South African foodies, cooks and chefs don’t have the confidence they should have. Our food tastes great, we use good quality fresh ingredients and we take pride in the way we prepare our food, so we have a lot to be proud of.

Many places around the world leave a lot to be desired in terms of food preparation, you know you would rather not see how the food is made and just have it arrive at your table. So, I think we should definitely be more confident than we are.

Favourite dish on the Kitchen Vibes menu?

The Mogodu dish is my absolute favourite. Its cooked in the traditional way with salt and water and served in a very creative way with dumplings and Kitchen Vibes special chakalaka.

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Liesl Frankson

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