In 2012, Chef Benny Masekwameng’s became a familiar face on TV as a MasterChef South Africa judge – a far cry from his township upbringing, when his mother ran an informal catering kitchen. But he cut his cooking teeth there, and never looked back. Today he’s a household name and executive chef.

Did you know?

Since 2005, the MasterChef franchise has become one of the most viewed culinary programmes in the world.

Chef Benny Masekwameng is one of the judges on the popular MasterChef South Africa reality television series – he became an overnight sensation with his quick wit and kindly manner.

Masekwameng comes from entrepreneurial stock; growing up in Alexandra township in Johannesburg, his mother supplemented the family’s income by preparing meals for construction workers. He believes it is the example she set that helped him find success on his chosen career path.

He graduated from what is now the Durban University of Technology with a diploma in catering management, and thereafter commenced his culinary journey, which would see him become executive chef at the then Mondo Vino restaurant at Montecasino in Fourways, Johannesburg.

He is now known as the Tsogo Sun celebrity chef and MasterChef South Africa judge and is much in demand for public appearances and TV interviews. And it must be said that with his charming manner and friendly outlook, he's pure television gold.

Masekwameng points to certain elements that contributed to his success: 'Sometimes people tell me that I am so lucky to be an executive chef, but luck has nothing to do with it; I am successful because I am true to myself and the values my mother taught me. I work hard, I love food and at work I received the support required to excel.

'I'm so privileged to have been chosen as a MasterChef judge. Now perhaps I can pass along the opportunities and direction I received in my career and hopefully inspire others with the story of my journey.'

Masekwameng has adapted well to his fame, and there is no doubt there's a great future for this fun-loving South African chef.