Did you know?
Lucas Ndlovu is one of only 24 South African chefs to be inducted into the prestigious Chaîne des Rôtisseurs.
Lucas Ndlovu’s ascent to the upper echelons of the culinary elite in South Africa cannot be underestimated. In the late 50s, when Lucas first began working in hotel kitchens, he was a chef’s assistant in an industry that could barely conceive of blacks as cooks, let alone chefs.
Back then, any black commis chef who aspired to a serious career in the kitchen had to work their way up, learning by repetition, as no formal training or apprenticeship programmes were in place, and they seldom made it to the level of sous chef.
Then there was the hurdle of mental inferiority. Under apartheid, blacks believed they could only be servants, making South African chef Lucas Ndlovu’s rise to executive chef even more inspiring.
Fortunately for Lucas, employers and fellow chefs noticed the young man's passion and enthusiasm for food. Billy Gallagher, Lucas’ mentor and long-time friend, describes a chef 'who cooks with such style and grace that when Lucas represented South Africa at the Bocuse d'Or chef’s competition, even the legendary chef Paul Bocuse was enchanted with him.'
His career has been illustrious and, for a time, he was the only black chef to be inducted into the South African Chefs Association, and he is one of only a handful of chefs elected to the association’s Academy of Chefs – a privilege reserved for master chefs that have made an outstanding contribution to advancing the hospitality industry.
Now semi-retired, Lucas Ndlovu, chef, will be remembered not only as a role model, but also as a specialist in preparing local venison, and bringing indigenous dishes to the tables of 5-star establishments.