Stephen Mandes is the new Executive Chef of Mondiall Kitchen and Bar at the Cape Town Waterfront and Big Green Egg was invited to the restaurant’s media launch recently. Showcasing his cooking talent to a select group, the response was overwhelmingly positive. We caught up with him just before Father’s Day and asked him to share some of his dad’s #FoodLegacy with us.
Stephen may be young, but he boasts an impressive cooking pedigree. Having started out at the Cape Grace Hotel, he moved on to the Belmond Mount Nelson first and then de Grendel restaurant. Stephen and team mate Yusuf Sujee made up the dynamic duo, the Tikka Boys, who took top honours in Season 3 of the Ultimate Braai Master where they first experimented with the Big Green Egg outdoor cooker. Soon after winning this top culinary competition, they started at La Vierge in Hermanus where Yusuf still does amazing things on the XL Egg based in his kitchen. Stephen recently made the move to take over the position at Mondiall where we caught up with him.
You and your dad often cooked Sunday Lunch together. What was your go to menu?
“We would always have some roast vegetables. My mom always said that it’s not Sunday lunch unless we have roast potatoes. My dad loves pork roast or leg of lamb, but most Sundays we would have chicken, basmati rice, carrots and peas and cauliflower and broccoli. Every now and then my dad would make trotters and tripe…I still love the humbleness of home cooking.”
What did your dad teach you about cooking which you still include in your daily life?
“My dad always says add salt to enhance everything, even desserts. He also taught me to be patient because it will be worth it. He always tells me not to work so messy in the kitchen…I love cooking but doing dishes is not my strong point!”
3. What food legacy do you hope to pass on to your kids one day?
“Respecting and understanding food. Understanding where it comes from and not to waste any of it.”
With two EGGs stationed at Mondiall, your Winter menu is leaning towards low and slow cooked dishes. What about the EGG makes it particularly good for this style of cooking?
“Mondiall’s style is contemporary brasserie which is perfect for the Big Green Egg. The smokey flavours from cooking off coals, along with deep rich sauces and jus. Clever sweet and salty basting sauces caramelising over meats…Now that I have the EGGs and with our menu changing seasonally, there will be a lot of Big Green Egg featured dishes…”
Who is Stephen Mandes in 3 words?
“Humble, hard-working & passionate”.
Here are two Big Green Egg dishes you can expect from Chef Stephen Mandes of Mondiall Kitchen and Bar.