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Bon Voyage, Sims!

Masterchef SA Top 4 finalist Sims Kubeka is joining the JAN team for three months! sims kubeka

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to film an episode of Masterchef SA as a guest judge and without a doubt my highlight was getting to meet all of the contestants. There’s something about the universal hustle and struggles of at some point being an aspiring chef that bonds everyone in our industry together, and getting to interact with the contestants made me nostalgic for the earlier days of my career, and what inspired me to get into a kitchen in the first place. It also reminded me how important it is for young chefs to gain valuable experience in the kitchen, which sadly isn’t always available to them.

That’s why I was thrilled to recently reconnect with Top Four finalist Sims Kubeka on Jacaranda FM’s Good Morning Angels and offer him a three month internship at Restaurant JAN in Nice, which he’s starting with us right now. Hosting interns and teaching them what we can is something we always do here at JAN but I’m extra excited to welcome Sims, a software engineer who has no formal culinary training and has taught himself everything he knows out of a sheer love for good food. In order to mark the special occasion we caught up with Sims to see how he’s feeling.

What are you most excited for during your time in Nice?

The first thing I really want to try is a Nicoise salad, I’ve made it myself but it’s only the real thing if it comes from Nice so I can’t wait to see if I’ve been doing it right. Oh and French bread has always been my love. I can’t wait to wake up and smell fresh French bread.

What do you hope to bring to the JAN kitchen while you’re with us?

I really want to bring my sense of happiness to the team. I’m a bubbly person and it takes a lot to bring me down and I hope I share that with others, I hope it’s a really happy kitchen over the next three months!

I’ve already shared mine, what was your Masterchef SA highlight?

My highlight has to be the people, we’re still a tight knit group after the show and we still hang out. We’re all happy, we’re all doing different things and have progressed but it’s looking good!

What was the biggest lesson you learnt on the show?

Even when things are going wrong, it’s not going wrong. It can always be worse so pick yourself up and keep trying. Keep pushing.

You’re a lot like me in the sense that your family and grandmother’s cooking inspired you in the kitchen growing up. Which dishes do you love most and have you put a spin on them?

There’s a million dishes I wish I could innovate but my mom, aunts and my gran did everything so right that I’d be too scared to. What I have tried to do is deconstruct their recipes and try different elements in different ways, but nothing tastes as good as mom’s cooking!

 What is your earliest fond food memory?

I was in Grade two, so eight or nine  years old, and my uncle was too busy to make me breakfast so he told me how to make eggs and that was the first time I cooked by myself. And I didn’t burn the house down!

You’ve been honest about having to overcome certain obstacles in your journey pursuing a career as a chef, which is how you ended up studying maths and becoming a software engineer. What is your advice for other aspiring chefs trying to raise funds or working to pursue their dreams?

The first thing I learnt is that there is a community out there and if you work hard somehow and some way people will notice and help you. I’m a prime example of that. Try hard, show that you’re committed, ask for help if you need it, and people will take notice.