I am John Grundlingh, South Africa’s Ultimate Braai Master and my journey started when I was cooking with my mom every night as I grew up, and learning all the sea trade secrets and fishing from my dad. Now I’m here to share my expertise with you for MyKitchen Friday braai days.
In 2014 I entered the Ultimate Braai Master competition to see where my cooking skills were in comparison to the rest of South Africa. Although I fell out that year, I was lucky enough to take part again in 2015 for Season 4. WWF SASSI saw my seafood talent on TV and I became their ambassador in 2014 and spent a lot of my time representing them at talks and charity braais all over the country.
When I won the Ultimate Braai Master in 2015, a lot of doors opened for me in the food industry. I have worked on seafood cooking TV demos for Robertsons on Expresso Breakfast Show.
Part of my prize for winning was to represent South Africa at the World Food Championships in Orange Beach, Alabama. I spent two months there, competing towards the finals. We started off in Lynchburg, Tennessee and then drove up to Kansas City, Kansas and then finally ended up in Alabama for the grand finale. We took part in the barbeque division, one category out of ten for the World Food Championships.
My best results were for my swordfish, placing 7th, and I got a 10th place for my for pork belly.
While I was there, I did my international judging course so I could get more involved in South Africa and send more cooks to the World Food Championships. The whole experience has been a huge eye opener and I have learnt so much from chefs all over the world. Since then, I have also won Laat Die Potte Prut and I am working on a TV show of my own!
I now live on the beach at Grotto Bay Private Nature Reserve on the West Coast I really get to explore the ocean every day and forage the shore for new and exciting things. I’m like a little kid running on the rocks every time I walk down to the beach. That’s if I’m not surfing, fishing, kayaking or kitesurfing. There is always something to do down at the coast and being a waterman is the best anti-stress medicine you can get.
I am so excited to show South Africans my favourite dishes and giving it my own signature twist.
I love local food because all our cultures, spices and different tastes add something entirely unique to it. I love fresh food and I don’t kill it with too much spice (especially not seafood; you still want to taste the ocean in there).
Cook from the heart and always be happy while you’re cooking. And I’ll see you right here on MyKitchen every Friday with a signature recipe and all the tricks of the trade you could ever need. Until then…