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5 Braai Chefs Everyone Should Know

Braai is South Africa’s version of grilled meat! Everybody knows great tasting braai requires essential elements. There’s a certain finesse that accompanies every set of delicious baby back ribs or tenderized chicken. You need the right seasoning, just the right amount of grill time and, of course, a beautiful presentation to tie it all together.

When it comes to braai mastery, there are standout chefs who truly understand the art form and how to do it all. Here are five that everyone should know!

1. Chef Lentswe Bengu 

Lentswe Bengu
Photo courtesy of Lentswe Bhengu

Nobody does it quite like Africa on a Plate host, Lentswe Bhengu. What makes Lentswe such a dynamic chef is his diverse experience traveling across Africa, learning how to make everything from Nigerian beef suya to Durban lamb knuckle curry. He spends time in South Africa specifically learning about Braai in one of his episodes of Africa on a Plate!

Check out Lentswe on Demand Africa
Must-try: Lentswe’s Braised Pork Belly
Watch on Demand Africa

2. Chef Justin Bonello

Chef Justin Bonello
Photo courtesy of Justin Bonello

As host and producer of Cooked in Africa and Getaway to Africa, Justin Bonello knows a little something about crafting delicious braai. As a chef, Bonello isn’t limited to the safety net of a stationary kitchen, he ventures outside the kitchen to create authentic African cooking experiences. On Getaway to Africa, he adventures across southern Africa wild, cooking and learning about man’s impact on the environment and becoming a more socially conscious culinary craftsman. So not only does he braai, he educates as he does it.

3. Chef Elizabeth Binder

Chef Elizabeth Binder
Photo courtesy of Twitter:

Former Top Chef contestant Elizabeth Binder grew up in Durban, South Africa, where she attended the internationally recognized Christina Martin School of Food and Wine.  After competing on Top Chef, Binder moved back to San Francisco where she’s now an executive chef at Bar Bambino.

4. Chef Jan Braai (a.k.a. Jan Scannell)

Jan Braai Chef
Photo courtesy of Jan Braai, Facebook

It’d be a crime to highlight the world’s top South African chefs without highlighting the man behind the National Braai Day initiative. You have to respect a man who’s dedicated his professional life to the art of braai. Scannell has quite the social following and regularly explores destinations across the world, bringing the best of South African braai with him.

5. Chef Lucas Ndlovu

Lucas Ndlovu Braai chef
Ostrich Carpaccio Photo courtesy of Andy Carter, Flickr

Ndlovu, a veteran braai master from Limpopo, SA started his culinary pursuits in the 1950s, a time when race relations in South Africa were extremely polarized and blacks were relegated to cleaning staff. But his passion and talent was recognized by his mentors and Ndlovu went to cook for famous South African presidents, including Nelson Mandela.