Prominent Chef Marcus aka Marcus Modimokwane (MM) is an international chef based in South Africa.
Marcus’ journey in the world of cooking began at an early age and his signature dishes are inspired by global flavours.
As some countries are under lockdown owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, with restaurants and hotels are closed we got a chance to hang out with Chef Marcus who invited us into his kitchen to inspire us on what dishes to prepare during this period. We also get to find out how to prepare one of his favourite summer dishes.
We catch up with Marcus and here’s our conversation.
TR: Marcus thank you for inviting us into your lovely kitchen?
MM: Thank you for featuring me in your amazing magazine.
TR: When did you realise that you wanted to become a Chef?
MM: I have always had love for good food, my grandmother used to make amazing dishes every time we visited, and the dessert was always excellent. When I came to Johannesburg, I worked for a marketing and communications company where I enjoyed working on events. I got to enjoy delicious food and that is when I wanted to know how to create amazing dishes.
TR: What was the first meal that you prepared as a professional Chef in a restaurant?
MM: Wow, I can’t definitely say for sure. However, I love curry so I would say it would be something like a Prawn Curry with Basmati Rice.
TR: How would you describe your cooking style?
MM: My cooking style is very traditional with a modern twist. So, I take the old school. Recipes and add my own style to the dish to give it a modern flair to it.
TR: What inspires your cooking style?
MM: I love bold flavours, so I enjoy taking ordinary dishes and elevating the flavours. Asian flavours are my favourite, so you will find a lot of my dishes draw inspiration from the Asian cuisine.
TR: We are still in the summer season, which dish can you advise us to prepare during this season?
MM: I love Ostrich Steak and blue cheese salad. I recommend salads for this season, as you can get fresh herbs and ingredients to make a delicious salad.
TR: The meal tastes delicious one might wonder, what is the secret that makes one a great chef?
MM: Your palate is your greatest weapon. It helps one to develop with delicious and new flavours. Creativity also plays an important role, if you can imagine it, I believe you can cook it.
TR: What’s your favourite traditional meal and why?
MM: I love making Tšhotlo, which is mainly slow cooked shredded beef. It is cooked on open flames in a three-leg pot with just salt and water. I add, bay leave and thyme to elevate the flavours.
TR: What are your rules in your kitchen?
MM: Your space should be clean.
Do your best. Listen to others.
Always taste your food.
TR: In closing what are your favourite mottos?
MM: With food, we can change the world.
If you enjoy what you do, work will always be fun!
There is nothing a good glass of wine can’t fix.
Chef Marcus’ take on the Steak and Blue Cheese Salad.
Ostrich Steak & Blue Cheese Salad
2 tablespoons BBQ Spice / baby spinach / ¼ cup balsamic vinegar / ¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper / 2x 200g steak / Cherry tomatoes, halved
Half red onion, diced / 100g blue cheese, crumbled
1 cup of sweet corn, boiled / 2 tablespoons lemon juice / ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
Heat the n to high. Season your steak with the BBQ spice, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Pan fry the steak for 4 min each side.
Let the steak rest, covered with foil, 10 minutes before slicing.
Put the remaining ingredients in a large bowl and toss gently to combine. Place the sliced steak over the salad.
For the dressing, combine olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a bowl, season with salt and pepper before drizzling over the salad.
Recipe by @ChefMarcusZA
Images by @OverdueConcepts
WHO IS CHEF MARCUS
My one belief is that “with the food, we can change the world”. I developed a passion for food and cooking when I was very young, my grandmother used to make the most amazing chicken stew which I am still trying to perfect. Memories of her in the kitchen and the aromas are still engraved in my mind. My passion grew further when I arrived in Johannesburg and worked for an events company in Orange Grove, I used to find myself working in the food and beverage section all the time. As much as this was a part-time job, I enjoyed it so much.
I love experimenting with ingredients and trying out new styles of cooking, this requires a lot of travelling and trying out new dishes which is something I really love so I am forever on the road to the next adventure. In 2012, I was granted the opportunity to work for DNA Brand Architects. During this time as an Associate Architect, I worked with brands such as Flying Fish, Nestlé Chocolates and Nescafé coffee which focused on the multi-usage of their product in the food space.
The passion for food grew. In 2017 I decided to enroll for diploma qualifications at Capsicum Culinary Studio to formally get my qualifications in culinary arts. From then on, I have worked and developed seasonal menus for Shaguma Lounge in Midrand and also hosted a number of private dinners and had the opportunity to curate some elegant menus. My work has been featured on GQ South Africa, House & Garden and Careers Magazine. My plan is to curate experiences for people who love food, to come and celebrate the art of food.
Images by @OverdueConcepts
Recipe by @ChefMarcusZA
IG, Twitter & FB: @ChefMarcusZA
Youtube: Chef Marcus Tastes