Blaque Wine Bar & Grill House in Jan Smuts Avenue

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Chef Sizo Henna has cooked for impressive peeps. Now you can enjoy his fare too.

Image by Melanie van Zyl

‘He loves salmon and fresh vegetables, and prefers his spinach pan-fried with red onions,’ says Sizo Henna. That’s our new president he’s speaking about. Henna often catered events held by Cyril Ramaphosa when CR was still executive chairman of Shanduka. Sizo has also cooked for Tokyo Sexwale, Jacob Zuma and the Reserve Bank’s Madoda Petros, and further afield for the Polish president and White House representatives. This access to the high-flyers started after stockbroker Andile Mazwai asked him to be his private chef. From there, the sought-after Sizo built up an impressive client list.

A best-kept secret no more, he’s shared his culinary skill and passion for food with the rest of us via a TV show called Rustic Chakula (on SABC 3) and by opening his first restaurant in Rosebank, Joburg. It seems the stars aligned for Sizo, as both projects came to fruition in February this year. Rustic Chakula, a decade in the making (was an idea he first had at chef school in London in 2004), is a mix of Pan-African travel, cooking, music and lifestyle – and celebrities, of course. He’s clearly comfortable with VIPs. Travel sparked Sizo’s ‘love affair’ with food, beginning with family holidays (he grew up in Bisho in the Eastern Cape).

Image by Melanie van Zyl

‘As a nine-year-old, my palate grew more refined the more I travelled. I could differentiate between an ostrich burger and a lamb burger. I knew that in the Karoo I’d eat foods such as koeksisters and roosterkoek made by a tannie.’ After studying in the UK, he travelled the world working for a catering firm and was exposed to Swiss, Indian, French, Spanish and Caribbean cuisine, among others. He also picked up a love for wine. But for now, he’s keeping things simple at his restaurant, Blaque Wine Bar & Grill House. ‘The aim is to make guests feel as if they’re eating in their own dining rooms,’ he says. ‘We have carved chicken, wooded trout, T-bone steaks grilled with garlic and thyme…’

Find it at: 142 Jan Smuts Avenue. 0769894688

 

This write-up first appeared in the May 2018 issue of Getaway magazine.

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Our May 2018 issue features the ultimate Karoo road trip, magical Qolora on the Wild Coast, a Lesotho shootout (wild versus luxury); hiking, boating and fishing on the Gariep Dam, we explore Scotland’s Isle of Skye, plus lots more.