Ready to rock and roll ! Masterchef: The Professionals 2013
Recently Petrus appeared on our screens as a contestant in Masterchef: The Professionals, UK. He won over the viewers and the judges with his mile long smile, friendly attitude & strong instinct for flavour. Petrus described his approach to the show as “to wake up every morning with a smile on my face because you never know who you will meet. I want to charm the judges with my smile."
Although the title of Masterchef Champion eluded Petrus, for him the opportunity to appear on the programme was a dream come true, which will hopefully inspire youngsters in South Africa to believe that they can achieve their ambitions.
In the Quarter Final, he cooked the South African staples “pap en vleis with chakalaka sauce”, followed by “malva pudding”. These traditional dishes were perhaps a little riskier than classical French cuisine, but Petrus was proud to cook from the heart and put South African Food on the map.
During his early years, Petrus started to develop his culinary skills by cooking for his six siblings, as his mum and dad worked long hours to support the family. He grew up in a township called Mothotlung, near Pretoria, South Africa.
The Madutlela family, March 2013
From scrubbing to sous vide
Petrus planned to follow a career as a doctor, but money was tight. He took a job as a kitchen porter at Pecanwood Golf & Country Estate "I was working very hard as a cleaner, and I used to ask a lot of questions. They asked me if I wanted to become a chef, and I said why not ?"
Petrus then worked as a chef at Pecanwood for three years, before moving up the culinary ladder, learning what he could from top names in the restaurant world. One of these was Margot Janse, executive chef at the famed Le Quartier Francais in Franschoek - voted one of the World's Top 50 Restaurants.
In 2007, Petrus represented South Africa in the 'Concours International des Jeunes Commis Rôtisseurs'. He won 4th place out of a field of 21 countries.
He won the title of “Unilever South African Chef of the Year” in 2010, and he went on to take the prestigious “by Invitation only South African Chef of the Year” title in 2011.
Petrus and his British wife, Shirley, whom he met at the Institute of Culinary Arts near Stellenbosch, relocated to London a few years ago. It was one of the coldest winters on record, with deep snow and icy cold winds, but that didn’t dampen Petrus’ spirits. He aimed to work at some of London’s top restaurants. “I went for a few interviews and had a few offers. In my heart, I just had this thing that I wanted to work for the Savoy”. In February that dream came true, when he began working at the legendary Savoy as a Chef de Partie.
Petrus love of challenges isn’t limited to the kitchen. He auditioned for a part as a dancer in the London 2012 Olympics and appeared in the closing ceremony.
Petrus moved out to leafy Kent when the family expanded with the arrival of baby Will.
He works as Sous Chef at “The Vine” in Sevenoaks.
He regularly demonstrates recipes to promote local produce at farmers markets, and the Kent Show.
Petrus appeared at this year’s World Hospitality Championships in Dubai, demonstrating modern gastronomic techniques such as sous vide and spherification
One day he will achieve his big dream of opening a restaurant of his own.