Food - Is it something you've always been passionate about?
Food has always played an integral part in my life and I don't just mean eating. Both my parents worked in the hospitality industry, so food and, most importantly, the quality of food, was always paramount. For me cooking, learning about the science behind food, as well as nutrition, came with age. Initially, I wanted to start a new hobby at home, given that music was quite taxing on me at the time, mentally and emotionally. I had absolutely no intention whatsoever to turn it into anything else other than a post on Instagram.
What's the synergy between food and music?
I believe they're both art forms and also, cooking and singing are both great forms of expression for me. I sing about what I feel and I cook dishes that mean something to me.
My Kitchen Rules South Africa (MKRSA) was a huge deal... How did that happen?
It was a massive moment in my career, without a doubt. I took it lightly in the beginning, thinking it was another gig, you know, but honestly, it's been one of the best things I've done in the entertainment industry. I was approached by M-Net and Endemol that they were doing this TV show My Kitchen Rules and not a word of a lie, at the time I was addicted to the Australian version. I'd turned down many TV opportunities because of Mi Casa and life and how little time I had already. But here was a show that was different and that was about me, a home cook. After many manipulations to my calendar and a lot of sacrifices and also, to be honest, a bit of selfishness, I decided the time was right for me to do this.
What are you loving the most about MKRSA?
If I have to be 100% honest with you, my favourite part of MKRSA was getting a new friend in David Higgs [chef, restaurateur and fellow judge]. He's somebody I regard as a great friend and also a mentor in an industry that I really know nothing about, but admire a lot.
How would you describe the food served at your restaurant?
You should just come to visit! Haha! It's a theme I call 'JaFroGuese' – elements of Japanese flavours and dishes with the main heart being founded in Portuguese and South African food. Just good food with a bit of a twist and not too fancy. I still have a lot to learn in the industry and the character of the restaurant will grow immensely in the months to come. Sun International is a great group and has some amazing individuals in it who are industry visionaries.
Who are you influenced by in the culinary world and in the world of music?
My mother and my upbringing, as well as David Chang, David Higgs, Jamie Oliver and Yotam Ottolenghi have been huge culinary influences. In terms of music, I would say Craig David, Musiq Soulchild, Dwele, Michael Jackson, Babyface, and so on. That list is endless.
And your cookbook? That's pretty awesome!
I still get freaked out thinking about it as I never planned it. It evolved like the story in a weird sci-fi movie. But when everything started popping in the food world for me, I started to believe in the possibilities that people were throwing at me, like a TV show and/or a cookbook. At first, I thought all my Instagram followers were insane. Then I thought, hang on, I can actually do this. The power of people believing in you is incredible and something I'm grateful for every day.
You're so super busy, when and how do you relax?
When we were filming MKRSA, my life was absolutely mental. I didn't know whether I was coming or going. Here we were, shooting the biggest food show in the country and at the same time, I was releasing my band's album, Familia, which meant weekly gigs around the world to promote the music, while I was trying to run a restaurant back home. Yeah, that was insane. But now I'm back to my normal Mi Casa life and it feels so chilled. I feel like I have all the time in the world. As a matter of fact, I've started doing DIY projects around my house which I absolutely suck at but, I've always wanted to be a handyman. So I'm doing what I like to call JIY, which is helping me relax and makes me feel like a normal person in this crazy life. To unwind I also watch some cool series, I blog, cook and spend time with my family – the best thing ever.
What's the most challenging thing you've had to deal with in your career so far? And how did you overcome it?
A big challenge for me has been mental; it's a constant battle to try and figure out what the next move should be. I'm always asking myself if I'm still happy doing what I'm doing. My solution to this has been meditation and prayer.
Do you think the foodie in you would ever take over the muso in you?
Nope. Music is what makes my heart beat and sincerely happy. Food, I think, is a getaway from that – like a holiday is.
The ladies in the office are crushing on you big time (yes, we know you're married)! Please can you send them a special message?
I'm so blessed by everyone's support. I love you all so much because, honestly, the world revolves around love and if we could just love and support one another we would have a lot of happiness. I'm sorry I can't crush back on all of you but, you know, I gotta be that guy for my woman. Big hug.