Tuesday, July 21, 2015

10 Questions with Justin Bonello

This week we interview Justin ahead of his appearance at Taste of Durban.

Justin Bonello
1. Tell us about Ultimate Braai Master, how did that develop?

Well, it was quite strange that no one had done this show before. When you think about it, we call it braai in all 11 official languages and we keep bringing international formats into South Africa and try to turn an international format into something home-grown, so in many respects the Ultimate Braai Master was a no-brainer. It’s something that all South Africans relate to, something that all South Africans do over the weekend (or any opportunity that they have), and with the advent of lots of cooking shows and chefs and cooks becoming the new rock stars of television, it just made perfect sense for us to put together a show that was based around what South Africans love to do. In fact, you can think of it as a show created by South Africans, starring South Africans, filmed by South Africans that taps into the South African psyche.

2. Was there a point when you had started shooting the first series when you all stopped and said 'Guys I think we are on to something here?'

My business partner, Peter Gird, and I were both very nervous when we held the first Ultimate Braai Master auditions in Cape Town, and while he was driving through to the audition locations, he saw a bakkie filled to the brim with braai grids, accessories and paraphernalia that could be used for a braai and at that point, at 5AM on the first day of shooting the season 1 auditions, we knew that we were onto something special.

3. Now you are all over on TV the other day I saw you on 'Cooked Out of the frying pan' how did that develop?

When I first started off doing television shows I was just a cook. When I went away with mates, I was always the one who cooked, and by the time I had filmed three seasons of Cooked with my mates and I had travelled the length and breadth of Southern Africa having a good time showcasing what a beautiful country we have, I had begun to feel like I was cheating the viewing public: here I was on TV as a cook, showing people how to cook and how to live a certain experience and a lifestyle, and I had no formal or professional training. Out of the Frying Pan was a great way to work with some of South Africa’s best cooks and chefs and up my cooking game and bring the viewer on that journey.

4. Now 'Ultimate Braai Master' you guys managed to secure a deal with the Travel Channel how did that come about?

Although South Africa is our primary market, all the content that my production company, Cooked in Africa Films produces always has an international appeal. When we first hooked up with the Food Network we suggested to them that Braai Master was a perfect fit for them because the series showcasing food in South Africa. The funny thing is that the Travel Channel came to us and said ‘hang on, it’s a better fit for the Travel Channel because it’s got that outdoor, travelling, road trip vibe with food in it’  - I guess we were just really lucky - we had a show with international production value, global appeal and our timing was just perfect. We are proud to announce that the Travel Channel will be airing season four as well!

5. So the new series of 'Ultimate Braai Master' what can we expect?

Without giving away any spoilers, in the first three seasons we had confirmed that we could cook anything that we wanted on the open fire and we really did do that – whether it was brains, testicles, tripe, trotters and whole animals in really trying circumstances, but for season four we looked at how do we still do that and add in a pinch of drama. That’s all I’m prepared to give away because you have to watch the show to see how we have put in the drama and some animosity between the contestants, because in fact, one of our biggest problems in the past was that contestants kept becoming friends on the road. In season four we’re out to make frenemies.

6. Tell us about your background, how did you develop this love for food and cooking?

I was very lucky to have parents who took my sister and I out to the great outdoors and in fact my ability to cook came out of a necessity to know what to do with nature’s bounty, so whether it was diving perlemoen, harvesting mussels or catching fish, my first experiences of food was borne out of the necessity to know how to prepare the items that I caught and from there it just evolved. We all have a guy or girl in our group of friends who generally becomes responsible to prepare our food – I was that guy and had to learn or face the wrath of my friends.

7. What advice do you have for youngsters who are wanting to become Chefs?

Well, I’m just a cook, but what a lot of people don’t know is that TV has made chefs quite glamorous, and as I previously stated, nowadays chefs have become rock stars. I think what I’d like to say to people wanting to become chefs is that you should first check out the hours. Often it’s very unrewarding work in the belly of a hotel or establishment, cooking great food for people that you never see and while everyone is on holiday, you’re not – so before you decide that this is what you want to do, make sure that it really is, otherwise you’re going to end up in the depths of some kitchen without recognition for what you do.

8. So you are coming to Taste of Durban what are you going to be doing at it?

Yes, I’ll be making hamburgers and showing South Africans a couple of tips and tricks when it comes to making one our favourite one-handed delivery vehicles for flavour. So if you’re around, do pop in and check it out!

9. What makes a good burger?

Firstly, you have to have good beef. In life you can never prepare a great meal without great ingredients so quality is key. Personally, I don’t like it too finely minced – I mull my patties by hand – I definitely don’t like the store bought stuff.

10. Talk a little bit about the presentation of food, it's one thing to make a great meal but how should you serve it?

You’re talking to the wrong guy here. Often I say, how do you make a potjie look sexy? When it comes to fine dining, you expect your food to look amazing, but when it’s just your mates what actually counts is flavour. Often people do eat with their eyes, but the real taste explosion comes when you pop it in your mouth.

You can find Justin Bonello on Facebook and Twitter @JustinBonello as well as his website,

Catch Justin Bonello at Taste of Durban happenning 24th - 26th July at Suncoast.

Image - Supplied 

Interview by Fred Felton
Twitter @fredfelton 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Your Weekend Event Guide

Plenty to do and see this weekend


Durban Boat and Lifestyle Show - Durban Marina

19 July - Free Movie - Bay Of Plenty Lawns

22 July 2015 - 8am - Hirsch Umhlanga

22 July - Book Launches - From 5pm KZNSA 

The KZNSA is a venue for Short Films from DIFF

24 - 26 July - Taste of Durban - Suncoast 

Coming Soon 

This Edition by Fred Felton
Twitter @fredfelton 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Film Review - Ayanda - Like a breath of fresh air


Film: Ayanda
Cast: Fulu Mugovhani, O.C. Ukeje, Kenneth Nkosi, Nthati Moshesh
Director: Sara Blecher

Ayanda (Fulu Mugovhani and O.C. Ukeje)

This movie is like a breath of fresh air.  Sara Blecher gives us a film about real people in real situations.  We meet Ayanda (Fulu Mugovhani) who has to take over her father's workshop and find a way to make it work.

She meets David, (O.C. Ukeje) one of the mechanics and sparks fly.  

Along the way she is left with a huge dilemma.  Something that might cause her to make a huge sacrifice in her life.

Look out for a great cameo by Kenneth Nkosi as Zama.

This movie is shot in a very interesting way, interspersed with photography and animation visuals which blend together to make this a very unique and a very South African film.

From a script by Trish Malone, Director Blecher really gives us a different viewpoint of what it is like to live in the South Africa of now.  This film was co-produced by Terry Pheto. 
Catch it while you can at the Durban International Film Festival.

Rating: 8/10 

17 July: 6pm Ekhaya
18 July: 15:15 Suncoast
20 July: 10am Supernova
22 July: 10am Supernova
23 July: 10am Luthuli Museum
24 July: 10am Ekhaya 


Image - supplied

Review by Fred Felton
Twitter @fredfelton 

Monday, July 13, 2015

What's on this week at artSPACE durban?

There is some wonderful artworks on display at artSPACE durban this week.

One of the artworks by Jane Oliver in the Durban - Yesterday, Now and Tomorrow exhibit

In the main gallery on till 18th July see what a collection of artists came up with in the exhibition titled 'Durban - Yesterday, Now and Tomorrow.

Artists include - Jane Oliver, Caroline Birch, Grace Kotze, Bernice Stott and many more.

In the middle gallery - 'Prick! - Subverting the stitch' - by swany

It features explorations in embroidery and gender and his continued struggle against societal constraints and prejudice.

Venue: artSPACE durban, 3 Millar Road off Umgeni Rd.
Tel: 031-312-0793

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Review of 'Murder On Mondays'

So many suspects so little time

This week I was invited to review the new show 'Murder On Mondays' produced by Blunt Productions.

The cast of 'Murder On Mondays' - Image: Thousand Words Photography

The show is written by Mikhale Singh and directed by Preven Reddy.
It's on at the Seabrooke's Theatre which is within Durban High School.

A very small intimate theatre with lots of character and charm.
The play is all about a group of wacky actors who are trying to put together a performance of Macbeth.  However there is a slight problem.  Somebody is trying to kill the cast one by one.

Enter Inspector Maharaj (a great performance by Byron McNeil) to try and figure out just who is the killer.

He has his work cut out for him with the oddball cast including Macbeth, (Jason Pietersen, eye candy for the ladies) Duncan, (a wonderful camp performance by Lindo Cele) Lady Macbeth, (Chante Seiler gives us a stylish performance) Sarah, the assistant director with ambition (another great performance by Shannon Newton).

The Inspector also has to contend with the director of the show (a no nonsense Nqobile Mahlambi) then there is the Blonde Witch (Maddison Lemos would give any ditzy blonde a run for their money) the Goth Witch (a dark performance from Amy Wright) the Hippie Witch (all flowers and herbs from Zoe Walsh) or could it be Banquo (played with relish by Mthoko Ntshingila).

So many suspects so little time.  Look out for Shannon Rose as the Officer.  Zanele Sibiya gives a great cameo as Veronica.

Set Designer Brett van Dort gives us an intimate set which is well set out.  Bronwyn Whitehead used modern costumes for this play which is great to see.

Preven Reddy does well to direct this cast in such a small area.

So as you can see so many suspects but who is the killer?

I guess you will have to go see the play to find out.

'Murder On Mondays' runs until the 18th July.
Tickets: Webtickets
Venue: Seabrooke Theatre, Within Durban High School, 277 St Thomas Road, Musgrave
Find them on Facebook:

Review by Fred Felton
Twitter @fredfelton

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The FNB Business Women's Breakfast in association with East Coast Radio 5 August 2015

Trailblazers, thought-leaders and trendsetters

East Coast Radio has invited four influential and dynamic speakers to help KwaZulu-Natal celebrate Women's Month.

Through the involvement of FNB and GIBS they were able to bring you some fantastic speakers.

There is a wonderful line-up in store for you at this breakfast:

Freshly Ground singer, Zolani Mahola, will talk motherhood and career.

Top Billing presenter and one of SA's premiere ballerinas, Lorna Maseko, will talk about the challenges she faced during her meteoric rise to fame.

Author and Madiba's assistant, Zelda la Grange, will share her heart-warming stories of life with one of the greatest men in the world.

Former Google SA boss, Stafford Masie, will share his advice on how to navigate the fast changing world of technology and the role his mother played in getting him to where he is today.

Hosted by ECR's Carol Ofori, The FNB Business Women's Breakfast in assocation with East Coast Radio is one of the most anticipated events on the KZN corporate calendar.

Tickets: Computicket
Venue: ICC

Images - supplied

This edition by Fred Felton
Twitter @fredfelton 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

What You Can Expect At The Oyster Box This Month

There are some wonderful events lined up just for you at The Oyster Box.

Here are just some of them:

28 July - From 8am - 5pm The Johan van G Make-up Day at The Spa at The Oyster Box

30 July - Oyster Box patrons will be treated to Cat Simoni's new show celebrating the legendary Judy Garland.  Look out for 'Cat Sings Judy!'  Booking is essential.

A sneak peek at August:

4 August - Women's Day Brunch in The Pearl Room to pay homage to the women of our nation. There will be a guest speaker, goodie bags and lucky prizes.

For all bookings email:
or call (031) 514 5000

Image - courtesy of The Oyster Box.

This edition by Fred Felton
Twitter @fredfelton

Monday, July 6, 2015

Taste of Durban is back from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 July

If you enjoy food, wine, good coffee, treats and so much more then this is for you.

Taste of Durban is back in Durban at Suncoast from 24 July.  Select Chefs from Durban will be preparing starter-sized plates, including signature dishes to showcase some of the best cuisine.

What you can look forward to:

  • Greedy Buddha
  • Amaravathi Palki
  • The Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine
  • Vicky Cristina's and Boiler Room Cafe
  • Vigour and Verve and Cafe Vigour
  • Simply  Asia
  • The Durban eKasi Experience
  • Hollywoodbets
  • Max's Lifestyle
  • Castle Milk Stout Experience
  • Butcher's Block with Two Oceans Wines
  • The Baccardi Mixology Theatre and Cocktail Lounge
  • BP Wild Bean Cafe - look out for their awesome coffee
  • Activity area for the Kids 

The Robertsons Ultimate Burger Class is certainly one activity to go to.  Look out for Caroline McCann, Justin Bonello and Craig Elliot who will show you the ins and outs of how to make a delicious burger.  One lucky participant will also get the chance to win a copy of Justin's latest book 'Road Tripping.' 

There are also plenty of sweet treats on offer.  Look out for Kupcake Heaven and the delicious treats of Daniella's Deliciously Decadent and Sugarlicious. 

Look out for award winning wines on offer as well.

Festival Times:
Friday 24 July: 18h00 - 22h00
Saturday 25 July: 12h30 - 16h30 ; 18h00 - 22h00
Sunday 26 July: 12h30 - 17h30

Images - Supplied 

Article by Fred Felton
Twitter @fredfelton 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Your Weekend Event Guide Durban



Pssst want to get the chance to go to the Durban July in an uberCHOPPER?

3 - 6 July - Quilt Show - Kearsney College, Botha's Hill.

This edition by Fred Felton
Twitter @fredfelton