From the beginning of September, South Africans everywhere can be found locked in braai anticipation, looking forward to one of the most significant public holidays of the year. Colloquially known as Braai Day, the occasion is all about appreciating our rich cultural heritage, which naturally includes our wealth of traditional foods. The braaing peaks on the 24th, when the official Heritage Day is celebrated by more than 60 million citizens.

So, what makes Heritage Day so special? It may sound a little Italian, but you (kind of) do need to be a South African to cook South African. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t spice things up with your own unique flair. If anything, food is made for expression, enjoyment, and bringing people together.

A big drive from Megamaster has always been to look for and uncover innovation in food. So we decided to approach the talented group of chef students at Pretoria’s Capital Hotel School, and ask them to reinvent iconic dishes of South Africa for our 24 Days of Heritage campaign.

The theme was created to empower both aspiring chefs and braaimasters to develop, promote and collectively celebrate what makes us South African. The only rule was that all dishes had to be braaied on gas, charcoal, wood or a smoker.

Capital Hotel School’s diverse mix of cultures provides a variety of perspectives and talents that align perfectly with what Heritage Day is all about. “We need to embrace our differences and be open to learning about what makes a culture beautiful. Perhaps it’s through the tasting of a new dish, learning a new language or enjoying the dancing traditions around a bonfire. There is such beauty in diversity; people just need to take time to explore it,” said Capital Hotel School lecturers Ilze Krause and Marlise Whelan.

Special thanks must also go to Capital Hotel School’s MD and Principal Ronel Bezuidenhout who opened the doors to us, helping to host this meaningful event in which their students form the core of the campaign.

Heritage Day braaing at Capital Hotel School
Chef students with judges Ichumile Mpumlwana, Nozipho Khumalo and CP Louw.
Heritage Day braaing at Capital Hotel School
Chef students with judges Nozipho Khumalo, Dale Herbst, Funeka Peppeta, Leon Gropp and Stephanie Baartman.

LET THE BRAAING BEGIN

These fantastic young chefs helped us prepare the ultimate Heritage Day menu, striking the balance between traditional ingredients and international style. The result was 24 original twists on local braai favourites, shared on our website and on social media throughout the month.

The students were given extra incentive to really put their creative culinary skills to the test as we also invited guest judges to pick the top three dishes. The winning chefs were gifted their very own Megamaster products with first prize being a Granite Edition 4 Burner Patio Gas Braai.

We didn’t stop there. To add even more flair to our Heritage Day recipes, we invited local foodies, food authors and professional chefs including Bertus Basson, Naqiyah Mayat (who created the delicious baked masala fish dish used for this article’s cover pic), Luyanda Mafanya, Caro Alberts, Nozipho Khumalo and Ichumile Mpumlwana to get involved. They each prepared their own unique twist on local dishes.

Luyanda Mafanya for Heritage Day
Chef and food blogger Luyanda Mafanya shows off her smoked oak and cherrywood short ribs.

SAVOUR TRULY UNIQUE FLAVOURS

With our 24 Days of Heritage campaign, we wanted to inspire braaing no matter what your culture or taste preferences. To show how Cape Malay flavours can work in an English dessert, how Afrikaans braai side dishes can become a staple, how traditional mopane worms can become refined and braaied as flapjacks.

Here are just a few of the original recipes the chefs and foodies created:

Pumpkin fritters
For this fresh twist on pumpkin fritters, chef students Oreneile Modibela and Redirile Malete turned them into braai doughnuts.
Boerewors Rolls for Heritage Day
Chef students Lucky Ledwaba and Tinyiko Mabunda took the humble boerewors roll and gave it a sensational raita sambal twist.

Chefs form the backbone of the food industry and it was a privilege to share this experience with our country’s up-and-coming chefs. All with mouthwatering effect! The chefs were hand-selected for the unique cuisine and stories they bring to the table when they cook.

“It is wonderful to note all the love and effort that our student chefs have invested into designing something new for the Heritage Day menu. Not to mention how proud they are of what they have created. It is a love for food that we at Megamaster place our stamp of approval on any day,” said Megamaster’s brand, social and design specialist Marijke Benade.

Heritage Day braaing
Chef students working together to create their recipes.
The winning chefs.

HERITAGE DAY BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER

Having a braai on Heritage Day is about more than just good food. We need our family and friends as pillars of support, especially in difficult times. Having a strong network of helps enhance our mental wellbeing. Food creates the wow moments, the in-awe moments and the familiarity of a home-cooked meal that makes you feel you belong somewhere.

Creating new recipe ideas for Heritage Day is also about what we will leave for our kids in future. Heritage Day has more to do with “inheritance” than braaing. What we do for our children today will form part of who they become tomorrow.

Working together to prepare food in the kitchen – experimenting, expressing and trying new tastes from all over the globe – is a known way of bringing people together. Everybody puts themselves out there at the same time. Everybody shares. There is no right or wrong answer – only a smorgasbord of new tastes to infuse into a new generation’s heritage for future braais to come.

WIN A MEGAMASTER BRAAI OF YOUR CHOICE IN OUR HERITAGE DAY COMPETITION!

Every day from 1 to 24 September 2021, we’re releasing one of the chefs’ dishes on social media, giving you all the inspiration you need for a month of braaing and togetherness. We’re also giving you the chance to win one of four braai bundles including any Megamaster braai of your choice and a hamper of braai accessories.

To enter, simply comment on any of our daily recipe posts on Facebook or Instagram, and tell us what’s your personal twist on the featured traditional SA dish. Remember to use #24DaysOfHeritage. 

Here’s to you, and our beautiful country. Together, made better.