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Cooking Up A Storm...In A Teacup

Top south African chefs share their insights into the phenomenon if sharing plates. The art of snacking and sharing is a great for your customers to engage with their food and each other.

Chef Melanie Shepherd

Chef Melanie Shepherd

Executive Sous Chef at Le Franschhoek Hotel 

Chef Melanie is a lover of the mini-plates trend. She loves the idea of being able to order three or four meals off a menu, as it allows you to taste a variety of flavours, as well as share and create an experience, without feeling stuffed. “It’s a massive trend globally, which allows you to experience quality over quantity.”


Chef Melanie is known for her fresh, locally sourced ingredients that always go into her flavoursome meals. Her recipes have that element of creativity, which look to authenticity. When creating a recipe, she likes to think about ingredients that haven’t been used before in tried-and-tested recipes, which makes all the difference.

She’s passionate about fresh, local ingredients because they allow chefs the ability to hand-pick their ingredients. She has even foraged for mushrooms with a friend, which is a new trend in the food industry.

Chef Dion Vengatass

Chef Dion Vengatass

Executive Sous Chef at the Mount Nelson Hotel.

This high-profile chef’s culinary knowledge is vast! He’s always on trend within the industry because he devours culinary literature – magazines, cookbooks, he reads them all.

Self-proclaimed neat freak and winner of the 2011 Unilever Chef of the Year Competition. Having won several other national competitions since , Chef Dion is making waves in the food industry.

Growing up in Benoni his interest in cooking started at an early age. By the time he was four he was in the kitchen, helping his great-grandmother create family favourites.

Chef Belinda Peck

Chef Belinda Peck

Owner of Birkenhead Restaurant

"The industry is changing, which is why we have to make ‘small’ changes to be on trend. My chicken liver sharing platter is a perfect example of this. My aim was to take one of South Africa’s most popular dishes and turn it out on a plate for it to be enjoyed and shared".

“My inspiration to serve the livers in little bread loaves was inspired by my days living in Fish Hoek. I remember a little restaurant in the area serving delicious bunny chows. My dish boasts lots of spice, colour and rustic flavours – it’s the perfect meal to share on any occasion.”

Belinda’s cooking style leans strongly towards comfort food – the type of food that brings families together over the dinner table where they can share heart-warming meals. You’ll always find a high level of creativity to the meals that Belinda creates – she’s always creating new ways of presenting her food.