Having a supportive family made it possible to achieve my dreams - LesDaChef
Lesego Semenya, also known as LesDaChef, was born and raised in Soweto. While still working as a process engineer for The IQ Business Group he decided to pursue his personal passion and goals. He began writing articles for a youth magazine called UnCut, the flagship magazine for an organisation called LoveLife.
He left the corporate world in 2008 after 6 years to pursue his business goals. Lesego then went on to travel South Africa for a year before enrolling at South Africa’s best chef school, Prue Leith Chef's Academy in Centurion, to study towards becoming a chef. He qualified with a Grande Diploma in Food and Wine and five other international level diplomas in wine and patisserie.
The founder and executive chef of LesDaChef Culinary Solutions (Pty) Ltd tells Nickolaus Bauer more.
I wish if we had known what 2020 was gonna be, just to get a test ride just and say NO we skip right to 2022.Lesego Semenya, Founder - LesDaChef Culinary Solutions (Pty) Ltd
I give motivational talks and guest lectures at universities and chef schools. The very first thing when I enter is to ask the kids: 'How many of you want to be a celebrity chef?' and they throw up their hands and that's when I tell them most of you probably won't make it as celebrity chefs. They are in the industry for the wrong reasons and they want to be famous for cooking. Ironically, the people who get famous are the ones who don't want to be famous and I fall into that box.Lesego Semenya, Founder - LesDaChef Culinary Solutions (Pty) Ltd
We were sold dreams at high school, I'm sure you're in the same age bracket as me. We were given aptitude tests and told you're gonna become a good accountant, a good lawyer but we're not told about the industry you're gonna go into and study.Lesego Semenya, Founder - LesDaChef Culinary Solutions (Pty) Ltd
I come from a family where my parents were teachers, my mom was a principal, may dad was maths and science teacher. When I told my mom I can't continue working in corporate she said she understood and as long as I had a plan in mind, but 'Just know know we're not going to be backing you up on this plan in terms of finances, you have to go chase it on your own.'Lesego Semenya, Founder - LesDaChef Culinary Solutions (Pty) Ltd
That was the strength I needed, to know that if something was to fail I have my family to fall back on but then I had to go for the dream myself, I couldn't rely on somebody else, which is a reality for most of us from the townships.Lesego Semenya, Founder - LesDaChef Culinary Solutions (Pty) Ltd
Having a supportive family made it possible. Once you earn a salary, the next expectation is marriage and after that is kids. That pressure was never placed on me by my family. I didn't have kids, I didn't have a partner at the time I quit. That was lucky for me because I didn't have pressure from the family in those kind of things.Lesego Semenya, Founder - LesDaChef Culinary Solutions (Pty) Ltd
My last salary, I was 25 at the time, I was earning R35,000 a month after all the deductions. My first salary as a chef, after qualifying, was R1,500 a month. You need family support and strong friendships from people who understand what you're goin through to understand that in the end your dream is to achieve a certain thing.Lesego Semenya, Founder - LesDaChef Culinary Solutions (Pty) Ltd
Listen below for the full interview...
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