Dion Vengatass (Chef de Cuisine) – Hospitality Management Class of 2006
I started my cooking from the tender age of 4 with my Ouma Violet.
She taught me basic cooking skills, more Indian influenced but what caught my attention was her passion and love for food.
She taught me how to respect the ingredient and how to create magic with just the little we had, she could turn a cheap marrow that grew in the back garden into a spice flavoured explosion that took my palate on a journey I still can’t forget.
My Ouma gave me my first hit of the food drug if I can put it like that.
I was hooked, I had that passion running through my veins like the blood pulsing in my body.
I then took on the subject Hotel Keeping and Catering in high school, where I was put in a class of 14 girls, at that time cooking was not seen as the rock star career as it is now, so you can imagine the grief I got from fellow mates at school doing cookery instead of woodwork.
I then graduated from high school and realised that my passion was to be put on hold due to not having any financial support to further my studies.
Thanks to my mothers’ uncle I got a sponsorship to study at The Swiss Hotel School, two years later I graduated with my Hotel Management Diploma.
I then did some travelling where I worked in America for a year and a half returned and got a job at the Saxon hotel as a Demi chef de partie.
This is where I met chef Rudi Liebenberg, I worked with him for 2 years before he moved to Cape Town.
I stayed on at the Saxon for a few months until I received a call from chef Rudi, he offered me a position at the Mount Nelson Hotel.
Having never worked in the Cape before I jumped on the opportunity and I’ve never looked back. Going on my 6th year now, starting out as a Chef De Partie in the breakfast restaurant to now running the fine dining restaurant and main kitchen as a Chef de Cuisine at The Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel.
During my ventures at the Mount Nelson I won all Unilever’s top completions & did a stager at Lé Manoir in England with Chef Raymond Blanc. I was selected for the 2016 South African Culinary National team and again as Captain, this time for the 2020 team, to represent our country at both Culinary Olympics.
I also write recipes for the online food magazine Crush.