Wynand van Rooyen

Wynand van Rooyen doesn’t care much for reality cooking shows. “Cooking is a fine art,” he says. “It takes years of dedication to become the best. A master chef is not born in three months.”

Graduating from the Prue Leith Chefs Academy in 2007 as best practical student, he progressed rapidly to his current position of sous-chef at Cape Town’s celebrated Mount Nelson Hotel.

Last year Van Rooyen shot to fame, winning national honours in the Jeunes Chefs Rôtisseur competition and earning himself the right to represent South Africa at the international finals in Turkey. The following month, at 25, he became the youngest-ever Sunday Times Chef of the Year.

Van Rooyen plans to travel next year, honing particular skills like curing meat and baking bread, and would ultimately love to host his own cooking show, where he’ll share his passion for new dishes and sourcing local, seasonal ingredients.

— Ian Macleod