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Kevin Reed - still reaching for the stars!

25 April 2024

Five years ago, Kevin Reed – then a 20-year-old student completing his Diploma in Food Preparation and Cooking at the Capsicum Culinary Studio Cape Town campus – was awarded “Most Promising Young Chef of the Year” at the One&Only Reaching for Young Stars competition.

One of his prizes included a six-month work experience opportunity at Winslow's Tavern, a top heritage restaurant located in Massachusetts in the US, where he impressed restaurant owners Phillip and Tracey Hunt (both South African expats) so much that they asked him to stay on for a further nine months after his initial tenure came to an end.

Now back in South Africa and working as a private chef, we caught up with the Brackenfell resident to find out what he’s been up to.

Can you give us a quick reminder of your journey from school to where you are today?
I am an Afrikaans boytjie, born and raised in Cape Town and went to an agricultural school that was big on sport and outdoor life – the two things I am still passionate about besides food! After school I was not very sure what I want to do with my life, so I decided to go overseas and travel around a bit. While I was in the UK, I got work in a hotel in Dorchester, where I washed dishes and, when the opportunity arose, also get to fry a fish or two. I loved it and soaked up everything I could by watching the team working in the kitchen and knew that I had found my calling. After returning to Cape Town, I enrolled at Capsicum Culinary Studio where I worked hard and entered every competition I could to challenge myself and improve. My win at the Reaching for Young Stars 2018 competition gave me the opportunity to travel to the US and work under South African expats, Chef Patron Phillip and Tracey Hunt at their amazing restaurant which is located in Cape Cod in Massachusetts. Housed in an historic building Winslow’s Tavern is acclaimed by food and travel writers and is staffed by an international brigade of highly skilled chefs who thrive on collaboration, camaraderie, fast pace, and high volume producing an all-American seasonal menu heavily influenced by coastal cuisines.

How was your time in Massachusetts?
My time at Winslow’s Tavern was one for the books. I worked 14 hours a day and not a minute went by where I did not love it. Cape Cod is such a beautiful place and life there can either be fast paced or laid back depending on one’s attitude and daily life. But I had some amazing and life-enhancing experiences there particularly the fishing and whale watching at Provincetown.

When did you return to South Africa and what did you do then?
I came back at the start of 2020 and was fortunate to be offered a job under Chris Erasmus at the now sadly closed Foliage restaurant where I worked for three years, and then became his sous chef at the Robertson Small Hotel. I learned so much from him and we did a lot of foraging together and preparing and eating ‘veld tot furk’ dishes which meant buying in as little produce as possible.

I also took part in, and won, a young chef competition series on VIA TV called Sjefhuis which was co-hosted by chef Bertus Basson. I went on to work under Bertus for two months.

Last year KykNet viewers might have seen me in Kokkedoer: Vuur & Vlam where I competed against 19 other contestants to become the ultimate braai master. Sadly, I did not win but it was a great experience, and I learnt a lot.

It was in June 2022 that I decided to strike out on my own and become a personal chef and use my knowledge and experience to cook for people and (hopefully) make them happy!

Tell us about that.
I work through a company called Chef and Guests (, which is an online platform where people can hire a professional chef and enjoy a unique fine dining experience in the comfort of their own homes with friends and family. I love cooking for people and interacting with guests so it’s perfect for me. I also do food and wine pairing so can really take the stress out of the catering and leaving the host to just enjoy the occasion whatever it may be.