Chef Besele Moses Moloi
Chef Besele Moses Moloi

In March, chef Besele Moses Moloi bagged the Culinary Rising Star Award at this year’s Luxe Restaurant Awards, and in May he became head chef of Zioux in Sandton.

His resumé includes working at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Florida internationally and locally at the likes of Greenhouse Restaurant, the Saxon hotel’s Grei Restaurant and, more recently, as head chef at FYN in Cape Town.

We recently visited to experience some of the new dishes being added as part of Zioux’s winter menu and caught up with him to find out more about his background, what excites him in the local restaurant industry and what his plans are for the future.

Chef Besele Moses Moloi.
Chef Besele Moses Moloi.
Image: Supplied

At Zioux the menu is influenced by South American cuisine. What is the style of cooking you were trained in and how have you had to pivot into this role?

I was trained in French cuisine. The South American concept was somehow an exciting challenge for me, which I had the most fun researching, learning and adapting to. When I worked at FYN as the head chef, I did a lot of Japanese cuisine and there are similarities between ceviche and sashimi.

So I brought some of my experience of working at FYN and mixed it up with the new concept of doing South American food, blending the two. But the foundation is French cuisine.

Chef Besele Moses Moloi.
Chef Besele Moses Moloi.
Image: Supplied

What inspired you to pursue a culinary career?

There was a specific episode of a Jamie Oliver show that featured an up-and-coming chef with a very unfortunate background, which I related to very much. How he became a success at the end of the episode was what awoke within me the chef that I am today. 

Who would you say had the biggest bearing in forming you into the chef that you are today?

Peter Tempelhoff. I was under his leadership from my student days and back in his hands when I came back from the States. 

Are there any developments in the local food and restaurant industry that excite you?

What chef Mmabatho Molefe is doing at the moment is for me exactly what the local culinary space needs — turning traditional food into a high-end experience. Absolutely amazing!

You’ve recently been named Culinary Rising Star at the Luxe Restaurant Awards. What are some of the goals you’ve set for yourself and what can we expect to see from you as a rising star?

My short-term personal goal is to strive for greatness with Zioux; to get recognition and win Chef of the Year, and strategically using that to put Zioux on a pedestal that I foresee fit for it. Exciting times ahead!

As a rising star, I want to make way for the young chefs. The aim is to inspire them to never be shy of their talent, to never ever think they know enough and to never stop learning.

To this very day, I still look forward to learning something new in the kitchen — it still excites me. I want to be a support structure for all the chefs that come after me. 

What is your favourite dish on the Zioux menu?

Our porcini taco. 

What’s your go-to dish to cook for friends or family?

I love a good braai.

And the most memorable meal you’ve ever enjoyed?

An octopus and potato dish I had a restaurant at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Naples.

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