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Welgemoed is not known for mincing his words, quite the opposite. In fact, the South African nativ wears his heart on his chef’s jacket sleeves and he took the stage at Food On The Edge in Galway in October last year to lament the scourge, as he sees it, of celebrity culture encroaching onto the world of chefs.
As the profile and influence of chefs increases, so to does the temptation to jettison long held principles in favour of ‘celebrity’ status and perhaps, sponsorship dollars. Chefs have more responsibility to their communities and to the food system in which they occupy a unique position.
“We have become hypocrites”, claims Welgemoed and does not shirk from calling out some of the industry’s biggest names. With an introduction to the stage by Matt Orlando, formerly of Noma and now Amass, we get a hint of Welgemoed’s take-no-prisoners style as he cares more about the message he’s imparting than what people think of him. He doesn’t disappoint.
Thoughtful, earnest, witty and irreverent, Welgemoed is a chef with something to say.