Late last year my friend, a journalist at a rival publication, sent me a WhatsApp; “I want to invite Armand Aucamp to braai for us. I want to find out if he’s a breast or thigh man.”
What could go wrong with inviting one of the most attractive men in South Africa to light a fire for a gay man and a divorcee, armed with an arsenal of sexual innuendos about food?
Nothing as it turned out. We had a damn good time, which is why his new show on Afrikaans lifestyle channel VIA is must-watch TV.
Last year, he released his first cookbook, Armand Kook Kaal, (soon available in English) and we were really there to talk about it. He was on a public relations blitz that included a book tour so it was surprising that he committed to a full day with two strangers. All we had to do was get the list of ingredients he sent and gush over him.
But along the way we found out about his show, how remarkable he is, his formative years at an international school and his dedication to the entertainment industry.
Why he went naked
Behind the chiselled jaw – thanks to genetics and eating “naked” (a strict high-fat low-carb diet), Aucamp knows exactly why he eats this way, and admits that part of his job is looking good.
“When international modelling agencies come to Cape Town, so do models and actors from across the world. You have to look good. That was the reason I started keto.”
Not that Aucamp was ever a slouch, but following the diet helped him lose 10kg and look leaner. It boosted his chances when he was compared to other men in the field. It also turned out to be the perfect diet for him.
There’s a little twinkle of rebellion in Aucamp’s eye when I ask about all the meat included in the diet. He is everything a well-groomed Capetonian should be, but you won’t find him in one of those snooty overpriced vegan spots on Loop Street that are all the rage right now.
“Keto really is just about swapping carbohydrates for other food – and getting a lot of protein from meat. “I like meat, which is why this works for me.”
The wors for the day was brought from local butcher Oom Dawie. He likes wors, after all.
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19:30 Dinner And to round off a full day of #Keto TBone with bearnaise sauce (total splash and not necessary) Caprese salad (with feta, no mozz) ???????? All the fat and protein. Minimal carb. Will probably only refeed at 1pm tomorrow. But, as always, listen to my body. #kookkaal #lowcarb #highfat #intermittentfasting
Behind the camera
This is Aucamp’s first stint behind the camera that includes his personal life. Face-to-face he is open about his life, in public he prefers his privacy.
The show, Kook Kaal, will see him cooking with some of his friends, while sharing his favourite recipes. The result is a warm show where you get to see his down-to-earth likeability.
That likeability, and his talent have scored him some big gigs. One he seems to be really proud of is last year’s run of Shakespeare in Love at The Fugard Theatre.
“It was such a great run. It was great getting back to theatre and experiencing that again,” he says.
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Kyk hoe lekker ‘zest’ ek daai suurlemoen! ????????????????♂️ ‘Armand Kook Kaal’ vanaand op @viatv kanaal 147 om 17:30 ???????????? met trotse samekering met @dutoitskloofwines en @ryanboonmeats @afrokaans #kookkaal #dutoitskloofwines #ryanboonmeats #viatv #keto #banting #lowcarb
Aucamp is one of those people who seem unaware of what an impact he has. With his looks, he needs no other skills. But instead he knows the hustle.
From sponsorships to building his own brand, Aucamp does a lot of his behind-the-scenes work by himself. Very few actors will deal with you directly, but he says “here’s my number, let me know if you need anything”.
Without the back and forth between public relations officers there are more reasons he gets the publicity he does – he’s real and easy to get hold of.
His parents wereuniversity lecturers and he grew up surrounded by knowledge. “I still keep that, I read and keep a lifestyle that’s grounded. I also tend to surround myself with those sort of people,” he says.
Time to get naked
Driving away after our braai I can honestly say, sex aside, this was the most fun I ever had getting “naked” with someone – and you can too.
Catch Armand on Kook Kaal on Mondays at 5.30pm on VIA (DStv 147). There are also repeats (the first airing this week) on Saturdays at 3.30pm.