Nelson Mandela’s former presidential chef, Brett Ladds, launched his own restaurant called Chefs @ Five Sixty Six in Pretoria on Saturday evening.
Ladds previously worked for the former president for several years and has cooked for a number of celebrities including supermodel Naomi Campbell, musician Quincy Jones and Queen Elizabeth.
“This is a dream come true for me,” he says. “Every chef dreams of having their own restaurant, so I am very excited. Most chefs in the country end up working for other people their whole lives, so I feel very blessed.”
The menu includes delectable items from Norwegian smoked salmon to burgers. The most expensive meal on the menu is R135, for a ribeye fillet steak.
“When I was thinking about a restaurant, I wasn’t thinking about making a whole lot of money. I wanted to create a happy place where I can do what I love and where people knew they were guaranteed good food and a great atmosphere. Hopefully, money will follow us.”
The restaurant is designed to allow guests to watch as the food is prepared and make suggestions to the chef.
“There are probably so many people who can prepare certain meals better than me, this kind of set-up allows me to interact better with them while learning new tricks in the process. If someone doesn’t like something, I want them to be able to step into my kitchen and teach me how to make it better.”
Ladds plans to grow Chefs @ Five Sixty Six into a franchise. “Chefs is the name of the business and that’s who we are. And 566 – it’s a street address. The next Chefs restaurant will have another street address to it.”
On working for Mandela, Ladds says: “He was a very beautiful man and a pleasure to cook for.”