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LesDaChef: Mzansi mourns king of mogodu and ledombolo

Mzansi culinary royalty LesDaChef has died following his battle with Covid-19. While it seemed he was doing better just last week, the author and television personality died earlier today

Lesego “LesDaChef” Semenya, a chef, author and former “SA Top Chef” judge, has lost his battle against Covid-19. Photo: Supplied/Food For Mzansi

Tributes are pouring in from across the country after the chef, author and television personality Lesego “LesDaChef” Semenya passed away after battling Covid-19. He was 39.

His death follows just four days after he tweeted that he believed his health was taking a turn for the better. All was looking up, and Mzansi was shocked when his death was announced on Monday, 12 July 2021.

During previous interviews with Food For Mzansi, the Sowetan-born LesDaChef said his loves of the culinary arts was inspired by his parents, who would cook together and have him and his siblings Joy and Kagiso join.

“My favourite recipes are the ones that have nostalgia and memories attached to them. Aromas and tastes are all linked to our sentiments and emotions. I love cooking dishes that my mom used to cook like ledombolo (steamed dumpling), mogodu (tripe), samp and beans,” he said.

After completing high school in 1999, Semenya studied towards a BCom degree at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He also completed a Grande Diploma in Food and Wine at Prue Leith Chefs Academy.

In 2018, Semenya launched his first cook book, Dijo: my food, my journey. He also starred as a judge on the Mzansi version of Top Chef South Africa, along with Neill Anthony as co-judge, with Lorna Masego presenting.

Twitter tributes

Words and people: these have been Lucinda's only two passions from a very young age. As soon as she found out that journalism was the perfect marriage of the two, she knew it was what she had to be. She has worked in many spheres within journalism, including crime and human interest news, lifestyle, and tech for publications such as The Cape Argus, Fairlady Magazine, Cape Town Etc, Getaway Magazine and Popular Mechanics. In her spare time, she can be found with a book in hand or chatting to someone to find out what their story is.
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