Get to know SA Bake Off's tasty new co-host

2016-10-13 14:08

Cape Town – After a record breaking first season the Great South African Bake Off returns to screen on BBC Lifestyle (DStv 174) on Tuesday, 18 October at 20:00.

Lentswe Bhengu joins Anne Hirsch and the judges Shirley Guy and Tjaart Walraven, for the second season as it takes over the presenting role from Donovan Goliath.

Lentswe, a trained chef himself brings with him a talent, experience, passion and an impressive resume. 

He presented South Africa’s first food web series, Africa on a Plate and Kasi Kitchen on SowetoTV, and he is also the local ambassador of the ‘Chefs who share – Young Chef Award’. 

The award gives upcoming chefs the opportunity to be recognised as outstanding talents.

What’s interesting about his story is that he switched to the culinary industry after working in the finance industry.

"I've always been into art and food and for a long time I wanted to open up my own restaurant. I started cooking at 8," says Lentswe.

He attributes his early interest in food from watching his mom cook. And one of his prize possessions is a recipe book his mom gave him.

"My mom gave me a blank recipe book and told me to go and fill it up with all the nice things I wanted to make for my family. I still have it."

He continues, "One of the first recipes in the book is a savoury tart. And every time I go home, even though I can make much better things now, they still ask for me to make it."

From finance to food

Despite his passion for food, after high school Lentswe decided to do a BCom degree and while he was doing really well in the finance industry he wasn't content.

"I spoke to my dad and he said to me if you can't tick yes to all the boxes in your life, that's what you should change and that's when I embarked on this journey."

After graduating as a professional from The Culinary Academy in the Cape Winelands he worked in restaurants for two years. 

And now all his passions are aligned.

"I am so fortunate that all my passions are together - TV, food, it was always destined to be. It's great it really doesn’t feel like a job," he says.

Co-presenting Bake Off SA is just up his alley as he was looking to do more TV work. 

Lentswe confesses that baking is not his strong point and he has huge admiration for the amateur bakers who have made it to the show. 

His presenting style

Being a the new guy on the block he says he will be bringing a fresh perspective and that being a trained chef himself and understanding the cooking process enables him to sympathise with the bakers. 

"I'll also be bringing some energy and a lot of facial expressions. Yes, facial expressions. I am not very big on telling you what I think but you'll see the answer on my face. I think it will turn out well for TV," he laughs. 

He’ll also be dishing out hugs, pats on the back and high fives. 

On working with Anne Hirsch

"I met Anne at the audition and we hit it off like a house on fire. We've just clicked really well."

His biggest baking disaster

"I've had a couple of baking disasters. A memorable one is my attempt at Millionaire shortbread. It has three different layers which all have to be made at different stages – mine just became one big mush."

What he's looking forward to in the new season

"The winner, tasting everything and watching somebody who has a bad bake lift themselves up and actually serve something. For me, if you've made it this far it would be sad to not finish a bake."

(Photos: BBC Lifestyle)

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