Top Billing cooks up a storm with chef Brett Ladds
Former chef to uTata Madiba, Brett Ladds shares his recipe for entertaining royalty.
Within two years of opening his Pretoria restaurant Chefs @ 566, Brett has steered it into the top ten restaurants in South Africa. He’s followed it up with a book about the most extraordinary period in his life - his time as executive chef of the SA government and manager of the presidential guesthouse at Bryntirion Estate in Pretoria where he served both Mandela and Thabo Mbeki.
Chef Ladds was only three years out of matric when Nelson Mandela entrusted him to be his chef and Brett’s son Max is now a similar age and a sous-chef in Brett’s Chefs @ 566 kitchen.
Of the many Heads of State he cooked for during his time with Nelson Mandela, hosting the British monarch stood out for Brett. His dishes were rumoured to have moved music producer Quincy Jones to break into song and Cuban President Fidel Castro to offer Brett one of his famous cigars.
Running the Presidential guest house while preparing all meals was an eye-opener and Brett’s book, The Madiba Appreciation Club: A Chef's Story, has hilarious references to the drinking habits of some diplomats and the requests of visiting sheiks.
It gave Brett as much pleasure to make our former President a humble cup of rooibos tea but when called on to create a showstopper, he delivered.
Aside from the associations of time, place and personality which come with each dish, Brett has designed his restaurant so guests can easily interact with him. In the food, stories and atmosphere, that Madiba magic lives on. It’s a place where the association with uTata Madiba is respectfully celebrated but never overcooked – and the food speaks for itself.
Chefs @ 566
566 Serene Str, Garsfontein, Pretoria
T: (012) 998 8615
Open: Monday to Sunday 10:00 - 22:00
Buy Brett’s book
The Madiba Appreciation Club: A Chef's Story