Last week when a fellow Dijo lover and I were discussing the book and how we cannot wait for it to get back in stores, I did not think that the week after I would be reading of its writer’s passing.
"I'm Just An Ordinary Guy Who Likes Fiddling With Food"
The heartbreaking news came through a tweet on the 12th of July 2021. Earlier in the month Lesego revealed that he tested positive for Covid-19, sharing his experience and progess in a series of tweets. He also revealed that he was fighting the virus whilst living with a comorbity. He pleaded with the public not to undermine the virus.
From Corporate To Celebrated Chef
Born and raised in Soweto, Les Da Chef worked as a process engineer before leaving the corporate world in 2008 to pursue his business dreams. He went on to study towards being a chef at Prue Leith Chef’s Academy, later coming out victoriously with a Grande Diploma in Food and Wine. This academic achievement stands amongst not one but five of his other diplomas in wine and patisserie that have international merit. He humourously described his diploma as “an expensive signed carboard” that confirmed he was a chef.
He shared his knowledge and passion for his craft on Power FM. He also graced South Africa with his presence through massive media platforms such as Metro FM and 702. Les Da Chef’s achievements do not stop here. He was a judge on Top Chef SA, he was Mail & Guardian’s Top 200 Young South Africans in 2015 and House & Leisure’s Rising Star. The list goes on and on.
In 2015 his company LesDaChef Culinary Solutions Pty Ltd was officially registered as a company. In 2018 Lesego released his kasi-feel cookbook Dijo: My Food, My Journey which went on to become a national bestseller, and rightly so. On the 30th of June he tweeted that he officially owned the full rights to the book and that it would, from now on, be self-published.
Lesego shows that one’s dreams are achievable with the right attitude and through hard work. He truly impacted the lives of many, with one of his many supporters stating that he made her fall in love with cooking. Another stated that she survived the very first lockdown with the help of his recipes.
May Lesego ‘Les Da Chef’ Semenya’s impact and legacy continue to spread over South Africa and the world. May his light continue to inspire and educate people through his work.