A Strandfontein chef lives for the moment when his meals get served up.
Especially the following moment of silence and the appreciative, “Mmmm” of his customers as they savour his gourmet creation.
Keanon Jovan Michaels, 37, has been cooking since he was
9 years old.
The first dish he tackled was eggs and he proceeded to cook this up in various ways.
Keanon graduated in 2002 with a national diploma in catering and hospitality studies at Protea College, which is now known as Northlink College in Bellville. He trained at the Cape Sun Hotel.
He has had the honour of cooking for some celebrities when he worked for Etihad Airways from 2010 to 2012. This included Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliff; the musical band, Coldplay; and Fast and the Furious actress Michelle Rodriguez, to name a few. He has also appeared on television show Expresso, where he cooked some of his favourite recipes.
He told the Plainsman with a smile that last month he appeared in Pick * Pay’s Fresh Living Magazine on page eight.
It has taken him 20 years to get there and he is very happy and grateful for this achievement, he said.
In the magazine, he shares a recipe of soft poached eggs on grilled baby asparagus with orange scented Hollandaise sauce and bacon crumb, he said.
Keanon attended Dennegeur Primary school in Strandfontein and then later moved on to Muizenberg Junior School. He matriculated from Muizenberg High School in 2000.
As a young child, he struggled with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). While mathematics was a challenging subject for him, he said he loved geography. He is also a keen surfer.
His mother, Cheryl Michaels, is his main supporter who has always been there for Keanon. “My mom always believed in my ability to be great, to be excellent and saw how hard I worked. She never gave up on me and I am so grateful to her,” he said.
Keanon started his own production kitchen on Saturday April 22, 2012 at his home. He also started the Taste your passion event, with a 20-seater chef’s table and a three-course meal.
His former colleague and chef, Xen De Jongh said Keanon is always busy. “Keanon and I trained pupils at Mitchell’s Plain School of Skills to prepare them for work in 2009.
“Keanon still trains pupils at the school. He still loves working with the youth, he is also part of the 9Miles Project and trains the youth to become entrepreneurs,” he said.
A close friend and chef, Wayne “Huggie” Harries said Keanon loves his community.
“His dishes are unique and he loves to try new things. Sometimes it is tough to work under him but he is a passionate person and a go-getter. It takes passion, persistence and sacrifice to get to where you need to be. It all pays off in the end, keep giving and don’t stop,” he said.
Keanon doesn’t forget those who have helped him on his journey. He works very hard to get to where he needs to be, he said.
“I love to create, there’s no better satisfaction than to watch and hear people enjoy your food,” said Keanon.