Chef Bogatsu inspires pastry perfection at Sandton Sun
Sandton Sun’s new pastry chef, Beverly Bogatsu, is the queen of confectionary creations in the hotel’s kitchens, where she is creating new dessert recipes and menus, and infusing new life into golden favourites on the menu, ‘making them pop again’, she says.
Chef Bogatsu has spent five years at various Tsogo Sun hotels starting with 54 on Bath in Rosebank, where she was a pastry sous chef for over two years to 2014 before moving to The Palazzo at Montecasino as pastry chef. She was also involved in training and assisting staff at Southern Sun Maputo in Mozambique in 2014, and at Paradise Sun Hotel in Seychelles in 2016.
An accidental love for pastry
Bogatsu fell in love with the culinary world by default. After completing matric in Rustenburg in 2003, she went to register for her dream course in interior design at Tshwane University of Technology, but was too late. So she opted for national diplomas in both Food & Beverage and Professional Cooking at Tshwane North College. ‘The decision was an easy one for me because my mother was in the industry for 32 years and I soon loved the practical aspect of the training.’
Bogatsu also earned the opportunity to spend what she describes as some of the most amazing years of her working life in UAE, first at Fujairah Rotana Resort and Spa from 2007 to 2009, and then at Bloomingdales Forty Carrots in Dubai as a pastry demi chef de partie and then a pastry chef de partie until 2012. A career highlight was winning the Emirates Culinary Guild Merit Award in 2009 in a wedding cake competition in the UAE.
Bogatsu’s culinary philosophy is simplicity. ‘Complicated recipes are not for me. I use seasonal fresh products that can be economically sourced and work on creating a master dish that attracts the eye.’ She loves many things about being a pastry chef, including the opportunity to be artistic. ‘I didn’t become an interior designer as I thought I would, but I love being creative and sketching my ideas for plating – and then going back to drawing to perfect my plate.’
Inspired dessert creations
Courtesy of Bogatsu’s inspirations, Sandton Sun’s San Restaurant has a new a la carte dessert menu that includes Flexible chocolate ganache using 70 percent Valrhona Chocolate – for all chocolate lovers; White chocolate semifreddo with fennel-infused strawberries, which Bogatsu describes as fresh, tangy and colourful; Pumpkin tart with gingerbread strudel – Beverly’s favourite; and Whipped goats cheese panna cotta with beetroot jellies and brulee oranges – for diners with less of a sweet tooth.
Bogatsu has had several mentors throughout her career, but she credits Gerard Vingerling, now Tsogo Sun’s executive chef for the Sandton Mile as the person who has had the biggest impact. She has worked with him at 54 on Bath, at Palazzo, and now at Sandton Sun.
Bogatsu shared one of her favourite recipes from the Sandton Sun dessert menu:
White chocolate semifreddo with fennel-infused strawberries
For the semifreddo:
1 ¼ cups whipping cream
1 ¼ cups heavy cream
1 Tblsp powdered gelatine
3 Tblsp milk
¼ cup sugar
5 egg yolks
100g white cooking chocolate
In a small ramekin, cover the gelatine powder with a little bit of water and set aside. In a bowl mix the yolks, heavy cream, milk and sugar and cook over a double boiler until thick and a custard-like texture (being careful not to overcook the eggs). Add the white chocolate and fold till melted. Remove from the heat and stir in the soaked gelatine, leave for about 10 min to cool down.
In a separate bowl or mixing bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, whip the cream till soft peak. Then fold in the cream into the egg and white chocolate using a spatula. Pour into desired mould (preferably silicon as it unmoulds easily). Place in the freezer for six-eight hours or overnight.
For the fennel strawberries:
5-8 fresh strawberries, sliced in half
¼ cup sugar
½ fennel sliced thinly
1 lemon zest
In a deep small tray or in a vacuum pack plastic, carefully place the sliced strawberries, then place the sliced fennel on top of the strawberries. Sprinkle the zest and sugar on top. Seal and let it sit for eight hours or you can make them a day in advance.