By: Mokgadi Mogy Mashako
From humble beginnings to securing the title of a culinary maestro, 31-year-old Tyron Adams’ journey embodies self-determination. Clinching the esteemed Shoprite Checkers 2023 Champion Boerewors crown, Adams is excited to share some of his award-winning recipes with South Africans. Raised in the picturesque Winelands of Wellington in the Western Cape, Adams often found himself surrounded by cherished family meals. His mother prepared these dishes, while his father dabbled in the kitchen with an experimental flair, igniting his culinary passion. “Meals were seen as family time. My parents believed in sitting around the table at dinner time and just conversing.”
It was in Grade 10 when Adams, who was the only boy in his consumer studies class, had to overcome his first hurdle. “We had to make marshmallows for our mid-term practical and I forgot my recipe at the supermarket. It’s fair to say it did not go well as I tried to make everything from the top of my head with no experience, and today I am a chef,” he told Vutivi News. He also studied hospitality at Boland College in Paarl, and then music production at Boston.
Having worked and climbed the ranks in various restaurants, he faced the harsh reality of retrenchment during the Covid-19 pandemic. With a young son looking up to him and a weight of responsibilities, he was on the verge of quitting his dreams. However, as a result of his resilience and love for his craft, Adams decided not only to endure but to thrive. “When Covid-19 hit and I got retrenched, I was forced to start my business without really having the capital. I decided on entering as many competitions as I could to gain some experience, funds, equipment, exposure, and create brand awareness,” he said.
Embarking on an entrepreneurial journey, Adams founded Kumin & Khords despite limited capital. The father of two intertwined his dual passions for music and food. “It has been a tough but blessed journey so far. Challenging, but you learn to appreciate the small things in life and always try your best,” he said. Beyond his personal achievements, Adams is also deeply concerned about Wellington’s gang-related stabbings. Through his business, he aspires to offer hope to young individuals. “Gangsterism is a big issue in our community. I grew up in Wellington in a section where most teachers resided. It was calm and peaceful, but under a kilometer away lay the parts that are more rough.”
In its 31st year, the competition draws boerewors enthusiasts from diverse backgrounds, with thousands of entries annually. There are multiple elimination rounds, overseen by the South African Chefs Association (SACA). This year’s panel of judges included Zola Nene, James Khoza, Zanele van Zyl, Carmen Niehaus, and Jeff Schueremans. Adams said that because he was competing against seasoned champions, he delved deep into research and was meticulous in his choice of spices and herbs.
He encouraged budding chefs, saying: “Don’t be afraid to back your abilities. You will never know how good you are unless you put yourself in a position to be judged.” His recipe surpassed nine other boerewors blends, securing him the top spot. He walked away with a Toyota Fortuner, R20,000 in cash, and the bragging rights of being crowned the country’s boerewors champion.
Discussing his recipe, the chef said: “I won’t reveal too much, but it’s about perfecting the details. For instance, perfectly toasting coriander seeds before grinding may seem minor, but it significantly enhances the final product.” South Africans can enjoy the winning recipe just in time for Heritage Day, which many also celebrate as “national braai day”.