Tefo Sebapalo Crowned Botswana’s Best Traditional Chef 

  • The Setlhare Lodge executive chef’s delectable dishes won the judges’ hearts and taste buds at Robertsons Centenary Cuisine Cook-Off


The vibrant city of Gaborone witnessed a culinary showdown at The Pavilion Restaurant where Robertsons Centenary Cuisine Cook-Off celebrated Botswana’s rich gastronomic heritage over the weekend.

Chef Tefo Sebapalo emerged triumphant and was duly crowned Botswana’s Best Traditional Chef.

The native of Tonota – who is an executive chef at Mashatu’s Setlhare Lodge – brought his A-game to the competition, meticulously preparing a delectable array of dishes that won the judges’ hearts and taste buds.

Culinary masterpiece

His winning menu featured lamb curry, pap, spinach, mosutlhwane and letlhodi salad. This culinary masterpiece earned Sebapalo and his team a well-deserved cash prize of P25,000, which he plans to use to settle his daughter’s medical bills.

“I never take any competition lightly and I thoroughly prepared for the Robertsons Cook off Competition,” the elated chef told Time Out.

World-renowned culinary expert and adjudicator at the competition, Chef Joseph Seeletso, lauded the winning dish for its excellent presentation and perfect use of Robertsons spices.


“The winning food had a lovely presentation, the proper use of Robertson’s spices, and an evident will to cook,” he said. “It was just the perfect dish.”

Botswana sirloin steak 

Chef Seeletso’s demonstration of a Botswana sirloin steak with mosutlhwane rolls and kgodu ya lerotse braised butternut was a highlight, showcasing his unique take on traditional Botswana cuisine.

In addition to Chef Seeletso, Chef Thulani Moyo also served as a judge, emphasising the importance of originality, presentation, taste and cleanliness in the judging criteria.

“We tallied the marks based on the originality of the dish, presentation, taste, and the health and safety of the cooking process,” said Chef Moyo.

20 teams, community spirit

The Robertsons Food Festival was more than just a competition; it was a grand celebration of Botswana’s culinary traditions.

The event featured 20 teams of contestants, each assembling a team of four to compete in creating traditional Botswana dishes on a day filled with culinary excellence, community spirit, and cultural pride.

Adding to the festival’s vibrant atmosphere was a performance by popular musician Han C, who entertained the crowd with his energetic performance.

A memorable event

The event also featured numerous on-the-spot prize giveaways, ensuring a day full of fun and excitement for all attendees.

The competition awarded P15,000 to the second-place winner and P10,000 to the third-place winner, thus encouraging the celebration of Botswana’s culinary talents further.

The Robertsons Centenary Cuisine Cook-Off not only honoured a century of culinary excellence but also spotlighted the exceptional skills of local chefs, making it a memorable event for all who attended.

Aroma of traditional dishes 

As the aroma of traditional dishes filled the air and the community came together in celebration, it was clear that the spirit of Botswana’s rich gastronomic heritage was alive and thriving.

Chef Tefo Sebapalo’s victory stands as a testament to the dedication, passion and skills of Botswana’s culinary artisans.