People of Jozi – Lydon Dodo from Van Der Linde

Van Der Linde restaurant in Linden has become known over the last few months since it’s opening for it’s fabulous in-house bakery which turns out tasty breads and croissants on a daily basis, and almost always there is a queue of people waiting to buy their apple sourdough, farmhouse, seed, ciabatta or rye breads as well as their light and buttery croissants (made with specially sourced butter from the Free State) at 07h00 when the doors open.

The young chef heading up this thriving and successful section of Van Der Linde is 29-year old Lydon Dodo, a man with a troubled past who has fought and worked hard to overcome his demons to get where he is today.

We caught up with Lydon to find out more…

Lydon, you are the ‘bread whisperer’ – tell us about your talent and how you realised that this was the career for you?

My passion for food started at an early stage in life, but I realised that baking was my true passion when I was in my last year of my studies doing the patisserie certificate and diploma at Capsicum Culinary Studio in Cape Town.

You have had, as some would say a ‘troubled past’ – what was the defining moment for you when you knew you had to make a change, and what steps did you take to effect that change.

My defining moment was after I lost my child, I found myself in a dark place again and a friend of mine told me “do you think your kid would be proud of you right now” and that hit me like a ton of bricks and also got me thinking about the things I was doing and also made me see how I’d been hurting those that love me. I didn’t take drastic steps to change, I would say it was more willpower to do better and having faith and believing in myself to be a better human.

What is your favourite thing/item/dish to make and why?

Wild apple sourdough bread with beetroot soup. I just love the flavour of natural levain bread and the natural sweet and earthy flavour of the beetroot soup.

If people came to dine at Van Der Linde – what could they expect?

Quality food, friendly staff, and a team that would go out of their way to make your dining experience one to remember.

If you hadn’t have become a chef – what would you rather have been, and why?

A musician, Since I was young I’ve been involved in classical music and I play a few instruments and I sing.

What do you do on your day off – if you have one?

Firstly sleep as late as I can (ha ha), spend time with my girlfriend, eat out, read, research new culinary trends and watch a lot of Netflix.

If you could have dinner with one person (alive or dead) who would it be and why?

Tupac, he was a great poet and his lyrics still resonate with societal issues.

Rapid Fire with Lydon…

1. Shoe size? 7

2. How many siblings do you have? None. I’m an only child. But my grandmother has 17 siblings and my mom has eight brothers and sisters so I’ve got loads of relatives!

3. What makes you nervous? Singing in front of large crowds

4. What do you do when you are nervous? Try and just not think about anything at that moment

5. Favourite sport to watch on telly? I’m not a sports fan

6. Person who has impacted your life the most? My Grandma and my Mom

7. Favourite quote or saying? Failing at something does not define your future, keep on pushing!

Find out more about Van Der Linde restaurant here… 

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