Portugal-born Joao da Fonseca, a.k.a. J’Something, is known to millions of fans for his award-winning hits as the lead singer and songwriter of South African band Mi Casa, My Kitchen Rules SA Judge and restaurateur. To add to this, he is now a published author of a brand new cookbook, Something’s Cooking by J’Something.
It’s been quite the journey for J that was sparked by one ‘accidental’ foodie post on Instagram which lead to his own cooking shows, Something’s Cooking and What’s for Dinner. When he’s not performing with Mi Casa, he can be found at ‘Something’s Cooking by J’, his first restaurant in Pretoria. J’Something is living proof that dreams do come true when one is truly passionate.
His food philosophy is simple – it all begins with love and Something’s Cooking is packed full of delicious recipes that echo this. From everyday family dishes to treats J’Something cannot live without. He’s coined the term ‘Afrogese’ to describe his cooking which comes from his Portugese heritage and his love of South Africa.
In his book, J introduces you to his family and the food he loves to make for them. There is also a strong relationship between his music and food and some of his favourite DJs have curated playlists that tie into each chapter.
‘When I cook I dance… So, I want people to do the same thing.’
It’s clear that everything J’Something does is full of heart and this I could really feel when I was fortunate to meet him to find out a bit more about his food journey.
J, how would you describe your style of cooking?
It’s a mixture of Portugese and South African. It’s home cooking. It’s unpretentious. It’s fun.
What are the 5 ingredients you always have in your pantry?
Olive oil, chouriço, sea salt, garlic and chilli.
Tell us what your comfort food is and why?
It would have to be either a bowl of umngqusho (samp and beans) or a bowl of feijoada (Brazilian black bean stew). They’re both just such yummy things that hold so many memories for me.
What do you like to order when you go out to eat?
Depends on the restaurant but I tend to ask what makes that particular spot special and then go with what they recommend.
What is a common mistake most home chefs make?
To not taste their food. Taste as you go along. That’s the best thing about being the cook.
The best advice you’ve been given about cooking?
‘Trust your gut.’ This came from my wife, Coco.
Which chef do you look up to?
Dave Chang from Momofuku.
Any advice you would give to home cooks looking to make a career out of doing what they love?
Just do it because you love it.
The best way to learn even more about J’Something and what he loves cooking is to get yourself a copy Something’s Cooking by J’. With over 70 recipes, photographed and designed in Quivertree Publications’ striking and inimitable style, Something’s Cooking by J’Something is available at all good bookstores nationwide and on www.jsomething.com.
Photos courtesy of Craig Fraser and Donovon Thorne.