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Sebastian Newman: Bringing fun & flavour into the mix 

We unveil the influences behind Cape Town’s coolest foodie on the block, Sebastian Newman   

Sebastian (fondly known as ‘BAS’ by the greater public) began his journey into the culinary arts as a teenager. After high school, he went on to study patisserie at the Capsicum Culinary Studio.  

A decade later, Sebastian has grown into a noteworthy chef, food stylist, cooking lecturer and content creator, not to mention being quite the foodie socialite. But there’s more to his story than just a damn fine malva pudding recipe and a few viral TikTok videos. In fact, his is a story where talent meets determination and an undying passion for delicious food.  

@sebastiannewman0 #question from @sebastiannewman0 how to make the perfect steak #mzansifoodie #steak ♬ love nwantinti (ah ah ah) – CKay

Up and at it!  

“Coming from a typical coloured South African household, every occasion was marked with a feast, from celebrating Easter and Christmas to every birthday in between, which is probably where my love for food originated,” he laughs.  

“I studied patisserie at Capsicum, initially wanting to become one of the country’s top pastry chefs. But when I entered the industry, I realised that it wasn’t really for me; being in a kitchen, doing the same thing every day, wasn’t something I wanted to do for the rest of my life. So, I quit.”  

This led him to an internship with beloved celebrity chef Zola Nene on SABC’s Expresso Morning Show. “This is where I discovered my love for food media. My qualification helped me form the base of my career and helped me with the fundamentals I needed to get going. After my internship at Expresso, I was offered a job as food assistant on Afternoon Express, and the rest, as they say, is history!”  

Sebastian has become quite the TV personality in South Africa, showing viewers how to make incredible dishes from the simplest ingredients, and making the kitchen less intimidating to the average food enthusiast. He’s even hosted a few cooking competitions and catered for some stunning events.  

“Sometimes it’s really crazy and can become very overwhelming, but it’s so rewarding at the same time,” he says when asked about wearing so many different hats in the food landscape. “Conceptualising something, whether it be a recipe, a shoot or a piece of content, and then seeing it come together – and even more, seeing people enjoy what I have produced – makes it all worth it.”  

Baking with a bang!

Though the ‘chef in the city’ lifestyle can be rather exhausting, Sebastian believes staying hot and in demand is always a good thing. “I am blessed and I’m doing good. Busy, but good,” he smiles.  

“With everything I do, I prioritise what is most important in that given moment, and then tick off the to-do-list from there. I also believe it is very important to switch off from both work and your social life. I’m the biggest advocate of self-care, and treat myself to a bubble bath, a massage or even just sharing a glass of wine with my loved ones every now and then to reward myself for my hard work.” 

I want to take it all in rather than living in the hustle and bustle and always focusing on what’s coming next

And rightfully so, he deserves to spoil himself! He’s been working tirelessly at building his brand,
BakesWithBAS, an online foodie series in which he teaches people that baking isn’t something you need to be afraid of.  

“There is this belief that baking is a science, which scares people, and yes it is, but I also believe that if you can read, you can bake… The recipe has been tested and written for you – just follow the instructions,” he explains.  

“So, what I do is get a familiar face, an influencer or celeb, on an episode with me and the understanding is that if your favourite person can do it, then so can you. The dream is to keep pushing BakesWithBAS, and make it a household brand and something I can do full-time.”  

Against the odds

The dynamic chef attributes much of his grit and know-how to his experience on television, and working with a team that has helped him push boundaries and think out of the box.   

“Expresso pushed me into spaces I never thought I would have entered. I’ve learnt so much in my time there. I came in as an intern, then moved to being a food assistant, then directed food inserts, became a content producer and am currently head of editorial content. The company has allowed me to grow in so many ways and for that I will be forever grateful,” he says.  

“The [TV daily show] environment is fast-paced, and in so many ways you’re forced to learn as you go, and that has set me up for so many other situations I’ve had to deal with in life.”  

Sebastian also praises his friend and teacher, Zola Nene, who has been on this journey with him, rooting for him to the end. “She has really pushed me to realise more than I thought I could.

Don’t overthink it, just do it! If it’s something you’re passionate about, there are so many avenues

“In 2014, I was diagnosed with TB, having just left my first job and started at Expresso. Zola didn’t allow that to get me down. As soon I was able to be back at work, she refused to let any of the other staff treat me like I couldn’t do work as if I wasn’t sick – which made me work that much harder to get better and keep pushing. She has always been one of my biggest cheerleaders and, even though we don’t work together any more, she still inspires me every single day.” 

His personal journey has made him extremely passionate about reaching out to young people who aspire to enter the culinary space and make magic in the kitchen and beyond.  

“Don’t overthink it, just do it! If it’s something you’re passionate about, there are so many avenues. With the Digital Age we’re living in, there are so many platforms that can help you learn and put yourself out there. If you can’t afford to study professionally, you can reach out to a local restaurant and ask about shadowing etcetera, and work there to get some experience,” he advises.  

Filled with flavour

Giving us a glimpse into his world, Sebastian admits that he could never pick a favourite dish he’s made. “It’s like asking someone to name their favourite child!” he laughs. “I do have favourite types of cooking and baking, though. I enjoy any dessert that has more of everything – more sugar, more chocolate and my favourite flavour, caramel. When it comes to cooking, I love family-style feasting where all the food is placed on the table and passed along as everyone dishes up together.”  

For this young chef, learning to build new flavour profiles and put his heart and soul into his dishes comes from his fondest memories. “Growing up in a coloured household, and coming from a culture of Cape Malay foods – curries and koesisters all the way to pickled fish and glazed gammon – you learn to appreciate a variety of flavours. So, when I started cooking myself, those flavours always came to the forefront.  

“I am a big believer in the fact that food is nostalgia, and everything we do and enjoy is based off a nostalgic memory. So, I think my heritage and background play a huge influence in what I cook and the way that I cook.”  

When it comes to making a dish look as good as it tastes, Sebastian lets us in on his trade secret: “Every food stylist has their own way or ‘style of styling’. For me, the most important thing is that you shouldn’t overthink it. Let the food stay the focus of the scene. And a spritz, whether it’s water or oil, is your best friend!”  

He’s come far, but knows he still has miles to go, and couldn’t be more excited. As he makes his way through the rest of 2024, Sebastian remains committed to practicing gratitude and appreciating the moment. 

“I want to take it all in rather than living in the hustle and bustle and always focusing on what’s coming next,” he explains. “My advice to MAN readers is to spend more time with loved ones, because tomorrow isn’t promised. So, tell the people around you that you love them, that you’re proud of them and appreciate them. And always share a little kindness.”  

Fast Facts  

Full Name:
Sebastian Luke Newman

5 December 1995


Elsies River, Cape Town 



Favourite Scent:
If we’re talking room fragrances, anything with lemon verbena. If we’re talking cologne, then Fusion d’Issey by Issey Miyake. 

Fashion Must-Haves:
A good fitted suit, classic white sneakers and a great pair of sunglasses. 

Currently Playing On Repeat:
Anything by Chris Brown. 

Favourite Cuisine:
Asian or Cape Malay – a good mutton salomie is life.

Go-To Chill Spot:
A wine farm. 

What Would Your Superpower Be?
Flying – to beat Cape Town’s traffic. 

Best Piece of Advice Received:
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help, you can only do so much by yourself.” 

Pet Food Peeve:
Desserts with cooked fruit or nuts in them. I also cannot stand people who talk to you with their mouths open while they’re eating – chew your food and then we’ll chat! 

Best Cooking Hack:
Cheat’s Marshmallow Frosting – 4 egg whites, 1 cup of castor sugar, stir together over a double-boiler, once hot to the touch transfer to a mixer and whip until cool. Use to ice cupcakes or a cake. 


Words by: Charndré Emma Kippie
Photographer: Zhann Solomons
Stylist: Mia-Tess Smith  

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