TWO weeks after his dad’s funeral, Mi Casa frontman J’Something was called to a meeting with Sun International and asked to open his own signature restaurant at its new Time Square casino and hotel development in Pretoria.
It was a bittersweet moment — his father, Jose, had worked as a food and beverage manager for Sun International for many years. J’Something’s mother, Lisa, also worked for the company and he spent part of his childhood living in resorts they worked at.
He jumped at the offer, and his new restaurant, Something’s Cooking by J’Something, which opens next month, will be dedicated to his father.
“I was teary eyed because what are the chances of this happening? I asked them if they knew who my dad was and it turned out half the people in the room worked with him at some point,” he said.
Among the dishes on his menu will be two dedicated to his parents — Pizza do Papa and Mama’s Prawns.
J’Something — real name Joao da Fonseca — said he traveled to Portugal last July to attend his father’s funeral, and two weeks after returning he received the call from Sun International.
J’Something, 28, said his parents moved back to Portugal weeks before he was born, but returned to South Africa when he was seven after his father was appointed food and beverage manager at the Fish River Sun in the Eastern Cape.
“I grew up in Sun International. My mom told me I was conceived at Lesotho Sun.”
Because his father mostly worked away from home, the singer spent most of his time with his mother.
While his dad’s absence had strained their relationship, the new restaurant deal had drawn him closer to his father, he said.
“I have wanted to open a restaurant for a while, but I didn’t have the manpower. When this happened, I knew it was my dad. That is why I dedicated the restaurant to him. This is way more than just opening a restaurant — it feels like I am walking in my dad’s footsteps.”
J’Something said he was feeling “emotional, anxious and excited” about the 147-seat restaurant, which is set to open on March 31. It will have a modern concrete and wood design and will at the top of the hotel, with views of Pretoria.
The menu will also feature “collaborations” — dishes he will make with friends in the music industry.
His first will be with jazz legend Hugh Masekela.
“I’ve got to know him well. I will sit in the kitchen with Hugh and ask what he likes eating, and I will co-create a meal with him and it will be named after him.
“Every three months there will be a new person I collaborate with.” - story published in Sunday Times.