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Chefs' spotlight: Hugo Uys

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Hugo Uys — pronounced "ace" — is a New York City-based chef and entrepreneur specializing in South African cuisine. He hails from Johannesburg and calls himself a "culinary astronaut," an allusion to his fearless sense of adventure in the kitchen. "Cooking isn't about avoiding the mistakes," says Uys. "It is the mistakes."

Uys brings his own unique perspective to bear on traditional South African dishes. For example, he cooks game over a braai, a traditional way of cooking over an open fire similar to grilling, and tucks it into California-style tacos, or the flavors of the South using mesquite and hickory to barbecued ostrich steaks.

Uys served as manager of the Grove Street Café shortly after his arrival in the United States and later became co-owner of Paris Commune, located in West Village, and Shag, a cocktail lounge. He now caters large events and serves as a hospitality consultant.

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