The Writers Write Interview: Justin Bonello

In this post, we share our interview with Justin Bonello. The South African author answered our questions in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Justin Bonello is a cook, traveller, father, husband, filmmaker, urban farmer, and entrepreneur. He is also the author of several cook books.

The Writers Write Interview With Justin Bonello

The Author? Justin Bonello
Birthday? 21 June
The Venue? Little Tuscany, Bryanston, Johannesburg
The Book? Justin Bonello Cooks…for Friends
The Interviewer? Ulrike Hill


If love were a colour, what colour would it be?  Yellow
What is the colour of anger?  Red
What is the colour of money?  Blue
What is the colour of beauty?  Green 

If your life were a city, what city would it be?  Bangkok
What is the number you associate with reading? 7
What is the number you associate with cooking? 6
What is the number you associate with writing? 8 and a half
What is your favourite number?

Writing Sense
Writing sounds like laughter
Writing looks like jumping through hoops
Writing tastes like Mississippi mud pies
Writing smells like a rose 
If your book were a country, it would be Lesotho or Mozambique
Where would it shop? the market
It would look tatty and worn out
It would taste like Paella
It would smell like a book
It would feel well worn 

More Q & A

What is your favourite meal?
An Italian dish called Vongole. Clam Pasta. My dad taught me how to make it.

What are you reading?
I read Sci-Fi and Fantasy to escape. I’m reading the sixth book in the Throne series. I have a stack of books next to my bed. I’m also reading Bloodriver by Tim Butcher.

Where do you live?
Noordhoek in Cape Town. I used to live in Observatory. I only realised how unhappy I was in Observatory once I moved.

Why do you live there?
For the garden. But we have burrowing moles and I do not have the heart to kill them.

How has living there affected your writing?
My best writing happens when I am depressed. I’m not unhappy now. It’s the joy of writing a good cookbook.

What is your favourite quality about yourself?

What is your least favourite quality about yourself?
My temper

Do you have a favourite quote? 
There are no bad cooks just friends who are not hungry enough. (Note from interviewer: will be using this quote the next time some-one criticises my cooking!)

What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life? 

Dichotomy. I am a cook and a film producer. I run a small company with 27 staff but I get stuff out there. My work is global.

How did you come up with the titles of your books?
I had little to do with the titles.

Who designed the covers? 

This is a long story. I wrote my first book – 40 pages – many years ago. I went to a club called The Curve. The barman poured me a scotch and I told him that the scotch was too small. His name was Quint Bruton and he was a graphic designer. He moved in with me later. When Penguin phoned me about writing a book I told them I had a book. Quint designs all my covers.

Why did you choose to write this particular book?

The publishers told me to.

What was the hardest part about writing this book?


Mini-Bucket List?
I don’t have a list. I have a bucket book! I have been to many places, experienced many things. I want to write a fantasy book. I want to escape the ‘creatively corrupt’.
(Interviewers note: at the beginning of the interview Justin mentioned that he always wanted to do 3 things: Do stand-up comedy, write a book and sing. He has achieved the first two.)

When you stop writing, and look back on your life, what thoughts would you like to have? 

I want to be relevant.

For more information on the book – Justin Bonello Cooks…for Friends and to find out more about Justin Bonello visit Cooked in Africa

If you want to read more of our interviews, click here