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Front Runner 4 x 4: Sixteen Questions with Justin Bonello

Front Runner 4 x 4: Sixteen Questions with Justin Bonello

- June 05, 2017

Front Runner, Front Runner Outfitters, Justin Bonello

Justin Bonello is a prolific South African cook, adventurer, and entertainment entrepreneur. Justin's creative force has yielded more than twenty television shows, seven recipe books published by Penguin, and a documentary project called Leopards; a look at how the industrial modern-age has brought leopards onto the brink of extinction.

Born in Durban, South Africa, Justin grew up in Cape Town and credits his grandmother, Liz, for first introducing him to the art of cooking at age seven.

Entertainment production was another early fascination. Justin's mom, a producer in her own right, encouraged Justin to start working on film sets at the ripe age of fourteen. 

It didn't take long before Justin's passions for cooking and entertainment collided. Through characteristic South African grit and determination, Justin began blazing his own trail and he hasn't looked back, until now.

Justin's latest project, entitled Hooked and Cooked, throws it back to his early days of cooking. It's clear why Justin is a member of our Pride. He shares the Front Runner spirit. He was Born to Roam. 

front runner, front runner outfitters, justin bonello, gear, adventure

What is your top, must-have item for exploring/off-roading?

It would have to be my Stanley flask, closely followed by my personal camera, Canon 7d. 

What is the best thing you've seen while adventuring?

In the Baviaanskloof, I was fortunate enough to be involved in the collaring and release back into the wild of two Leopards. Those two leopards have inspired a lifelong mission to bring these animals to life that survive on the fringes of our urban and rural spaces. 

What's your nickname?

Bonnie. Bonfellow. JB. Juzzie.  

What charity do you identify with?

The Cape Leopard Trust. 

You're going on a road trip; what 3 people do you bring with you, dead or alive?

David Bowie. Keith Floyd. My missus (and my two kids, Sam and Gabriella). 

What's your current road trip playlist?

I'm a bit old school, but here goes: David Bowie, the Cure, the Verve, Joe Jackson, The Black Keys, Billy Idol. Madness, Arctic Monkeys, Foo Fighters, Depeche Mode, Goose, Kasabian, U2?. and so on. 

Name somewhere you'd like to visit, where you've never been.

Patagonia. There seems to be an untouched wildness there not dissimilar to most of Southern Africa that I relate to.  

What's your most embarrassing moment while exploring? 

Maybe not embarrassing, but certainly up there with very frustrating: I tore ligaments in both my ankles, 6 weeks apart while on a 3 month trip. At one stage, I was hobbling around with two moon boots on and wasn't very mobile, so much of my time on that trip was spent close to vehicles, bars and view points. Retrospectively, I should've canned the trip - and picked it up when my ankles had healed.  

What has been your most dangerous moment while exploring?

There have been a number of near misses, (trucks on the wrong side of the road on blind corners, mock charges by elephants, filming in the barrio in Maputo when all the xenophobia in SA was at its height ?), but the one that stands out for me was when I was at the base of Cahora Bassa in Mozambique, with the sluices wide open. For a moment, I imagined what it would be like if that dam wall's integrity should fail, how instant my death and everyone downstream's would be...  

What are you most grateful for?

My Family. Honestly, without them, what would be the point.  

What is your favorite flavor?

Peanut Butter.  

What is your least favorite flavor?


What is your favorite vehicle?  

Diesel Toyota Land Cruiser  

What is your least favorite vehicle?

Petrol Land Cruiser.  

Who is your role model?

David Attenborough. 

Sum up your life's philosophy in 3 words.

Honesty. Humility. Fun.

Meet more pride members here.