Words by Zeenat Mowzer
South Africa is home to leading female culinary masters who run their own businesses and are making a difference in their industry and community. Meet three of these chefs who are bringing authentic and new flavours to the local cooking industry.
Nthabiseng Nti Ramaboa
Affectionately called ‘Chef Nti’, Nthabiseng Nti Ramaboa is a trailblazing entrepreneur with an action-packed agenda. Celebrities from both South Africa and abroad, rely on her enviable gastronomic talent to ensure that healthy and irresistible cuisine, is served at their glittering special occasions.
In 2014 she started her blog, P.S I Cooked This (psicookedthis.com), which featured content inspired by her sincere love of homespun dishes and fine dining. Having pursued a career in fashion, she was well equipped to create her own collection of aprons. Chef Nti was recently approached by Danone to formulate a drinkable yoghurt and has catered for brands such as Fatti’s & Moni’s and Albany.
Eish yah neh…!!! I’m GRATEFUL for so many things… || here wearing ‘Mathato’ apron from my 2016/17 apron collection… || how so much has changed… new collection coming 🔜 & this time around with a retail partner || Your latter will be greater…🙏🏾❤️✨#chefnti #cheflife #chefsofinstagram #aproncollection #aprons #foodie #taketastefurther MU: @vuyovaroy 📷: @accordingtojerri
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After experiencing an unrewarding period of her life, food stylist and recipe developer Khanya Mzongwana joined forces with her partner to open a pop-up restaurant, Off-The-Wall. According to her, the pop-up restaurant trend has gained momentum thanks to diners and chefs who are embracing experimentation and expression with food.
She may not have a formal cooking qualification but has enjoyed ample work experience, under the mentorship of chef Brent Mills in the Eastern Cape, for two years. Music makes the challenge of forming her recipes more exciting and she gathers ideas for them from nature and black South African culture. Although familiar with a variety of cuisine, she remains in touch with her roots by indulging in traditional local delicacies such as umngqusho, made with corn and sugar beans.
A holder of a diploma from the Chef Training and Innovation Academy, Mogau Seshoene expressed pride in her African heritage by founding The Lazy Makoti. This food solutions brand provides enlightening classes on South African cuisine to women who are keen to boost their culinary skills. It also offers recipe development to corporates, with Shoprite, McCain Foods and LG being amongst her clientele.
To honour her for her commendable work, she received the title of “Tshwane Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2015” and was awarded a coveted spot on Forbes’ “30 Under 30” list in 2016. One of her career highlights was delivering a TED lecture about the importance of protecting our food culture. As she says, “Let the French make their crème brulees, while you introduce the world to Jollof and Chakalaka!”
Featured Image: Michael Browning, Unsplash