So Chef! brings a slice of Paris to Maseru

Lesotho Times - - Weekender - Mo­halenyane Phakela

THE So Chef! project will re­turn to Maseru from 19-24 Oc­to­ber 2015, fea­tur­ing a top French chef who will con­duct culi­nary work­shops and cre­ate gas­tro­nomic din­ners for food­ies and peo­ple of all ages.

Co-or­gan­ised by the French In­sti­tute of South Africa and the Al­liance Française net­work, So Chef! of­fers a var­ied pro­gramme of work­shops and a four-handed gas­tro­nomic din­ner – in which two chefs pre­pare one menu.

The first edi­tion of the project was held last year in Le­sotho and sev­eral South African ci­ties to pro­mote the lo­cal and French cul­tures.

Last year, French Chef Thibaud Renard and award-win­ning Mosotho chef Ska Moteane col­lab­o­rated in cook­ing a four-hand din­ner for 200 peo­ple at AVANI Le­sotho Ho­tel & Casino that fea­tured a fu­sion of French and Ba­sotho cui­sine.

Dur­ing last year’s So Chef!, 400 pupils from Thet­sane Sec­ondary school took part in a taste les­son, and 20 culi­nary en­thu­si­asts learnt to make cook­ies.

Ac­cord­ing to an Al­liance Française de Maseru me­dia re­lease, this year the event will kick off on 19 Oc­to­ber with a food tast­ing ses­sion for French stu­dents at their premises in Maseru. The premise of the ini­tia­tive is to ex­pose the stu­dents to French cui­sine as “food plays such an im­por­tant part in French cul­ture”.

A culi­nary work­shop will be held on 21 Oc­to­ber with the ladies at the Happy Cook­ing Club.

“Par­tic­i­pants are keen women who en­joy food and cook­ing. They oc­ca­sion­ally share tips from French to Asian cui­sine us­ing spe­cial spices and in­gre­di­ents,” read the me­dia re­lease, which added that the event would be lim­ited to 20 peo­ple so early book­ing is es­sen­tial.

This will be fol­lowed by more culi­nary work­shops at Amer­i­can In­ter­na­tional School of Le­sotho and Maseru High School on 22 and 23 Oc­to­ber re­spec­tively.

Ac­cord­ing to Al­liance Française de Maseru, the work­shops are meant to teach the stu­dents to make easy, sim­ple and bal­anced dishes.

Lo­cal Chef Ima Setipa will work with French Chef Yoric Tièche on 20 Oc­to­ber 2015 to cre­ate a four­hand din­ner at Primi Pi­atti restau­rant.

“The din­ner will also in­clude wine tast­ing and live mu­sic, mak­ing it a fu­sion of Fran­coso­taly (French, Sotho and Ital­ian),” the French cul­tural cen­tre said.

Chef Ima’s pro­file re­veals that

she dis­cov­ered cook­ing in Aus­tralia as she was work­ing part­time as aide de cui­sine at the restau­rant La Grange. Al­though she was then a stu­dent at the univer­sity, and her job at the restau­rant was meant as a way to sup­port her stud­ies, she de­cided that this was go­ing to be her job that was go­ing to be­come a chef. Since then she has cooked in sev­eral res­tau­rants all over the world, in­clud­ing Switzer­land and Le­sotho where she re­cently opened the al­ready fa­mous Primi Pi­atti at Maseru Mall. She uses sub­tle spices and herbs in en­hanc­ing her favourite dishes - fish and seafood.

Chef Ima told the Week­ender this week that, al­though it would not be the first time she will work with an in­ter­na­tional chef, she was ex­cited be­cause with the prospect of en­com­pass­ing tra­di­tional Se­sotho cui­sine in the din­ner.

“I am an Aus­tralian, born in Malaysia, who is mar­ried to a Mosotho man. When I tried to cook papa for the first time for my hus­band, it turned out hard like a brick,” she said.

“This will give me a greater knowl­edge of the Se­sotho cui­sine as we will also be work­ing with one of my em­ploy­ees from Primi Pi­atti who hap­pens to be a Mosotho.

“We will be work­ing with Yoric to pre­pare an Ital­ian-french-se­sotho cui­sine. We have al­ready started work­ing on a menu which will be used for 20 years and will also be of­fered at my restau­rant af­ter this.”

Chef Ima Setipa (cen­tre) with Primi Pi­atti restau­rant staff.

Chef Yoric Tieche.

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