CHEF Nti (real name Nthabiseng Nti Ramaboa) oozes creativity in the kitchen as well as with her wardrobe.
Rather than be dismissive of culinary dishes that are unique to South African culture, she has chosen to be innovative with them. This explains why her e.tv cooking show, The Perfect Ace, was loved by viewers.
She generated much excitement around everyday staples.
This skill is largely informed by her sponge-like personality when it comes to all things culinary-related as well as an adventurous streak to marry innovation with flavours.
Soon, she will be in the kitchen of Miami’s La Petite Maison, which earned a coveted Michelin star.
She explains: “Well, that came from my interactions with Nigeria. I just came back from there after judging the African Young Chef competition. There were chefs, including judges and mentors, from all over the continent there. The people I was interacting with have built up to this.”
Chef Nti continues: “I’m going to be an understudy at this French bistro, which is budget. As such, she pairs food with love.
That inherent appreciation for food has been masterfully interwoven into her career plans.
Chef Nti notes: “Food is cultural. If you look at any chef, you will see this. For me, it’s about celebrating South Africa’s culinary heritage with food. But I like to infuse a modern touch with Mediterranean flavours, if that makes sense. That’s why I’m going to Miami’s La Petite Maison. They do that sort of French Mediterranean that you will find in my food.”
She continues: “With my first cooking show I was sponsored by Ace. There I was showing people how to make special meals using pap. Everyone has a warm story about pap – it unites us as much as soccer and rugby tend to.
“With the show, I showed them how to make everything from gnocchi, pap chips, pap pizza, tarts to cakes/flans.”
These days she has a regular insert on e.tv’s Sunrise breakfast show every Thursday.
By the way, she has three signature dishes that have become a firm favourite with fans and loved ones.
“It’s the stuff I made with the Perfect Ace Super Maize Meal. So I have a coconut and maize flan.
“I have these spinach and feta croquettes where, instead of potato, I use pap, which has the same consistency.
“They come out crunchy on the outside and soft and cheesy on the inside. I also make this maize pizza.”
She’s no stranger to Miami as she has been there many times before. She says: “I’m going to be going back to basics. That (meaning the US) is where I started my culinary journey. I was based in LA.
“That is where I trained. I started a show and my blogging journey was conceived.
“My research guided and shaped me.
“I’m going back to look at what they are offering and bring it back home.
“It’s all about seeing what I can adapt – it’s not a cut and paste situation. As much I will be hitting the food scene there, I will also be taking South Africa’s culinary scene there.”
Foodies and fans can follow her blog to follow her journey. 1 litre (4 cups) water 1 chicken stock cube 500ml (2 cups) maize meal 50g butter 50g (½ cup) grated Parmesan or cheddar cheese 250g boerewors sausage, or Chorizo or frankfutters 150g Sliced button mushrooms 1 Sliced red onion 200g chopped cherry tomatoes, halved 100g (1 cup) grated cheddar cheese fresh basil leaves
Heat oven to 190°C. Grease a large baking sheet. In a large saucepan, bring water and chicken stock cube to the boil. Slowly pour in the maize meal, a little at a time, stirring constantly until completely absorbed. Lower heat, and cook stirring for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Mixture must be soft and spreadable. Remove from heat, stir in Parmesan cheese, spread pap onto baking sheet, to 5cm thickness. Brus base wit Arra ingredie basil, on Bake minutes sausage and the s maize m crisp. Garn basil lea into wed warm.