One To Watch
jo’burger Luyanda Mafanya’s recipes are growing her brand online – one Like at a time
When food blogger Luyanda Mafanya tweeted local hip-hop star Cassper nyovest in May 2017, asking whether she could cook for him in her capacity as private chef, it was a shot in the dark. her gutsy request landed her a surprising response from the celebrity: if she secured 10K retweets, he’d oblige. The retweets literally happened overnight, she scored the gig and amassed a few thousand additional followers for her brand, Cooking with Luyanda.
This 24-year-old Johannesburger’s chutzpah has since seen her fronting campaigns for Woolworths, steers and albany, and she’s currently a contestant in the latest season of My Kitchen Rules. she puts this popularity down to her authenticity as a self-taught chef. ‘People relate to me because I’m presenting normal, easy food. I’m not trying to cook scallops or ceviche. I’m serving simple seafood pastas and homely stews.’ her 22K Instagram followers are proof of this appeal, with ‘likes’ rolling in for dishes such as cheesy meatballs, samp and lamb stew, and beef bones with chunky vegetables. ‘It’s want-to-get-your-hands-in-there type of food,’ she attests, explaining that many of the dishes she posts on her blog take just 30 minutes to prepare and are generally budget-friendly.
started in 2015 thanks to studentres friends’ constant requests for the recipes to the food images she was posting on her Twitter feed, the blog has an ever-increasing fanbase – from working moms to kitchen-confident bachelors. This growth, coupled with more bookings to cook for private functions, led to Luyanda leaving her studies in logistics at the university of Johannesburg last year to pursue her culinary passion full time.
With dreams to one day have her own cooking show and develop a recipe book, there seems to be no stopping this enterprising entrepreneur. ‘I have nothing to lose,’ she smiles.
luyanda’s instagram posts include asianstyle ginger and lemongrass tilapia (top right), and her own take on the classic club sandwich (below)