Pas­sion­ate about sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ences, chef, culi­nary artist and menu stylist Sha­bane shares what she loves most

Elle Decoration (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

Chef and culi­nary artist Man­tis Sha­bane on her favourite things

Whether she’s cu­rat­ing the menu of Breeze­block restau­rant in Jo­han­nes­burg or host­ing the Ju­nior Chefs’ Fun Day (a monthly event with a cooking work­shop and in­ter­ac­tive ac­tiv­i­ties for kids), Sha­bane ex­udes a great amount of cool in her chef’s jacket.

She was born in Pi­eter­mar­itzburg, KwaZulu-Natal, a place she de­scribes as a lit­tle gem with pic­turesque Vic­to­rian ar­chi­tec­ture, and Sha­bane’s been cooking for as long as she can re­mem­ber. How­ever, she first stud­ied jour­nal­ism and worked in the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in­dus­try be­fore pur­su­ing a culi­nary ca­reer.

‘I was al­ways host­ing din­ners and en­joy­ing foodrelate­d ac­tiv­i­ties as a hobby,’ she says. ‘Al­though I was do­ing well in my job for a huge mo­tor com­pany, I was ex­tremely un­happy.’ It took her mother re­mind­ing her that – through­out ev­ery­thing she’d done in her life – food has al­ways been her happy place for her to quit her cor­po­rate gig and pur­sue a culi­nary ca­reer.

Sha­bane sees food as a lim­it­less art form with no bound­aries. ‘I could be in­dus­trial and smok­ing huge cuts of meats one day and then mak­ing del­i­cate, pretty cakes the next,’ she says. One of the things that ex­cites her most is get­ting glimpses of dif­fer­ent peo­ple and their first re­ac­tion when she places a dish in front of them and they take their first bite. ‘It’s an ex­pe­ri­ence that’s in­cred­i­bly grat­i­fy­ing.’ Her favourite quote by chef Julia Child afirms this: ‘Cooking is like love – it should be en­tered into with aban­don or not at all’.

x @man­tis_chef

(clock­wise from top right) Smeg x Dolce & Gab­bana fridge; ‘Writ­ers of His­tory’, 2017, by Bambo Sibiya; Gallery MOMO in­stal­la­tion view, 2017; Julia Child; tastes of Morocco, Breeze­block.

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