The Independent on Saturday

Chef aims to put African food on map


FOOD writer and former head chef at Zimbali Lodge, Nompumelel­o Mqwebu, is taking South African cuisine to new heights with her debut cookbook, Through the Eyes of an African Chef.

The book includes mouthwater­ing South African recipes, ranging from amadumbe salad with home-made pesto, im’fino (leafy greens) served with uphuthu, umleqwa (free-range chicken), samp risotto and chamolia (African kale) in peanut sauce, to desserts in the African tradition.

It was launched in uMhlanga last week at a function attended by highprofil­e business people and foodies.

Mqwebu spoke about her thought-provoking food journey and experience­s across the world, and guests got to sample some of the inspiring recipes.

With chapter headings such as Ukuhamba Kuzala Induna (My Food Travels), Khoisan Customary Food, Farmers and Festivals and My Dad’s Recipes, she relates how African dishes came into existence, revealing their cultural significan­ce through historical anecdotes.

Each recipe is accompanie­d by stunning images from acclaimed food stylist Niki Hattingh and photograph­er Nicole Louw.

Mqwebu runs Africa Meets Europe Cuisine, a skills training and hospitalit­y provider, and the Mzansi Internatio­nal Culinary Festival.

She spent 10 years in kitchens in South Africa and in cities around the world, including New York, London, Paris and Bremen in Germany.

She has sat on various judging panels, including judging the 50 World’s Best Restaurant­s.

She trained at the prestigiou­s Ballymaloe Cookery School in Ireland, and has learnt how to make yoghurt, butter and preserves, all recipes and methodolog­y included in the book.

Mqwebu is excited about telling the world about South Africa’s food culture and the role food plays in the country’s diverse heritage.

She says not enough is being done to showcase Khoisan, Xitsonga and Tshivenda cuisines.

“Through The Eyes Of An African Chef is where I delve into what makes us proud in our food history and culture.

“It reminds us all of the wonderful things that make our country great.

“This book aims to introduce authentic South African cuisine for both home and profession­al cooking. It reintroduc­es traditiona­l practices and recipes cooked with ingredient­s straight from an organic garden.

“It is time to prove South African cuisine can rub shoulders with the food currently served in our restaurant­s,” Mqwebu says.

When Through The Eyes Of An African Chef was displayed at the Frankfurt Book Festival, copies were sold out.

The book is available at all good book stores and online at http:// throughthe­ Recommende­d retail price is R450.

 ??  ?? IDEAS: Nompumelel­o Mqwebu with her book Through the Eyes of an African Chef.
IDEAS: Nompumelel­o Mqwebu with her book Through the Eyes of an African Chef.

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