Through the eyes of an African Chef
The evening was held is a very relaxed setting that welcomed us with an aroma of promise. We were eager to lay our eyes on the “African Chef”, Chef Nompululeo Mqwebu who was bound to deliver an array of delightful surprises!
Chef Nompululeo was introduced by Victor Dlamini and her achievements were brilliantly highlighted in an interactive and conversational manner. With grace and elegance, she has managed to connect us with our heritage and history and the familiar flavours that go along with that.
A course of canapés was served with elegant wines to match. The flavours reminded one of home and deep-set tradition with a spicy flair. Amongst these were the Inyama Yenyamazane served with chackalaka which turned out to be a firm favourite. A surprisingly light Amadumbe Gnocchi with Basil Pesto ended the course off in a subtle, yet delightfully tasteful manner. We couldn’t decide whether to have more of the Inyama Yenyamazane or the creamy Gnocchi. One of the guests, a Ballito local, describes the flavours as “very traditional with an unusual swoosh”. Entertainment for the evening consisted of a collection of Frank Sinatra songs, covered by Njabulo Nzuza, which gave the audience and guests a feeling of warm nostalgia, setting a light and relaxed tone for the rest of the evening.
Chef Nompululelo describes her journey to Ireland, where her passion for African cooking and taking it to new heights, really came to life. Her cookbook tells of the traditional food that she came to experience with her family and finding a new way of serving these cornerstones of South African society. A particular recipe that stands out, is that of the BunnyChow and she reminisces over the tale that her grandfather told her about how this particular dish came to be.
Her book has recently sold various copies at the Frankfurt Book Festival and has also been featured in the Great South African cookbook, but she refers to these amazing achievements very humbly as she is far more concerned with the integrity of the food that she serves and sharing this with the international market.
She goes on to share her view on sustainable living and empowering the farmer and cutting out the middleman in the process, she is passionate about reclaiming South African ingredients and celebrating our shared heritage, she encourages the youth to take our local favourites and finding new ways to fuse this with European cooking, keeping the world captivated by what South Africa has to offer.
If you are proud to be South African and looking for interesting and authentic ways to serve old favourites worthy of 5 stars – this book is just for you, because this book is a “cultural education, cultural barrier-breaker and bridge builder amongst people…. Because food is the doorway to cultural experienced” as described by the Food stylist and founder of Food Art.
The future is bright for the passionate Chef Nompululelo.
The book is available at all good book stores and online at http://throughtheeyesbook.com/#buy