loader image

The Perfect Serve

Second Issue

Second Issue Articles

Black Women in the Food Industry – A Deep Dive

Black Women in the Food Industry - A Deep Dive

Dear foodies,

From first-hand experience, I know that as a young African food entrepreneur, you have to perform three times better than any other person. I saw that in kitchens when I started working in the food industry in 2017. We were always the line cooks/chefs, never the operators or head chefs. 

The treatment of black women in the food industry is ironic because, historically, black women have played a significant role in shaping African culinary traditions and cuisine, even in the diaspora. We have passed on this knowledge from generation to generation.

The lack of representation and opportunities for black women in the food industry is problematic. It perpetuates historic and systemic inequalities and biases in the industry. 

Some of the barriers black women in the food industry face include: 

  • Limited representation and visibility in the food industry
  • Racial discrimination and bias in the business world
  • Lack of access to capital and funding from traditional financial institutions
  • Limited access to markets and distribution channels
  • Socio-economic barriers such as poverty, unemployment, and limited access to land and resources

So, how can young Black entrepreneurs overcome these barriers? My next guest chats about her journey in the space, the barriers she’s faced, and how she overcame them. Read on for her insights and lessons.

Shaping the future: A chat with Onezwa

eMandulo (transl. “life as it used to be”) is a South African company that produces homegrown, handmade condiments and seasonings. I spoke to the founder, Onezwa Mbola to hear about her journey and the insights she’s gained along the way.


#1 Tell us about your background and how you got started in the food industry?

I’m a former Marine Navigator born and raised in a coastal village along the Eastern Cape’s Wild Coast. My family raised livestock, foraged for fresh seafood, and grew our own vegetables. 

My mother was an excellent cook and when she passed, I wanted to recreate the food that she made for me. So I started teaching myself how to cook, sharing my food and recipes on social media, and gained my following.

#2 Describe some of the unique challenges you faced as a young black entrepreneur in the African food industry.

The biggest challenge was distribution. I had no information on how to get my products onto the shelves of stores around the country.

I live in an isolated rural village so getting my products to customers was the biggest issue. After asking around from other small business owners on social media, people suggested cheaper and more reliable alternatives.

The second challenge was that because we used recyclable glass containers, we experienced a lot of product breakage in the beginning. This meant having to resend orders at our own cost. After investing in quality packing materials, we significantly reduced breakage.

Read More

#3 What strategies did you use to secure financial support and resources for your business?

My business is 100% self-funded. This is because when I started, information about funding and grants wasn’t and still isn’t as accessible as it should be. Today, I still knock on doors for funding to grow and expand my business.
A lot of the challenges I faced and still face are usually overcome by asking questions. I’ve approached other business owners who have been in the industry longer than I have for advice, suggestions and assistance.
I don’t know much but there are people who’re always willing to help if you just ask. I also read and research a lot about marketing and business strategies. As the owner and sole employee in my company, I must acquire different skill sets to ensure the business runs smoothly.

#4 Can you share some examples of how you incorporated traditional and cultural elements into your food business?

Our products are made using ingredients I’ve grown or foraged in my village.
It was important for me to honour my ancestors by using the land that they worked on with the utmost respect, and that’s why our range follows the natural season. We only use produce that is in season to ensure freshness, but we also amplify how life used to be, as our slogan says.
As a company that promotes sustainability and taking only what we need from the earth, we encourage customers to reuse our packaging, as it was in the olden days.

#5 How have you managed to expand your business beyond your local market and access the global market?

Through the power of social media. All our products are marketed using creative storytelling with easy home recipes, and people want to experience that. 

They want innovative, homegrown food free of chemicals and pesticides that nourishes your body.

We’ve expanded our business by offering customers something unique and nostalgic.

#6 How do you see the African food industry evolving in the future?

Over the last few years, there has been a growing interest in using African indigenous ingredients. I think that is something that will continue and lead us to invest in our own farmers, food producers, and restaurants.

The COVID lockdown also inspired many people to start gardening, and I think the future will be more about what we produce than what we import.

#7 Can you share some advice for other young black entrepreneurs who want to start a food business?

My advice is to make food that tells your story because making something you’re passionate about will distinguish you from other businesses and help people taste your story.

Also, do your research. There are many things you will learn along the way, but understand how you will accomplish your business goals — and don’t let fear hold you back.

#8 Can you share with us any future project you are working on?

I’m currently writing a cookbook to be published this year under Blackbird Books, which shares my story through recipes.

We’re also working on getting eMandulo products into stores nationwide for easier access.

Honouring traditions and supporting local communities

Addressing the challenges facing Onezwa and other entrepreneurs like her will require a holistic and multi-faceted approach that takes into account economic, social, and environmental factors, and that is grounded in sustainability and social justice.

Our industry must consider the power of storytelling and creating unique products. 

Highlighting the stories and traditions behind ingredients and products helps create a deeper customer connection and supports and promotes local producers.

Visibility for people who look like us in the food industry

As a food expert and writer, I’ve explored the topic of indigenous ingredients and the importance of supporting local producers in the food industry. 

One aspect of this conversation that I believe is often overlooked is the visibility of people who look like us in this industry.

The reality is that the food industry has long been dominated by a narrow group of individuals, and limited representation has profoundly impacted the way indigenous ingredients and local producers are viewed and valued.

It is only when we see ourselves represented in the industry that we can truly understand our potential contributions to the culinary landscape.

This will help to inspire future generations to pursue careers in the food industry and push for greater representation in this space.

In health and good business, 

Chef Lee

If this issue resonated with you, feel free to share it with someone who would find it useful! 

If you are looking for expert food styling and recipe development services, visit www.goodfoodstudioza.com to learn more about our services and how we can help you create successful recipes that are delicious and marketable. 

Contact us today to discuss your recipe development needs and take the first step toward creating successful recipes that will delight your customers.

Women and Whisky Experience Curated By The Perfect Serve

Women and Whisky Experience Curated By The Perfect Serve

When you think Whisky, you quickly think burly men in suits, sealing business deals over a neat whiskey on the rocks. So, we decided to switch the script, change the narrative and invite a few discerning female forces for an evening of whiskey cocktails, conversation and thanks to our guest Whisky Ambassador from Chivas Regal, Nikki Gomes – a Masterclass to remember!

*Alcohol is not for Sale to Any Persons under the Age of 18. Enjoy Responsibly.

Shaking Things Up With Kesego Moeng

Shaking Things Up With Kesego Moeng

The founder of Exuberant Sips, Kesego Moeng, famously known as Robust Hun, is a trailblazer in the mixology space. With only 4 years in the industry, and about a year of that consumed by the inactivity many entrepreneurs and businesses had to yield to in the face of the Covid pandemic, her come up has been one to behold! It all started when a Facebook friend, Tshepiso Moremi suggested she look into the bartending and mixology space. According to Tshepiso, Kesego had a knack for it, and he believed she could do really well if she just gave it a shot, and he was right!

Prior to this interaction, Kesego had never considered a career as a mixologist. However, she figured it wouldn’t hurt to take Tshepiso up on his recommendation, so she did. She recalls her very first booking, which was also kicked into gear by Tshepiso, who she heavily credits and speaks about so adoringly for his hand in what is now brand Kesego Moeng and Exuberant Sips. “He suggested a business to help me get a mobile bar created and set up, and not only that, he offered to put in a good word for me to get it at a discount.” Before the mobile bar was delivered, Tshepiso secured a function for her soon after.

Having never professionally mixed a drink before or possessed even a fraction of curiosity in the beverages, alcohol and mixology industry, Kesego had to learn, and learn quickly she did. At her first event as a mixologist, a large corporate function for one of the biggest law firms in Botswana, she remembers a night of endlessly flowing drinks from behind the bar and many compliments to the mixologist.

And then came the Schweppes mixology competition. Going into it, Kesego was only hoping to learn. It did not even cross her mind that she could emerge a winner once all was said and done. Her only goal when signing up was to enrich her craft and gain as much as possible from her fellow contestants, who all had significantly more experience than she did. As one would typically expect, the alcohol industry is dominated by men, and the contestant roster was a pure reflection of this reality. Being the only woman on the lineup was as intimidating to Kesego as it was exciting because as the competition progressed with each level, it became pretty evident that despite the odds being stacked against her, the title was just as much hers to win as her men counterparts. And at the end of a thrilling and exciting challenge, she emerged victorious in the Schweppes Mixology Competition. Her winning cocktail, the Robust Splurge, made of pineapple sorbet, whiskey gin and vodka with a tickleberry shot, is precisely how she would describe herself; “full of flavour, colour, radiance and robust taste.”

The mixology contest was a tremendous growth catalyst for Kesego, the mixologist and Exuberant Sips, the business. Kesego’s most notable career highlights thus far have been handling the drinks and offering bar services for other major corporations in Botswana, and she is only getting started. For the foreseeable future, Kesego would like to focus more on driving her digital presence and creating more mixology-centred content for her community of almost 70000 followers across various social media platforms.

*Alcohol is not for Sale to Any Persons under the Age of 18. Enjoy Responsibly.

DSTv Delicious Festival

DSTV Delicious Festival

The DSTV Delicious festival was an awesome two days of music by major international and local acts, celebrity Chef demonstrations and a gourmet food, drinks and wine market.

*Alcohol is not for Sale to Any Persons under the Age of 18. Enjoy Responsibly.

Tigernut, Raisins and Almond Rusks

Tigernut, Raisins and Almond Rusks


  • 1 ½ cup tiger nut flour
  • 2 ½ cups self-raising or whole wheat flour (gluten-free like buckwheat, rye or millet can be used)
  • 1 cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1 cup pre-roasted almonds
  • ¼ cup shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2cup coconut oil or olive oil
  • ¾ cup coconut milk or full-fat cream
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup flax seed flour mixed with equal amounts of water for a flax seed “egg”
  • 1/2 tsp salt


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

  1. Mix the flours, sugar, raisins, shredded coconut, nuts, and the salt.
  2. In a separate bowl add in the oil, coconut milk, vanilla extract, apple cider vinegar and flax seed “egg”.
  3. Mix the wet in to the dry and then scoop into pre-smeared bread tins or rusk tin of preference, decorate with extra shredded coconut, and chopped almonds.
  4. Bake for 30-35 minutes until brown on top and leave to cool before slicing into fingers.
  5. Place on a baking tray to dry out for about two hours at 100 degrees Celsius.
  6. Store in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Rachel’s Table Recipes

Rachel's Table Recipes

Shepherd's Pie


  • 1 medium onion- chopped
  • 400g beef mince
  • Mashed potatoes (about 500g)
  • 1 pack tomato paste
  • Portuguese chicken + Salt & Pepper to taste
  • 250ml beef stock
  • 1 cup grated cheese


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celcius on the bake option
  2. Peel, cut and boil potatoes in a large pot until softened then drain and mash
  3. Fry the onion for a few minutes until softened and semi-transparent.
  4. Add mince and cook until no longer pink
  5. Add all seasonings, tomato paste and beef broth and bring to a steady simmer.
  6. In a medium sized baking dish, layer the meat, followed by the mashed potatoes and finally, the grated cheese and then bake until cheese has melted and turned slightly brown.

Oros Punch



  • 1 pear
  • 1 pineapple
  • 1 can of peaches, or 3 fresh peaches
  • 2 cups Oros
  • Half a cup of granadilla concentrate


  1. Blend pear, pineapple and peaches with 1 cup of water at full power.
  2. In a jug or carafe with ice, add the Oros and Granadilla concentrate.
  3. Pour the blended fruit mixture into the jug with the ice and granadilla concentrate.
  4. Mix well and enjoy.

Michaela’s Recipes

Michaela's Recipes

Char-Siu Style Pork Rashers

Char Siu Pork Rashers


  • 1kg pork rashers
  • Spring onion
  • Red chilli


  • 1/2 tsp 5 spice powder
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup sherry or port wine
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp red curry powder

Basting sauce

  • 2 tbsp BBQ sauce
  • 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp sherry


  1. Prepare the pork rashers by cutting each rasher in half.
  2. Marinate the pork rashers in the Marinade mix for a minimum of 30min.
  3. Add the pork rashers to a preheated grill, grill until cooked with a sticky coating. Frequently turn the pork rashes as the marinade is sticky and will easily burn.
  4. When removed from the grill baste the pork rashers with the Basting sauce.
  5. Garnish with chopped spring onion and chopped red chilli

Grilled T-Bone Steak with Parmesan Pap Wedges


  • T-Bone Steak
  • Garlic
  • Butter
  • Rosemary
  • Fresh Chilli (optional)
  • Parmesan
  • Paprika
  • 1 cup Maize Meal
  • Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil for frying


  1. Cook the maize meal accordingly. Pour the cooked pap into a dish that is at least 2cm deep and use the back of a spoon to smooth the surface.
  2. Once the pap has set in the dish, use a sharp knife to cut the pap into 8cm-long pieces and season with salt, pepper. Place the pap wedges onto a pan (on medium-high heat) with enough oil for shallow frying. Turn the wedges regularly until they become crispy and golden on each side. Once cooked, season the wedges with paprika and grated Parmesan. Set the wedges aside until serving.
  3. Pat dry the steaks, season the steaks with olive oil, salt and black pepper. Heat a skillet on medium-high heat with 1 tbsp of butter, add in the steaks and sear each side for 2 minutes. Add in 2-3 tbsp of butter, 4 sprigs of rosemary, chopped fresh garlic and chopped fresh chili. Continue turning the steaks until it reaches your desired doneness.


Serving Suggestions: serve the steaks with the Parmesan pap wedges along with some grilled mushrooms and sautéed snow peas.

Goat’s Cheese And Sweet Potato Croquettes With Fonio Grain

Goat’s Cheese & Sweet Potato Croquettes with Fonio Grain


  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 450g)
  • 1 ¼ cup Local Village fonio grain
  • 1 ½ cup of water
  • 1 ¼ cup vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 200g goat’s cheese or feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • 2 tbsp cornflour or cake flour
  • Vegetable oil for frying

Honey & chilli dressing

  • 1 red chilli, finely diced
  • Handful mint or parsley leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar or lime juice
  • ¼ tbsp olive oil


  1. Set your oven to 170ºC, and prepare a baking tray with foil. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into chunks. Dress with olive oil and scatter onto the baking tray. Roast for 30-45 minutes until tender. Toss halfway through to avoid charring.
  2. Prepare the fonio grain by placing 1 1/2 cups water, stock and olive oil in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Add the fonio grain. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat and steam for 4 minutes. Remove the lid and use a fork to fluff the grains.
  3. Once the potatoes are roasted, mash the potatoes roughly. Stir in 2 cups cooked fonio grain, and continue mashing until combined. Stir in the goat’s cheese and parsley and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Using your hands, place 1 heaped tbsp of the mixture in your hands. Roll into a ball, then roll through the flour to coat. Set aside
  5. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Bring to medium heat, around 170-180ºC if you have a thermometer. Add the fonio balls and fry for about 1 minute per side. Drain on paper towels and serve warm or at room temperature.
  6. For the dressing, place all the ingredients in a bowl. Mix well until combined. Drizzle over the croquettes before serving.

Bambara Nut Chilli Con Carne

Bambara Nut Chilli Con Carne



  • 1 cup of cooked Local Village Foods Bambara nuts (soak overnight before cooking)
  • 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red pepper chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 3 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 -2 teaspoons of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 810g can peeled & chopped tomatoes
  • nachos, to serve
  • Fresh coriander sprigs, to serve
  • Lime or lemon wedge to serve
  • Natural yogurt to serve

Step 1
Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, & garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, then add your peppers and cook for an additional minute before adding in all your spices. Keep stirring until all spices are mixed in.

Step 2
Add tomatoes and bring to a low simmer until tomatoes are thickening then add in your cooked bambara nut and simmer further for 20 minutes to infuse all. Season with salt and pepper.

Step 3
Serve your Bambara chilli con ‘carne’ with nachos, coriander and lime/lemon wedges

The Sorghum Agenda With Queen Finxa

The Sorghum Agenda with Queen Finxa

The Sorghum Agenda
While Vogue and much of the West call it the new quinoa, Queen Finxa and the 500 million people to whom sorghum is a dietary staple would beg to differ. Sorghum, a grain indigenous to Africa, has been around for centuries. If anything, the reverse should ring true, Quinoa is the new sorghum, or at least it wishes it was. While the two may have an almost similar nutrient and flavour profile, sorghum rises head and shoulders above, packing 3.4grams of fibre per ¼ cup, while quinoa contains none. It not only surpasses quinoa but many other grains for nutrient density.
Queen Finxa, a Consumer Scientist, chef and recipe developer, is well acquainted with sorghum and all it has to offer. The brilliance of the grain inspired the iconic Sorghum Agenda, a passion project that, at its core, is simply about getting more people to embrace the grain. According to Queen, sorghum is just the beginning, “It starts with sorghum, and then we slowly bring more awareness to the vast rainbow of indigenous grains found within our African soil. To have people embrace African Indigenous grains more and for our culinary contributions to matter. For our food to matter. For our voice to matter. And this, I hope, will end with institutions such as retail and academia embracing our food and giving it better access. Can you imagine how much our communities will benefit from not only seeing themselves reflected on the shelves but also seeing their food not simply regarded as an afterthought?”
Did you Know
Just ½ a cup of sorghum perfectly serves up 37% daily value (DV) of magnesium, 18% DV of iron, 25% DV of vitamin B6, and 30% DV of copper, in addition to the significant amounts of zinc, potassium, phosphorus and thiamine.

Despite being a staple in more than 30 countries worldwide, the general perception is that its consumption is reserved for lower-income households. Completely and irreverently neglecting the memories so well ingrained of fermented porridge, known in Setswana as mabele a ting cooking away on a stovetop somewhere as the pungent scent makes known what’s on the menu. This perception is what really kicked the Sorghum Agenda into gear; while pursuing their Consumer Science studies at the University of Pretoria, Queen was awarded the prize for the most innovative and creative product when they chose sorghum as the hero ingredient for their Recipe Development module. “I realised how little exposure the food I considered a staple had. And when it did? It was looked down upon as poverty food or discarded as animal feed”.

Traditionally, sorghum is widely enjoyed finely ground as sorghum meal and served in African homes as stiff and soft porridge. But Queen Finxa, through the Sorghum Agenda and brands such as Local Village Foods, have shown that with this holy grail grain, the possibilities are truly endless! Sorghum grain salads? Check! Buddha bowls featuring sorghum? Check! Sorghum flour pancakes? Check! Sorghum… cookies? Check! And that’s not all. Some of Queen’s creations include sorghum bread, biscuits, muffins and brownies. 

Regarding access, spotting sorghum flour and the whole grain is not as easy as walking into your local corner grocery store. Still, Queen credits brands such as Local Village Foods for being instrumental in making these products available. “The brand, like myself, is devoted to creating agricultural connections across the continent to supply sustainably grown indigenous African ingredients that go beyond just sorghum.” 

The existence of platforms like the Sorghum Agenda and businesses like Local Village Foods is essential to preventing the erasure of the food that is at the essence of our core as Africans. Seeing authentic African cuisine not relegated to poverty food or perceived in economic terms as an inferior good. And certainly not waiting for the Vogue’s of the world to give us permission to celebrate it. So, while quinoa is great, on your next shopping trip reach for sorghum instead. It’s delicious, it’s nutritious, and it’s authentically African.

Founder of the Sorghum Agenda, Queen Finxa is a 27-year-old chef, consumer scientist and recipe developer based in Cape Town, South Africa. A recipient of the Secret Ingredient Award at the 2022 Food XX Women in Food Awards for her incredible work through the Sorghum Agenda.