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The Perfect Serve

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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.

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#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.

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.

Chef Lee

Good Food, Good Business.

The Complete Guide to Preparing Your Food Truck for Fairs and Festivals.

You may receive frequent requests to become a vendor at events as a food truck owner.

And while it may be tempting to say yes to everything, it is crucial to choose your festivals carefully.

Find festivals where many people in your target group will be going, and make sure the food you sell suits the tastes of the individuals attending.

You’ll first want to know how many people are likely to show up.
  • Does this event happen often?
  • How has attendance been at past events?
  • How many people go to similar events?
  • And, if relevant, how many tickets have been sold?

The festival organisers should be able to answer these questions. You could also talk to other food truck owners who have been to similar events.

Top 5 tips for preparing a food truck for fairs and festivals 

#1 Permits and licenses

Look into the necessary licenses. A vendor’s license or food handler’s permit is typically required to sell food and beverages at fairs and festivals.
You may need to have your business licensed with the local health department, and you might also need to get a temporary vendor’s permit for each event.

#2 Adequate staffing and customer service

To deal with the expected influx of consumers, ensure you have enough hands on deck.

Understaffing can lead to burnout and a decline in output.

Suppose you have a three-person crew; one person can be in charge of taking orders, another for preparing the food, and a third for delivering the food to the clients.

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#3 Menu customisation

Make sure your menu has items that fit with where you are and what time it is.
Before you plan for each item you want to put on your menu, you should first decide what kind of food you will be serving. Then, think about your strengths, analyse the competition and try to find a gap in the market.
Menus for food trucks are usually small. And when people place their orders, they expect their food to come quickly. So it would be best to find dishes you can make quickly and easily.

#4 Inventory Management

Once you’ve finalised your menu, buy the food, drinks, garnishes, napkins, disposable utensils, and serving dishes you need.

You need to manage your inventory and manage it well. Know how much stock you need, when it’s needed, and what kinds of products you need to serve your customers the best you can.

Here are some essential steps in managing your inventory:

Step 1

Draw up a list of what you have, including everything in storage.

Step 2

Create a demand forecast to estimate how many units you will need.

Step 3

Create an order prediction to predict future unit needs and order quantities for each inventory item.

#5 Costs of setting up the food stall

Before you sign up to sell at a festival, you should consider how much it will cost.

You'll be required to pay for your stall space before the day of the festival.

After the festival, you'll usually have to pay a percentage of the proceeds, which could be 25% or more.

Here are the main factors that affect the price:

  • Type of stall - Snack stalls will be priced lower than hot food stalls. If your product is likely to sell a lot, you might have to pay more for your pitch than a business that sells a more niche product, like smoothies.
  • Power needs - Generators and other outside power sources are often not allowed at festivals. But some will let you use their power for an agreed-upon fee.
  • Stall placement - The location of food stands at a festival is very important for getting people to stop and buy. You'll have to pay more if your booth is in a good spot, such as near the main stage at a big festival.
  • Size of the festival - The pitch price increases, the more prominent the festival is. For smaller crowds, it may be possible to negotiate these prices. Still, at larger festivals like the DSTV Delicious Festival, where you compete with bigger brands, pitch prices are likely to be higher with less room for negotiation.

Be prepared 

Have a backup plan for any eventuality; bad weather, poor festival attendance or cancellation.

Launch your advertising campaign as soon as you confirm your place at the event.

Repost articles about the festival, publish sneak peeks of the food you'll be providing, and use any hashtags the festival assigns to make it simpler to track changes.

In health, happiness, and good business,

Chef Lee

The Perfect Guest – Michaela Jacobsz

The Perfect Guest Michaela Jacobsz

Hot on the Eswatini food scene is home cook and food blogger Michaela Jacobsz! She is the founder of The Hungry Hun, a food blog that started as a stress release hobby and quickly earned her the coveted number 1 spot at the 2021 Pick n Pay Luju Flame Master Cook-off. We catch up with Michaela to talk all about The Hungry Hun and her love and passion for food.

1. Please introduce yourself. Who is Michaela? 
Basically…If I was a chilli I would be a Habanero, bright, vibrant and a whole lot spicy. I am a 25-year-old home cook and food blogger from the Kingdom of Eswatini. My passions are cooking, food photography and environmentalism. As a budding environmentalist, I take pride in growing my own organic produce in ways that are sustainable, self-sufficient and healthy for myself and those around me. I love being immersed in culinary spaces and interacting with fellow foodies and wine lovers. To sum things up, I love to eat good food and will definitely not say no to a glass of wine.
2. What is your food story? Please share what inspired your love for food. It’s quite simple, I LOVE food. I come from a family with fantastic female cooks as both my mother and grandmother are culinary queens. My parents are also foodies who love to travel and try new foods, so from a young age my pallet was exposed to a wide variety of foods and it developed from there on. My food story is a bit peculiar, due to the fact that I am equally passionate about cooking delicious meals as I am about food photography and taking mouthwatering food pictures. Anyone close to me will tell you that Instagram eats before I do!

3. What is your earliest food memory?
Definitely Christmas lunch at home. My family tends to go all out and puts on an unimaginable spread from the traditional Christmas foods like your roast meats and vegetables to less conventional dishes like Chinese-styled duck, fresh Thai salads, whole poached salmon etc. The list could go on, while this is my earliest food memory it is also my most cherished food memory because I watched how my mother and grandmother would cook for hours and it shaped my understanding that cooking is a labour of love that has this magical way of bringing family and friends together.
4. What is your most nostalgic meal?
This is a weird one I know, but tuna and mayo with sweetcorn on toast. It reminds me so much of my best friend Ciara and when she would visit Eswatini for school holidays from the UK, it would be our go-to breakfast or snack growing up. I distinctly remember this meal so well, we even had our designated roles: she would prepare the tuna, mayo and sweet corn mixture, and I would prepare the toast and condiments. This is definitely my most nostalgic meal.

5. If you had to eat only one type of cuisine for the rest of your life, which would it be? Rank your top 3.
  1. Asian Fusion – forever and always. Without a doubt. Will remain undisputed. Why I said Asian fusion is because I would not be able to choose between Chinese, Thai, Japanese and Indian cuisine. So, I rather place them equally in one category for my number 1 spot.
  2. Italian – I can’t say no to a good pasta
  3. Mexican – I love the different blends of spice and strong flavours. Also, imagine being the cuisine that conceptualized guacamole? #iconic
6. How did “The Hungry Hun” come to life?
The “The Hungry Hun” started as a stress release hobby during the final year of my law degree in 2021. I felt like I was losing my mind trying to finish my degree mid-pandemic in the confines of my house. I needed a creative outlet to help keep me sane but also to lift my spirit as this was a very challenging period of my life. I would always post food pictures of my home cooking on my personal Instagram account and people would always encourage me to start a blog. On the 22 May 2021 I finally decided to start the Hungry Hun. Truthfully, I never expected it to gain this much traction and I am overwhelmed by the positive response I’ve received. I owe The Hungry Hun so much, it has been my peace, my constant creative outlet and currently a budding business. I can’t wait to see what the future has in store.
Char Siu Pork Rashers
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7. Tell us about your most memorable culinary adventure; where were you, and what did you eat?
My most memorable culinary adventure was winning the 2021 Pick n Pay Luju Flame Master Cook-Off. It was a live open flame culinary showdown without the use of pots and pans! Trust me and my ambitious mind to prepare gourmet dishes while cooking on open flames… it’s safe to say I have a newfound respect and appreciation for foil. I prepared two dishes a main and dessert. For my main I prepared a spicy flame grilled mango chutney beef fillet, on a reconstructed mealie bread & jalapeno rosti served with sage-infused butternut and a chimichurri sauce. For my dessert - a flame-baked honey & rosemary camembert, on a bed of sweet balsamic onions topped with caramelized peaches, served with crunchy pecans and a fire toasted croissant. Winning the 2021 Pick n Pay Luju Flame Master Cook-Off really propelled my culinary career in Eswatini. The platform provided great exposure as well as brand collaboration opportunities for The Hungry Hun. Therefore, the competition in itself was unforgettable experience that I am glad I participated in.

8. What is the worst food you’ve ever tasted?
I don’t think there’s really a worst food that I’ve tasted but there are some flavours which I have tried and won’t be trying again. It’s not that they are bad, they are just flavours that I don’t particularly enjoy. I think at the top of the list would be liquorice, I don’t enjoy the taste, smell and texture. Consequently, I avoid using spices and herbs that have that liquorice taste like star anise and fennel. Apart from that, I’m very open to different unique foods and flavours.

9. What will you NEVER eat and why?
I am a very adventurous eater so there isn’t much I that I don’t eat or would not try…but I have to draw the line at the heads and feet of any animal. I’m not entirely sure why, but I can’t fathom eating the head of something especially if the eyes are still in place looking at me. Then with feet, I just associate them with being filthy no matter how well they are cleaned and cooked, mentally I can’t see beyond that.

10. What are your ‘food peeves’?
Wow where do I even begin… When people don’t wash their hands and fresh produce before cooking. Sloppy plating, food should always be appealing to the eye. I can’t eat cold food unless the dish is supposed to be served chilled but other than that my food needs to be hot. Cooking curry from those DIY packets...that drives me insane. Lastly, don’t come at me for this one… but If I’m dating someone and they order Lemon & Herb from Nando’s… If they can’t handle Nando’s spice how are they supposed to handle the adversities of life.

11. What is your go-to lazy dinner?
Anything noodle/pasta related. I don’t have a specific one but either a quick Carbonara pasta…yes with egg (if you know you know) or a spicy ramen with homemade chili oil.

12. What are your food aspirations – a cookbook, cooking show, etc.?
Definitely to expand the Hungry Hun brand beyond just being an Instagram blog. I would love to publish a series of cookbooks and to establish an affordable but environmentally conscious cookware line. I plan on expanding my reach as a culinary influencer through brand collaborations and partnerships. I would love to travel and blog different food & wines across the globe, I would like to have new food experiences as well as to enrich my constantly evolving knowledge of food. The opportunities in this industry are endless, who knows what the future holds for The Hungry Hun.

13. Who is your dream dinner guest, and what would you make them?
I don’t have a particular dream dinner guest. I do however have a dream dinner party, where I would invite all my close friends that are spread across the globe and cook all our favourite meals ranging from butter chicken and garlic naan, to sweet and spicy pork tacos, we can’t forget ramen, and of course Thai chicken satay with peanut sauce. It would be my ideal dinner party filled with laughter, delicious food and of course an endless supply of wine!

14. What ingredient(s) can’t you live without?
Coriander (that’s definitely my go to herb), garlic, fresh chilli, ginger, lemon grass and smoked paprika. I love strong fresh flavours. An honourable mention would be edible flowers, I love putting together beautiful plates and they are often featured in that process.

15. If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
It would undoubtably be Dim-Sum. I love Asian cuisine and the different variations and flavours of Dim-Sum that exist (there are over one-hundred different types), whether it be pot-stickers, bao buns, gyoza or shumai, I will enjoy them equally!

RiaKathEats & Friends

RiaKathEats & Friends

Picture this, bright summer weather, a beautiful and serene backyard lounge setup, the ambient sound of Afrobeats not too intrusive, almost distant but clear enough to savour as you rouse your palate with a chilled crisp and fruity sparkling wine, all this with your favourite people. Well, welcome to Maria Kathurima Selemogwe’s gorgeous home. The milieu of her being is undoubtedly reminiscent of the perfect summer afternoon. Irreproachably warm and radiant.

Walking into Maria’s home was like walking into your favourite, most trusted restaurant. The ardour of her countenance is like meeting up with an old friend, and you can be sure of one thing, the food will be excellent. Flavourful fried rice, a bright beetroot, butternut and pomegranate summer salad, delicious prawns, parmesan chicken pasta, chicken frikkadels and bottomless servings of the refreshing JC Le Roux La Fleurette.

In true excellent host fashion, she hands out welcome drinks as the team arrives to cover the afternoon before leading into the backyard where her cousin Kelly, best friend Yame and little brother Carlson are gathered. The décor, which she proudly credits to her wedding decorator Live O Live Décor, sings summer and could not be more perfect. At that moment, the endless conversations and countless postponements for ‘RiaKathEats & Friends’ seemed worth it.

In the room, there is laughter all around. You could easily think they are all family, the love is tangible, and in between all the punny jokes, you can literally hear an “I love you” every 2 minutes. “Carlson, please get this for me. Thank you, I love you.” The stuff friendship dreams are made of.

Maria, 28, is the founder of RiaKathEats, a gourmet food service that first stepped on the scene in 2019 and became an instant hit! She describes her food as “homey elevated fancy comfort food”, food that everyone knows and loves, just on another level. Tracking back, Maria recalls how like the foodie in all of us, she posted a picture of food that she’d made for her parents on Instagram and got countless requests from internet friends to make it for them. A light bulb moment that made her realise that that could be a great business. Growing up in an enterprising home, her mother, Zambian, and her father from Kenya relocated to Botswana in 1987 and worked hard to successfully establish themselves in a foreign land. From a young age, she learnt that to succeed, you must work hard, something that her parents instilled in her. She’d always loved to cook but honestly never considered that she was a good cook, let alone that catering was something she could do.

But while RiaKathEats has been asleep, Maria has been hard at work. Three years ago, she decided to move back to Gaborone after 10 years of living in Cape Town. She excitedly speaks about falling in love with a Motswana man and how that and getting married propelled the decision to make the move. Though she never imagined moving back, she is happy that she did. Maria is also the Lead Strategist (Sub-Saharan Africa) for a large South African-based investment and holding company with business interests in Africa, Australia and Eastern Europe. So, while her permanent home is in Gaborone, a considerable chunk of her time is still spent in Cape Town, “I spend most of the month in Gaborone and about 1 or 2 weeks in Cape Town for work.” Her schedule is hectic, but she makes it work, and RiaKathEats lovers can look forward to their favourite gourmet food service re-entering the scene.

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

Our Perfect Guest – Mmule Setati

Our Perfect Guest Mmule Setati

This month we step into South African Food Snob and recipe developer Mmule Setati's kitchen. She HATES eating bad food that’s not cooked from the soul! Her food blog 'feed my tribe’ is a combination of witty humor and beautiful family moments all tied together perfectly by delicious food!

1. Tell us a bit about yourself. Who is Mmule Setati?
Well, where do I start? I am a “Goddess” as my therapist would say. I am a 29-year-old born and raised in Diepkloof Soweto, Johannesburg, a first born to my parents & older sister to my siblings. I am a multifaced and talented mom of 2 handsome boys Motheo & Maruo and a wife to my amazing husband Mr. Setati.

2. What inspired you to start Feed My Tribe? Feed My Tribe was born out of my love and absolute passion for food and a way of healing, after coming back from my honeymoon in Croatia & Italy I was determined to share my findings and recipes with my friends and family on a social platform. When I dig deeper, I’ve realized that this was written in the stars way before I knew; I’d always come back from school and the first thing I’d do is tune into a cooking channel and obsess over Jamie Oliver or Nigella, I was probably 12/13 at the time.

3. Tell us about recipe development at Feed My Tribe, are there specific cuisines, ingredients or food philosophies that inspire your process? The thought process behind recipes is really not that difficult or complicated, most recipes actually come to me through meditation or moments of stillness, I never force myself to make something. If I’m required to make a recipe or develop a menu for a client or my cooking classes I ensure I know what the client is interested in and try and incorporate new recipes that they have not learnt. It makes the experience so much better. My rule is to always make sure that you enjoy what you are making or else you’ll have no desire to do it or complete the task at hand. I don’t enjoy baking (which is really strange because it was one of the first forms of cooking I learnt in my teens and I used to LOVE it) now in my adult life I don’t naturally gravitate towards it.

4. What is the best part of hosting cooking classes? Oh, these cooking classes, you know my cooking classes were a response to such a difficult time I was going through. During the first year Covid-19 hit, my business that I was running (a juice business) took such a knock. I tried everything in me to save it and sadly had to close it. The cooking classes started off as a way of me finding my next, one day I sat down with my friend Mapule and told her that before the end of the year I would host cooking classes and thereafter the universe aligned everything in my path to make it happen. The classes are more than getting to the place and learning how to make something, they are curated in such a way that we’ll do themed classes, the music will speak to the theme, the drinks are part of the experience and the people that come love to meet new people and learn new things whether you are experienced or clueless.
Recipe by Mmule Setati @feed_my_tribe
5. Share your food aspirations – any there any cook book/food show plans for the future?I have big plans for my baby and want to reach every corner possible for it. A cookbook is in the cards, hosting cooking classes in different cities and hopefully new countries and tangible goods that people can buy from me.

6. If you had to eat only one type of cuisine for the rest of your life, which would it be? Rank your top Italian, Asian & South African cuisine.

7. What are your ‘food-peeves’?On my profile it says “Food Snob” hahaha and I just believe that if you cook food for people make sure you do it well!!! The only peeve I have is eating bad food that’s not cooked from the soul.

8. What is your earliest food memory?I have so many but my maternal grandmother Stella has always been a huge inspiration for my love of food. Every time I’d visit her, with the little she had, she would make sure that we (grandkids) are all well fed. She would make bone marrow soup taste like love, looking back I realize that food was a love language for her too.
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9. Tell us about your most memorable culinary adventure from your travels? My trip to Croatia will always be my best culinary experience, you will not believe how amazing the food tastes there and they mostly use fresh ingredients straight from the farm, it unbelievable actually. I had the best pastas, risottos (now I want to go back again).

10. What is your go-to lazy dinner? Literally a veggie & protein side, Stir Fry or Phutu & Amasi

11. What is your most nostalgic meal? My paternal grandmother used to make me Ting ya mabele every morning in primary school, I just remember sitting on her stoep in Diepkloof while the sun hit my face and enjoying this sour porridge, with lots of sugar in a metal bowl; bliss.

12. What ingredient(s) can’t you live without? Smoked paprika (the tribe knows me well), thyme, garlic & ginger.

13. Who is your dream dinner guest and what would you make them? My grandmother, I’d do anything to just have a last meal with her.

14. What would you absolutely NOT eat? Mopani worms and bat meat (my husband had bat stew once, I swear he is insane).

15. Tips (food photography, food styling) for running a successful food blog? Like anything in life consistency is what will set you apart from the rest, find your niche and play on that. Tips: always take food photos during the day, natural light is your best friend. You don’t need expensive equipment to start, your phone and YouTube are your best friend.

East African Mandazis

East African Mandazis

Also referred to as ‘African doughnuts’ or ‘beignets’, these soft and fluffy jewels are famous in the Eastern region of Africa (Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda). With a lovely hint of cardamom, this recipe will give your mandazis an authentic taste.  They are usually served warm with a cup of hot chai masala or regular tea, but they also go down a treat with hot coffee.

Mandazis are authentically served plain, but as the world becomes a small village daily, some have come up with ways to jazz them up. You can choose to jazz yours up with your favourite jam or a knob of butter.

By Christine Tutuh @tutuhsdesserts 

Full recipe on www.christinetutuh.com 

Christine Okello

Christine Okello

Meet Christine, a Kenyan living in Belgium and a mum of two kids. Christine has always had a sweet tooth but only started taking her baking seriously when she had just moved to a small village in Belgium’s countryside and could not find anyone to bake her daughter the kind of birthday cake she loved growing up. She turned on her oven, dusted off her mittens and hasn’t stopped baking since. At first, it was just baking for colleagues over the weekend, then she started blogging – sharing her recipes online and that’s how Tutuh’s Desserts came to life. 

“That’s almost 2 years ago now. With the blogging, I started falling in love with taking photos of my bakes. I wanted to take even better pictures so I took a short course on food photography, (which I never imagined was a thing), and pulled out my very old canon camera and started taking pictures of everything I baked. I got great compliments on my photos whenever I would post them, on social media or on the blog.

Out of my love of baking and Tutuh’s Desserts blog, my love for sweet food photography and videography came alive, and a general love of social media. I hope to build a brand around all these. Hoping to start offer services such as sweet food photography, and social media management for small businesses and food bloggers in the foodie space. Venturing into recipe development for brands is also a plan for the future. But my biggest dream would be to own my own small coffee shop/bakery where I could serve my most delicious bakes for everyone to enjoy.”

Served Perfect With Natasha Siku

Served perfect with Natasha Siku

Remember the chicken wing shortage from late 2021 into 2022? It caused so much concern it created many chicken wing activists out of so many Batswana. Meanwhile the real chicken wing enthusiasts knew exactly where to go to get their fix – a local food joint called Wing It on, founded by someone whose name you’ve probably heard before – Natasha Siku.

And if you’ve never heard of Natasha, well, the ‘about’ section on one of her social media platforms reads “motivated by the fear of being average” which is really (almost) everything you need to know about her. In the lead up to ‘lunch with Natasha’, there was a lot of back and forth in getting the lunch together. It moved from dinner, to lunch, from a weekend shindig to a Monday out of town engagement at the exceptionally gorgeous Boruundi Private Lodge and camp site.

Once those details were out of the way, we moved onto the main event – the food! Initially she was intrigued by the idea of cooking for her guests, we bounced ideas off each other – a creamy pasta, some salmon, were some of the suggestions she put forth. I remember suggesting catering in one of our many phone calls and getting slight disapproval – “I love to cook” was the very kind ‘no’ she responded with. But, in the end, we scrapped everything and figured we’d just focus on having a good time and ensuring the vibes were immaculate, so catering it was!

Natasha, who describes herself as an athlete first, is a netball and tennis player, playing for both Botswana national teams respectively. I don’t know about you, but in my books, that on its own gets you a spot in my personal hall of fame! She is also the woman behind Botswana’s very first homegrown chicken wings establishment, Wing It On, an idea that was born from literally nothing. The day that the idea came to her, she was at her aunt’s house in the north of Gaborone where she stayed at the time. She thought back to her time in the United States during her college days, being in awe of the wing joints that offered wings in so many different flavours and thinking to herself “I could set that up back at home’’ so with only 2000 Pulas in hand, sheer determination and motivation (daringly sponsored by the fear of being average), she started that very same day experimenting with sauces to create different flavours and Wing It On came to be. “The key is to start’’ says Natasha. The very first ad she placed for Wing It On, on social media garnered over 150 000 impressions. She remembers waking up that morning and feeling lost for words. Nine flavours later and Wing It On has since seen immense growth with a physical outlet in Gaborone that continues to offer delivery for its customers.

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Now back to the lunch, when it came to the guestlist, Natasha had a bit of a hard time deciding who to share a meal with, but ultimately 'friendship’, the real authentic kind is what brought it all together.


While taking photographs and capturing all the instagrammable moments of conviviality between friends, our photographer whispers to me between shots “this is the first time I have ever seen Natasha not working”. That is how you become a star athlete and build a successful eatery - targeted intention and working at it day after day. At the table, which was beautifully set up in the lush garden, Natasha and her guests Lebowa, Queen, Tumi and Reitumetse enjoyed endless bubbles in between conversation. The conversation around the table was centered around friendship, a beautiful tribute from Natasha to her loved ones. She spoke of the meaning of friendship to her and gave personal messages of appreciation to each one of her guests, who in turn received it with so much love and sent it right back. 

That Monday afternoon, the team, obsessed with excellence and ensuring that the host Natasha and her guests have a good time was a ball of nerves in anticipation for 3pm. A few minutes past the hour, Natasha, along with friends, arrived at the venue. We knew she was outside without so much of a knock or text alert. We heard her. Natasha is the type of person whose presence is strongly felt, she enters the room and commands attention, not in an obnoxious attention seeking manner, but in an indescribable way that just draws you to her. She stands up straight, her voice is commanding, she walks in and everybody asks 'who is that girl’ (that’s of course if you didn’t already know who she is). Once she was in, instantly the mood was lighter and everybody was laughing, we all knew from then on that it would be a wonderful afternoon.