LOOK: 8 South African cookbooks win at Gourmand World Cookbook Awards

Neo Nontso. Picture: Dine With Neo/Instagram

Neo Nontso. Picture: Dine With Neo/Instagram

Published Jun 5, 2023


Eight South African cookbooks have won at this year’s Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, also known as the “Oscars of gastronomy books”, are held every year to recognise the best cookbooks and wine books worldwide.

The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards were founded in 1995 by Edouard Cointreau. Every year, they honour the best food and wine books, printed or digital, as well as food television.

The awards are an opportunity to build the image of the food culture in a country and show the world its spirit.

Let’s take a look at the South African cookbooks that won this year.

Food and Media Celebrity – “Simply Seven Colours”

“Simply Seven Colours” by Zola Nene celebrates the diverse cultural heritage of South Africans through the wonderful tradition of sharing meals.

In the cookbook, Nene gives praise to the uniquely South African “seven-colour” (or several-colour) concept with a selection of delicious recipes that tap into the heart of our food nostalgia, with a focus on going back to basics.

The idea of “Simply Seven Colours” is for you to create your own seven-colour menu by picking recipes from different chapters or “colours”.

From green, yellow, orange, brown, white and red, a rainbow of colours, and, of course, desserts to round off your seven-colour meal, this book is sure to bring you simply delicious joy.

Entertaining – “Hosting with the Lazy Makoti: A celebration of food”

“Hosting with the Lazy Makoti: A celebration of food” by Mogau Seshoene has 11 chapters of delicious food – everything from breakfasts to weekday dinners, weekend grub, plant-based food, and sweet treats.

In a recent interview with IOL Lifestyle, Seshoene said that during the lockdown people were cooking more than ever, and she would get on Instagram Live daily to cook with hundreds of people in their own kitchens.

She said that reignited a love for teaching and sharing easy but delicious recipes, and also afforded her a chance to double down and test countless recipes and start pulling them together to make this book.

“The cookbook was very much inspired by my community. At a time when all our voices were taken away and all we had was food, that food had to be good, really good,” said Seshoene.

First Cookbook – “Dine With Neo”

From classic South African dishes like chakalaka, oxtail stew and mogudu (tripe) to internationally-inspired favourites like paella, burritos, and sticky BBQ wings, Neo Nontso covers all taste and skill demands in this cookbook.

As a popular Instagram food entrepreneur, her most requested recipes are all together in one beautiful fun cookbook, along with her top tricks, cooking terminology, kitchen kit, a go-to grocery list, and baking versus grilling options.

In the cookbook you can expect over 150 pages of recipes split into categories such as “Dirty Dining” (fast food), “Weekend Special” (dishes for special occasions), “Pasta la Vista” (all sorts of pasta), “Something on the Side” (winning side dishes), and “Sweet Cravings” (desserts and treats), as well as her hearty recipes like lamb potjie, prawn curry, creamy chicken stew and spaghetti Bolognese, that are treasured by home cooks across the nation.

Blogs and Social Media – “Kosbaar”

“Kosbaar” is Elmarie Berry’s first recipe book published, it contains a part of her heart with recipes that she has gathered from the age of 15.

Her heart’s desire is that this book will feed your soul as well as your body, with food to enjoy with your loved ones.

“The objective is to make cooking easy and fun. My food style can be described as ‘boerekos’ with a Lebanese twist and a whole chapter of grain-free healthy recipes that the whole family can enjoy.

Food is about bringing people together and I hope that this book will remind you of the important things in life,” said Berry.

Self-published - “There’s a Vegan on My Verandah”

“There’s a Vegan on My Verandah” is a book that Louis Jansen van Vuuren and Isabella Niehaus put together based on a series of creative discussions they had.

In an interview with Vegan South Africa, Van Vuuren said the cookbook is like a visual dialogue between two friends who converse about food and the importance to source produce locally, organically and responsibly.

“The verandah is a communal space where one usually spends time with family and friends and inevitably the conversation will turn to food and the well-being of all concerned.

“It was important for me to share my vegan meandering with a wider audience, hoping to enrich lives and perhaps promote a more sustainable way to work with the food we produce for our nourishment,” he said.

Special Award - “Veggielicious”

In “Veggielicious”, chef Mokgadi Itsweng has reworked South African recipes with plant-forward passion. Itsweng describes the cookbook as a “plant-based offering from the garden of my dreams”.

She begins her flavour journey with condiments and spices, her secret weapon to guaranteed flavour. Itsweng uses indigenous, sometimes forgotten, ingredients like sorghum or millet to create fabulous salads, burgers and sauces. With healthy, sustaining breakfasts, small dishes for grazing platters or starters, show-stopping main dishes, creative sides, and delicious desserts, the cookbook is filled with innovative and delectable recipes that will turn your kitchen into a happy space.

Nicole Jennings and Afzal Dhansay (PhD) from Pharma Dynamics, at this year’s prestigious Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Sweden where the sixth recipe book in the company’s popular Cooking from the Heart cookbook series, won the award for the ‘Best Professional Health & Nutrition Book in the World’. Picture: Supplied

Best Professional Health and Nutrition Book – “Cooking from the Heart, the DASH Edition”

“Cooking from the Heart” was launched by a leading South African cardiovascular medicines provider, Pharma Dynamics, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA (HSFSA) to help South Africans control their blood pressure by following the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet to lower your blood pressure and your LDL (bad cholesterol) diet.

A spokesperson for Pharma Dynamics, Nicole Jennings, said while family history plays a role, hypertension is often due to an unhealthy diet, which prompted the development of the DASH cookbook, the fifth instalment in the “Cooking from the Heart” cookbook series.

CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation SA, Pamela Naidoo, said hypertension is most often associated with unhealthy lifestyle choices, which they are trying to curb by encouraging people to follow the DASH diet.

The cookbook is free to the public and contains 10 tasty, no-fuss recipes, with advice on how to structure meals based on DASH guidelines.

Best Vegan Book – “The Kind Kitchen”

“The Kind Kitchen” by Jason McNamara is not just the title of a cookbook or the name of a restaurant, it embodies a way of living for McNamara.

His innovative recipes re-imagine all your favourite dishes, from mac ’n cheese, chicken wings, burritos, bao buns, and maki rolls, to burgers and bunny chow. When it comes to sweet treats, McNamara has adapted family favourites, such as milk tart, pumpkin fritters and cheesecake to be dairy free, while his smoothies using plant-based milk mean less reliance on store-bought products.