Mussels casserole by Lorna Maskeo. Picture: Supplied

Former professional ballerina, TV personality, celebrity chef and businessperson Lorna Maseko can now add cookbook author to her curriculum vitae.

“'Celebrate with Lorna Maseko' is a love letter from me to you through food,” said Maseko. She gushed with excitement at the sight of it. “I literally was in tears when I touched it,” she added. “It is a book as bright and bold as my personality”.

Model and influencer Blue Mbombo with Lorna Maseko. Picture: Supplied

In "Celebrate with Lorna Maseko", she takes you to the township of Alexandra and tells where her love for food came from. 

She remembers how she enjoyed a burger and chips when she participated in the Prix De Lausanne ballet competition; how she fell in love with Asian food when she visited Hong Kong; how she participated in MasterChef South Africa and made one of her mom’s favourite chicken dishes; the role Chef Carlos Gayton played in her love for fish and Mexican food; how traditional dishes can be recreated using a bit of imagination; how she learned to prepare the perfect steak in chef’s school; how travelling exposed her to international food cultures.

Lorna Maseko. Picture: Supplied

Now you can make all these wonderful recipes in the comfort of your own home. In this cookbook, the overarching theme is her encouraging home cooks to recreate traditional South African dishes with a bit of imagination. 

Maseko says it was the success of her SABC3 show – "The Hostess" – that lead her to create this book. “I thought I would share some of my favourite recipes from 'The Hostess' – well, at least the ones viewers absolutely loved the most,” Maseko said. “I’ve tweaked them a little and also elevated them to the next level.”

When asked what her favourite dish was, Maseko remarked, "I absolutely love the calamari and chorizo dish, but my fall-off-the-bone oxtail brings all the boys to the yard. Oxtails are the tail of the cow. They may not be a cut of beef you'd normally think to use, but if you skip oxtails, you're really missing out because they make wonderful soups and stews. This nostalgic dish features succulent pieces of oxtail slow-cooked in an aromatic sauce. It’s honestly worth all the effort."