Celebrity chef Siba Mtongana. File image.
Celebrity chef Siba Mtongana. File image.

Siba Mtongana wants African cuisine to be a staple across the globe

By Karishma Dipa Time of article published Aug 28, 2021

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Acclaimed celebrity chef Siba Mtongana believes that African cuisines are full of flavour, culture and personality and should be shared and celebrated.

In a bid to shine a spotlight on meals originating from the continent, Mtongana has teamed up with other African cooking enthusiasts for DSTV’s brand new show, House of Chefs.

The cooking programme debuted on the broadcaster’s HONEY channel (173) earlier this month.

It involves a group of aspiring African chefs from South Africa, Ghana, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Kenya and Zambia, who battle it out for a coveted internship at Siba’s fine-dining restaurant in the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

Apart from a coveted spot in the kitchen at the prestigious five-star eatery at the Table Bay hotel, the winner will also walk away with a R70 000 cash prize.

“This is a career-changing opportunity for young chefs,” Mtongana insisted.

“I really believe that some of these chefs are our next culinary stars and I look forward to seeing them grow in leaps and bounds in the future.”

Mtongana is no stranger to the African food scene and has even lent her expertise on shows like Siba’s Table, Wedding Crashers and Chopped South Africa.

Her eatery, SIBA – The Restaurant, an elevated and experiential fine dining experience which has limited seating of a maximum 100 people, has also gone on to be a resounding success.

But the renowned chef admitted that she is also passionate about educating others on all-things-African cuisines and that House of Chefs is the ideal way for her to contribute to the development and success of young chefs from the continent.

“I have been pushing the African culinary wave for a long time and this was a natural and very strategic move to give our food a bigger and authoritative voice,” Mtongana told The Saturday Star this week.

“I enjoy teaching and empowering others and this has afforded me that opportunity to pass on knowledge and information to all those that will be part of the show from the contestants to the audience that will be watching the show.”

Mtongana added that she was particularly keen on being part of House of Chefs because she felt that it was important for Africa to own its narrative.

“I believe this show is going to teach Africans about their own food, introduce new ingredients and foods that many have never seen or heard of before and it will make many embrace and be proud to celebrate their own food heritage and food culture.

“I also hope that it further increases the curiosity globally of what we as Africans eat and hopefully to a point that our food can to be as celebrated around the table as much as we celebrate ingredients from the rest of the world.”

Mtongana admitted that while the global appeal for African cuisines has spiked over the past few years and there is increased interest from all over the world for African food and flavours, it it still isn’t at the point it should be.

“For me, until our food also becomes a staple across the globe, then I’ll be satisfied.

She hopes that this can be achieved through the culinary work of young and aspiring African chefs, such as The House of Chefs contestants and her advice for them to follow in her path is simple: “Make sure you invest enough on yourself to be the very best.

“Push yourself to new heights and, should you want to go into business like opening a restaurant, make sure to learn enough about it not only through working in restaurants as a chef to gain the necessary experience, but also making sure you learn the business side of things because they are two different things that both need mastery.”

Catch House of Chefs on DSTV channel 173 on Friday nights at 9pm.

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