Meet Fikile Zungu, the author and cook who has been giving DJ Zinhle culinary lessons

Fikile Zungu’s culinary skills are on fire. Picture: Supplied

Fikile Zungu’s culinary skills are on fire. Picture: Supplied

Published Mar 25, 2024


Fikile Zungu’s culinary skills are on fire. Her passion for preparing exquisite meals carries her through life.

Zungu, affectionately known as Fikz by her friends and social media followers, is from Soweto in Gauteng.

Being the eldest of four siblings, her younger years were filled with both joy and challenges. She did not have any tertiary education and she was the breadwinner at home.

Zungu currently resides in Belgium with her partner and two children.

Her love for cooking started when she got promoted from being a domestic worker to a house cook for the residence of the ambassador of South Africa in Belgium in 2018. The same year, she started banting.

“I was not aware that I could cook until that time. I then started posting the meals that I cooked on social media and people loved my food, recipes, and the way I styled my meals.

“The love and the encouragement I got from social media really made my passion for cooking stronger,” said Zungu.

The popular cook said she never liked her cleaning job experience but it was the only thing she was qualified to do.

“I only have matric and never had tertiary education. At home, I was a breadwinner. Being a cleaner can take away your dignity and self-worth but then it pays bills. I used to be ashamed of what my kids would think of me.

“I thought I was a disappointment to them. I never loved myself in that cleaning space but I later learned that your bottom can be your ladder to climb up and I used that ladder because it all changed – today I am a professional cook.”

Noting her culinary skills, her fans started requesting that she publish a cookbook of her banting recipes and that is how her first book, “Maid to Cook – Cooking with Fikz”, came about.

Launched in 2019, the cookbook has simple and tasty banting meals and tells the story of how she dealt with obesity, her banting journey and her life from being a domestic worker to a cook.

‘Maid to Cook – Cooking with Fikz’ cookbook. Picture: Supplied

As much as Zungu never went to culinary school to hone her skills, she believes that anyone wanting to pursue a career as a chef should go and study for it.

“I really do think education is very important in general. You can have talent, but with education, your talent can be enhanced and also you can be able to handle your own administration.

“Going to school to become a professional chef is important to get more knowledge about the food and hospitality industry. When you have the raw talent of cooking, I think having more understanding of food can also help,” she said.

Now that she’s made her passion a career, Zungu said she loves what she does because “It has given me the new me”.

“I now have a purpose in life. I have goals and ambitions which I never had before. I was just living my life to survive, but now I want to strive. When I cook I am at peace, I am in control, I always surprise myself every day and I am more proud of myself.”

Zungu said her greatest achievements so far is publishing her cookbook, having people who take her seriously and listen to her about cooking and, best of all, now she is currently teaching one of the best female DJs in South Africa, Ntombezinhle Mohosana (nee Jiyane), also known as DJ Zinhle, how to cook.

Her teaching DJ Zinhle to cook comes after the “My Name Is” hitmaker was outed for not knowing how to cook in an interview given by her 8-year-old daughter, Kairo.

After the video went viral, the DJ looked for a mentor who would teach her how to cook and she chose Zungu.

On working with Zinhle, Zungu said when she heard she had been appointed, that was the day she saw the positive effect she has on people.

“What they did for me for mentioning my name, I can never forget. In life, it is always important to be humble and respect people because you might never know when you are going to need their help. I am so grateful for their support as there is no Fikz without them.

“I was so overwhelmed with love and when DJ Zinhle gave me the job it was mind-blowing because I never expected her to. It is very exciting to be working with her.

“She is such a breath of fresh air, adorable and relatable, and the fact that I am able to be myself around her makes me happy. After I am done with her she will come out as one of the best cooks.”