Chef Ntwenhle Gcabashe
We chatted to talented food editor of Bona magazine, Ntwenhle Gcabashe, and promptly invited her to present the first Spekko rice sponsored Kasi Kitchen series on Soweto TV. Ntwenhle – is not only the food editor for Bona, but she also has great foodie Facebook page: In the Kitchen with Ntwenhle Gcabashe. This girl has gone places with her tasty talent that most of us only dream about. After completing a diploma in hospitality at the ML Sultan Technikon in Durban (now DUT), she worked as a chef at Disney World in Florida in the USA for 12 months. She then worked as a chef on the picturesque Guernsey Island for five years. Returning to South Africa in 2008, she convinced Sbu Mpungose, the then Bona editor, to appoint her as food editor. And she’s never looked back.
Getting to know Ntwenhle:
Spekko: What is your favourite local ingredient?
Ntwenhle Gcabashe: I have many but the main ones are amadumbe and maize meal.
Sp: What do you cook when the days are dark and everybody needs a lifting of the spirits?
NG: I’d make tripe with steam dumplings.
SP: What is your family’s favourite everyday dish?
NG: Anything with uphuthu (crumby maize meal porridge usually enjoyed with vegetable or meat).
SP: What would you eat in Paris – if budget wasn’t a factor?
NG: A lobster dish with a glass of Cristal Brut Champagne.
SP: Chefs you admire – local, international, and why?
NG: There are so many chefs that I admire! But if I had to choose, it would be Mama Dorah (Dorah Sitole) here in South Africa and on the international front, Anjum Anand, because she makes the best curries.
SP: Favourite South African restaurant ?
NG: Roma Revolving Restaurant in Durban. I love everything about the place – from the food to the atmosphere.
SP: Where do you see yourself in five years?
NG: I love writing for Bona. Publishing a cooking book one day would be nice too.
SP: Your greatest achievement?
NG: Being a Spekko chef on Soweto TV in 2012 and 2013. It built my confidence and opened doors for me.
SP: What do you do when you’re not cooking?
NG: I love spending time with my family and watching gospel TV shows.
SP: Favourite food writer?
NG: Nigella Lawson
SP: Your pet hate in the SA foodie business?
SP: The most underrated ingredient in local cuisine?
NG: Imifino (pumpkin leaves)
Recipe from the Chef
Easy Meat Loaf with Rice, Spinach and Cream
1 Bunch spinach, finely chopped
375 ml (1 ½ cups) Cooked Spekko Saman White Rice
250 ml ( 1 cup) Cream
390 ml (2 tbsp) Mustard sauce
500 g Minced beef
2 Spring onion, chopped
2 Eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Preheat oven to 180 °C.
2. Blanch the spinach in boiling water, rinse and drain water.
3. Mix rice, cream, mustard sauce, mince, onions and eggs. Season.
4. Spoon in a greased oven dish and bake for 40-45 minutes.
5. Serve hot or cold with a salad.