August 13, 2019

Chef Ntuthuko Tshabalala

Chef Mebe

Ntuthuko Tshabalala is not your typical Township Caterer. She is a mother, a chef, a cake artist, an organic vegetable farmer.  Born and raised in Dube Village Soweto, in an entrepreneurial family. Her passion for food art was inspired by exposure to the Township Style of fast foods at her grandparent’s butchery and Fish and Chips shops in Soweto. The family later moved to West Rand Agricultural Holdings where she discovered her green fingers, experimenting with planting high value crops for home use.

Inspired at by her grandmothers’ ability to infuse traditional South African dishes and Western dishes, it was at the tender age of 9 years old that she fell in love with 1st cookbook by Chef Dorah Sithole. After she matriculated she enrolled in the Holy Family Collage: The Industry Connection programme where she obtained a certificate in Food Preparation and culinary arts. It was during this intensive training programme that exposed her to various opportunities within the Food and Hospitality industry. T.I.C afforded her the opportunity work as a technical support crew member on a cooking show called “Off The Menu” and did product activation campaigns for various well known kitchen appliance brands. She even co-hosted a 15-minute segment called “Snack Attack” on YoTV, a live television show with two other former T.I.C students, where they prepared   It was during her time as an In-Service student at the City Lodge Hotel in Katherine Street where she fully embraced the industry. She graduated with the second highest academic marks in her class.  

She tried her luck in the corporate world and it didn’t take long for her to realise that she belonged in the kitchen. In 2010 after she completed her training as a Traditional Healer, she moved back home and started freelancing as a private chef part time. In 2015 she registered Nubian Uju Food and Hospitality Solutions, with a core focus on Food and Hospitality Services.  Very soon after she found herself growing organic vegetables not only for home use, but also to supply her test kitchen. Fuelled by the determination of documenting her grandmothers’ recipes and learning more about South African cookery. 

 She was then introduced to an organization for urban farmers called Izindaba Zokudla – Conversations About Food where she was mentored by Dr Naude Malan who introduced her to The South African Chefs Association.  It was during the six months Wilmar Excella Enterprise Development Programme which is facilitated by the association that she discovered that you don’t have to be a caterer to be relevant in the Food and Hospitality Industy. Training and working with the association ignited a new found passion for training and development. The concept of “From Farm to Plate” started making more sense and interacting with chefs, farmers and consumers made her realise the importance of knowing where your food comes from and how its produced. Knowing that being a chef and farmer, one has the power to educated and empower people from all walks of life. 

Inspired by the beauty she feels and creates. From her bespoke cakes to her unforgettable chakalaka. From breaking new ground with the Nubian Uju brand and taking her organic vegetable garden to greater heights or helping people to heal and rebuild their lives. She wants to be remembered for creating legendary experiences!  

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