Hi Nomandla, tell us a little more about yourself?
I began my cooking career by doing a three year National Diploma in Professional Cookery through the International Hotel School in Cape Town. Then I did my three year internship at a 5 star hotel call Le Franschhoek Hotel and Spa in Franschhoek.
After working in the best hotels in Cape Town and Durban (The Hilton Hotel) and the best Industrial Catering Company in South Africa (Capitol Caterers), I decided to venture out on my own to follow my passion on my own terms. Now I own a catering company called Ekayise Delicacies and Ekayise On The Run.
We cater for a variety of events like weddings, baby and bridal showers, birthday parties for young and old, family gatherings, funerals and un-veilings. I am currently starting a few new projects that include Healthy Kiddies Lunchboxes, Organic Baby Food, Healthy Meals to deliver to workplaces or home for those who just don’t feel like cooking after a long day. We basically do everything that has to do with food.
We’ve heard you do good cooking presentations too?
Yes, we usually have stalls to sell our food at certain sport events like The KZN Trailrun, Motorsports SA and social events like the popular Chillanathi events. We have also created our own speciality sauces called Jalapeno Mayo and Chilli Chutney. A variety of more sauces are underway.
I do what I do for the love of food, the love of interacting with new people from all walks of life. I live to put smiles on people’s faces with my food. I love experimenting with food and coming up with weird and wonderful dishes!
Cooking for me is also very therapeutic and has been a passion of mine from a young age. My late father loved cooking so much and he always made the best food. In fact we even used to have cook-offs. So using his recipes and making these dishes and sharing them with the community also puts a smile on my face. I get to keep his memory alive in the kitchen.
What’s your biggest work challenge?
Definitely finances and trying to buy assets that can help your business grow. A typical example would be industrial equipment and a van to help me to cater in further places. My biggest challenge is that I have so many ideas and plans but when it comes to implementing them, finances get in the way. It can be very frustrating, especially when you see a good opportunity and then you are forced to either let it go or just wait because we don’t have the means to implement it.
My father used to tell me: “To live like a king, you have to work like a slave”. Not literally, I interpreted it as one has to work very hard to live your dream life. As I got older, I came across “Do what you love and you will never work a day in your life”. I loved that because it encourages one to follow their passion and not just be driven by money or material things.
I love what I do and yes, it is nice to have cash but you know what? I never feel like I am actually working. I am having a blast! So to answer your question, I live by both as much as they seem to contradict each other.
Who has been your biggest inspiration ?
Aaaahhh! I have many. I look up to people who had dreams but didn’t allow bad or poor circumstances to hold them back. They pushed through all challenges from not so fortunate backgrounds and followed their dreams.
One of them is my dad Dr MP Mncwabe, he was known as “Umafa Avuke”, this means that each time people thought he was through or down and out, he would rise again – much higher than before.
My grandfather Prince GL Zulu also rose above all challenges and became a man amongst men. Besides his very successful career, he never ever forgot who he was and where he came from. He loved people and always gave back to the community and also changed many people’s lives. He loved children and always wanted to make them happy. Every time he came to Nongoma he would bring boxes and boxes of sweets and chips for the children around the rural areas. He constantly made sure that there was more than enough food cooked at home so that whoever came to visit, be it young or old, always left with a full stomach. He even went as far as buying loads of groceries to distribute throughout the community. If I could be half as great as these men, I would be very happy with myself.
In five years time, I would loooove to own my own restaurants, a Chef School for those with the passion but not enough resources to study. Last but not least, I would love to have my own factory that makes our very own products and distributes nationally, if not internationally. Personally, I would like to have transitioned into being a vegan. I have grown quite an interest in the lifestyle and some of the products I have in line will accommodate those who also choose this lifestyle.
Unity and peace! This race issue that is dividing our country is really worrying me. We must not allow ourselves to be divided. We need to start teaching our kids to love and respect elders, peers and those younger than them. Hate is not something you are born with, it is something one is taught. Therefore it can be unlearned.
I also pray that our economy grows from strength to strength so we can eventually eradicate poverty, be able to have free basic education so people can learn how to make a living because I believe this also plays a big role in the crime rate in this country.
Instagram & Twitter: @EkayiseDelicacies