Galliova Award-winning chef Sibahle ‘Siba’ Mtongana may be the most successful chef that many people have never heard of; however, this is about to change thanks to a new show on the Food Network. Filmed in Cape Town, Siba’s Table is set to wow audiences worldwide. A former model who has already made her name as a food writer, its star is part of a new generation of culinary arts professionals determined to bring the art of fine cooking to the masses.
A believer in keeping things simple, Siba says that her top kitchen priorities are a gas stove, a dishwasher, a sharp knife, a good chopping board and good pots and pans. Her recipes are designed to suit a wide range of different occasions and have been adapted to make sure that the ingredients can be found in any modern city to enable as many people to make them as possible. They are inspired by traditional South African dishes but have been blended with elements of the fusion cuisine for which Cape Town is gaining an international reputation.
Making Siba’s Table that little bit different are reality show elements that show her husband and their baby son wandering through her home as she works. With scenes of Siba feeding friends and family, the show highlights the social nature of her cooking. She says that the high expectations of those close to her ensure that she maintains her high standards.
One of Siba’s priorities is to focus on food that viewers can easily recreate at home. A former judge on MasterChef South Africa, she is also very much a hands-on educator and has toured her native country to deliver cooking workshops. Siba also speaks in cooking schools and colleges, keen to inspire the culinary arts professionals of the future. Her own education is in food and food science, with a sideline in nutrition. Despite not being born there, she is strongly rooted in Cape Town and says that she wants to use her new show to show off its beauty to the world.
Siba’s show looks set to bring Cape Town’s artisan culinary community and South Africa’s cooking traditions to a much wider audience, and the charismatic presenter seems to find it easy to win over new fans. If she is lucky, she will also be successful in prompting others to follow in her footsteps.