It seems that there’s almost nothing chef Nti can’t conquer – from high fashion to haute cuisine and running her busy Maboneng restaurant. Ahead of the release of her first cookbook, we spoke with Nti about African ingredients, her morning routine and her advice for SA women starting out in food.
Food24: Who was your cooking role model growing up?
Nti: Easy, Mama D – my mom. Growing up helping to get dinner ready was a fun activity for me.
Exclusive Chef Nti recipe: Creamy mushroom ostrich burger
Food24: Which ingredient are you loving right now?
Nti: Habanero chilli – I love the flavour and it has the right level of heat. It’s one of the key ingredients for my tomato relish sauce – I love how the floral notes complement all the fresh ingredients perfectly.
Food24: As a hardworking businesswoman, tell us about your morning routine:
Nti: I love to keep active – when time allows, I start my day with an hour of boxing. And then I’ll have a good high-fibre breakfast just to get my body ready for those super long hours in the kitchen.
Exclusive chef Nti recipe: Vienna and spinach cheese bites
Food24: What kind of experience can guests expect at Taste Kitchen, your restaurant?
Nti: Taste Kitchen is located in the heart of Maboneng, housed in a beautiful French colonial building – the idea is for it to feel like home. The actual kitchen is the heart of the restaurant and cooking becomes part of the entertainment. We enjoy taking our guests on a culinary journey across the continent, since our menu is a celebration of Africa’s culinary heritage. We take Africa’s favorite dishes and give them a modern take by fusing [them] with Mediterranean or Asian cuisine/technique.
Food24: When you’re travelling overseas, what’s the one South African food you miss the most?
Nti: That’s a tough one. Boerewors!
Food24: Do you have any advice for women starting out in the food industry?
Nti: Be ready to work hard. Anything is possible. And work from your point of truth. Never allow the industry to influence you. Always stay passionate about food.
Food24: What’s the one thing you always have in your fridge?
Nti: Cream cheese.
RECIPE VIDEO: No-bake butternut-and-caramel cheesecake
Chef Nti’s first cookbook, My Modern African Kitchen, is now
available for pre-order, and copies will be available from the end of September