Cooking is an art, and chefs know it best.

You might have seen or tasted the amazing creations she makes, but now it is time to get to know the person behind the magic at one of Durban’s most popular shisanyama spots, Mojos Car Wash and Shisanyama and Mojos on Davenport, chef Sophie Khumalo.

Khumalo has been trusted with developing the menu and food styling which has allowed her to showcase her talent and passion for food.

For her, cooking is an art, so presentation is integral to the process.

Born in uMlazi, Khumalo was raised by her grandmother who was a domestic worker. Her grandmother would come home tired after cleaning and cooking for her employer but would still take the time to cook them a proper meal. That is where Khumalo’s passion to cook stems from – watching her grandmother.

She began cooking at funerals and parties and has been passionate about cooking for over a decade.

“In 2008, I installed a container, selling amagwinya (vetkoek) and inhloko (cow’s head) which I used to cut up myself and people found it delicious. In 2011 I was employed by eThekwini Municipality. To improve myself I studied business management, and further narrowed it to human resource management. There was still a void inside. That was when I made a decision to join a culinary school. I took a leap of faith and joined Capsicum Culinary School. I graduated with a diploma in cookery, as well as a City and Guilds Certificate that is internationally recognised,” she said.

She also got to work for The Oyster Box Hotel, which she said was a dream come true.

Asked about her New Year’s resolutions, and what brings her the most joy, Khumalo said she wanted to make people healthy through food and use sustainable fresh produce. She said the feeling of satisfaction she got from seeing the end product of her meals made her happy.

“Seeing the reaction of people receiving my dishes makes me happy. Making people smile through food is what I always aim for. To continue this, I will showcase my skill set of food styling and food presentation and creating dishes that are out of this world. I am bold and ambitious. I am not afraid to break boundaries. My platform allows me the freedom to bring an exquisite dining feel into a shisanyama,” said Khumalo.

As a head chef at a shisanyama outlet, she said in the past, eating at a shisanyama would have been different from going to a restaurant, but things had changed.

“A shisanyama is mainly about having meat weighed and braaied on a fire over wood or coal. Currently, it is no different as we are a fully compliant restaurant with state-of-the-art equipment to provide a full restaurant experience. To handle the pressure is to keep up by being consistent and on top of the game, and always setting the trends. One needs to keep creating delicious and colourful food. This always gives customers that wow effect,” she said.

Last year Khumalo launched her YouTube channel, “Cooking with SophieMojos”. She said its focus was to teach viewers how to make the world's renowned dishes.

“It is an exciting way to learn because I explain the reasons behind techniques that I apply as I give the lesson. The aim is to teach the specifics on how to get the greatest and desired end results,” said Khumalo.

2023-03-22T16:06:58Z dg43tfdfdgfd