A young chef from Mpumalanga shares with us his journey to become a chef and running his own catering business. He also shares simple cooking tips that will make you enjoy being indoors during the lockdown.
My name is Sfisokuhle Madonsela from a township called Pienaar in Nelspruit, Mpumalanga. I am an entrepreneur and chef who’s very passionate in working with food. I did my culinary studies in Pretoria at Steyns culinary school.
The Struggle To Become A Chef
I grew up as a young boy who hated doing house chores especially cooking and washing dishes. I remember the days when my mother and my eldest sister insisted on teaching me how to cook but would always refuse because I had in the back of my mind that cooking is for women. And my mother would end up saying “One day you gonna remember these times my son, you’ll find yourself stuck at your own somewhere in a flat out of town with no one to cook for you.” And I’d respond by saying; It wont matter I’ll live on takeaways. A time came in my life where I saw myself leaving home going to Gauteng to study mechanical engineering. I got there and studied and deep down I felt that this engineering thing is not for me, I was bored until a time came and I decided to quit the course and I went to look for a job.
Luckily I got called up at Ocean basket for an interview, I went and did a 1 month training and my plan was to be a waiter (wanting to make lots of money through tips), our trainer refused me that chance and sent me straight to the kitchen hahaha! He definitely saw something in me which I didn’t see in myself, so first few days I was bored in the kitchen because I grew up hating cooking. After a couple of days I started having dreams, seeing myself wearing Chefs uniforms and these dreams came flooding day after day, I then went to God and prayed about it and God led me to the book of Proverbs 19:21 which says “Many are the plans in a man’s heart but it is the Lord’s purpose that shall prevail.” I then saw myself enjoying the training and being in the kitchen and passion for working with food grew so much.
A new store was opened after that 1 month of training, we worked and I kept enjoying and then I decided to take on culinary studies as I wanted to become a professional in the food industry, I checked for the best affordable schools online and I came across Steyns culinary school. I then went to my boss who was very friendly to me and I asked him to lend me some money so I’d go study about food. He borrowed me the money and I went on to register.
One of my classmates, Tristan, came to school one day with a box and said to me “Young man I’ve been observing you since day one and I saw how passionate you are, so here with me is a gift I have for you, take it and go pursue your dreams and become the greatest.” I took the box and opened it and I saw lots of cooking books inside, I cried and hugged the man saying thank you very much sir. Then God said to me “Now here you go, that’s my confirmation right there son.” And from that day on, I never looked back!
The Journey To Start The Business
I continued working at Ocean basket and managed to repay my boss all the money I owed him, and then work at one of the best restaurants in Sandton City. The plan was to go there and gain skill and leave, I worked for a month or two, got ill-treated and I decided to leave and go start my own catering company. But before starting my own business, God tested me by giving me a huge task… My uncle who was due to getting married called me to organize his wedding and also to do catering, I agreed and decided to provide my services for free because it was my first time catering for over 100 people. Wedding day came and I woke up very early and the 2 ladies who were to assist me came very late and I began to feel the pressure hahaha! I received compliments from all guests and they started to call me ‘Chef Sfiso.’ And I pursued on starting my own food business and today I own my own catering company called FOODVILLE (PYT) LTD.
The goal now is to continue studying culinary, grow the business and become one of the greatest chef’s, entrepreneur in the world and serve the world my gift through God’s grace.