Siba Mtongana: The master chef
Updated: May 13, 2019
Siba Mtongana @sibamtongana is a multi-award winning celebrity chef, author, food writer, food judge and media personality known for her cookbooks and food-focused television shows such as Siba’s table, a @foodnetworkseries, which is regularly broadcast in more than 150 countries across the globe. Siba tells us that her path to celebrity chefdom was not by design, although she knew from a young age that she wanted to be in the food industry. Her parents, however, wanted her to pursue law as they felt it provided a more secure future occupation. But a determined Siba negotiated hard and managed to convince them to allow her to study Food & Consumer science - they had one condition, if she did not pass well she would have to study law the following year! She made it into the top 5 in her class, secured herself a bursary and continued to pursue her passion for food. Her entry into industry was not the easiest as she initially struggled to find a role and ended up working in a fashion store for 9 months. Swallowing her pride, she sought the assistance of her former lecturers (who incidentally had been searching for her!) and made her aware of a trainee food editor role @drum_magazine which she got, being promoted to food editor after 2 years. Siba advocated for a great deal of change and introduced the weekly feature of cooking with local celebrities - a concept that was later turned into a television show when Drum realised its magazine audience was dying but the publication wasn’t yet ready to go digital. The show won a @saftassa and was sold to the UK, which is how Siba ended up on The Food Network’s radar. Running your own business is not easy, says Siba and sometimes you have to forfeit some things, for example she’s never had full maternity leave. Siba, who is a movie fanatic, has very recently had her fourth child, a baby girl.
We are inspired by Siba’s resilient pursuit of her passion for food and how such a warm and engaging personality serendipitously found her way on to our television screens, by staying focused on the path she loved. Her parents are no doubt extremely proud!
Featured artist: Katy Cambridge @the_portrait_artist