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Quivertree Publications

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“All the recipes in Johanne 14 carry memories of comfort” – a Q&A with Hope Malau

Chef Hope Malau grew up in Klerksdorp in the North West Province eating traditional Sotho food prepared by his dad, who worked in a mine kitchen. Instilled with a deep love for cooking from an early age, Hope went on to study at the Professional Cooking Academy in Rustenburg before garnering experience at various restaurants in Cape Town. Hope is currently the food editor for DRUM magazine and has also won the prestigious Galliova Food Writer of the Year for the past two consecutive years.

Here he discusses his childhood memories of family meals, the traditional South African food scene, and why he is so attached to any Magau recipe…

You grew up eating traditional Sotho food prepared by your father. Would you cite your family as the main inspiration behind your love for all things culinary?
Yes, especially my granddad. He loves food because his body demanded good food and we adapted the same love. The memories of watching him cook and placing me on his lap to feed me while chatting about the goodness of what he has prepared. We were friends in a sense of he would take me everywhere to experience the cultures and community we were surrounded by in the township. Then experiencing food from my granddad’s work place in the mine kitchen and seeing the man wearing chefs-white got me more curious about food. When I got the chance to be a chef I worked hard at it and still am.

What made you decide to publish a book consisting of home-cooked meals in South African townships?
I didn’t publish it; Quivertree fell in love with how passionate I was about simple South African and almost-forgotten food that celebrate culture, community and family of black township South Africans. I’m glad that Quivertree Publications turned me into an author of this great book.

What are your thoughts regarding the current local cookbook-scene?
I’m glad that my book has knocked some interest into traditional South African food. I’m hoping that Johanne14 becomes that book that ignites excitement in young people about cooking.

Would you like to see more books devoted to traditional meals prepared as a family?
Yes, we need to show tourist how we celebrate as South African families, what brings us together.

If you had to pick a favourite recipe from Johanne14, what would it be and why?
That is a tough question as all the recipes in Johanne14 carry memories of comfort. But if I have to choose I would choose Megau a lot of people have forgotten how Megau used to create Ubuntu and taste different from store bought. You’ll understand me more by reading through the recipe in Johanne14 about Ubuntu.

Johanne 14

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