Mogau Seshoene & Zanele Van Zyl
Mogau Seshoene & Zanele Van Zyl
Tuesday 9 August
In the midst of their joint book tour, we sit down with celebrity chefs Mogau Seshoene and Zanele Van Zyl to chat about the incredible reception of their cookbooks, the supportive female chef community, and of course, Women’s Day.
“This recent cookbook was inspired by everything we’ve been through this lockdown,” Mogau says about her book ‘Hosting with the Lazy Makoti’. “All throughout lockdown I’d be logging in, cooking with everyone, and I decided to compile all the recipes and put them into this cookbook.”
Mogau is a trained chef and award winning cookbook author. She started The Lazy Makoti in 2014 after moving away from the corporate world to focus on her passion for food. What started out as cooking lessons for a bride-to-be friend who didn’t want to be labelled ‘The Lazy Makoti’ (the lazy daughter-in-law) because she couldn’t cook, evolved into a business.
“This [book] was more than anything a collaborative effort with my audience. People would write in and say what recipes they would like to see. I really just thought about a time like now, after Covid is ‘gone’, and we can all gather,” she says.
“It’s the same with me, I actually wrote my book during lockdown. I released the book in 2020. I was inspired by people who wanted to cook online. I wrote so many recipes!” says Zanele.
Zanele grew up the village of Bergville, KZN, watching her mother cook soulful traditional food. After meeting her husband, she discovered her passion and talents in the culinary arts.
After qualifying as a professional chef, she started teaching cooking classes, ‘Cooking with Zanele’. In these classes, she shares her passion for food with keen foodies in different kitchens across the country.
“For me it’s more about growing. The first [cookbook] was starting from the beginning – your cheesecakes, your samp, all your basic things. This second one is more advanced, I would say a middleclass. You get everything, your French cuisine is there, your African cuisine, it’s a mixture of everything,” says Zanele.
According to Mogau, the reception of their cookbooks has been incredible. “Both cookbooks are on the bestseller list. We’ve both enjoyed great support from South Africans.”
The support from within the culinary industry has also been integral. “I think the support is the reason why we’re here. There’s this sisterhood that is so effortless. I feel like I’m at home every time I’m in the presence of another chef,” says Mogau.
Zanele believes that the women chefs in South Africa are stronger together. “We learn to help and teach one another; you can never stop growing. It makes the community friendly and we’re happy people! We love food, we show people that we love them by giving them food,” she says.
For Mogau, Women’s Month is a reminder of what women are capable of. “As women we do know that we’re strong, but it’s just a day to be with yourself. Today, I need all the women to be at the spa, relaxing, not doing anything for anyone. And just replenishing yourself,” she says.
“It’s the day to get spoilt, make sure you get spoilt!” Zanele adds.
Both Mogau and Zanele are inspired by their mothers this Women’s Day. “I might sound biased, but it’s definitely my mother… She was a single mom, my dad passed on when I was nine years old… She’s a power woman.”
“Obviously our moms come first because they’re the first to show us womanhood. But a lot of women [inspire me], including my friend here, Zanele, that go out there and get the impossible done,” says Mogau.
The book tour does not stop here. “The plan is to get as far as we can… We really want to go everywhere. We’ve enjoyed such great support from South Africans, we’d like to get everywhere and see them. Sign their books, spend some time with them,” says Mogau.
Follow the ladies on social media to find out where they’ll be signing next
@thelazymakoti / The Lazy Makoti
@cookingwithzanele / Cooking with Zanele