I want your job: Xoliswa Ndoyiya
Xoliswa Ndoyiya chats to us about her new cook book and cooking for the former South African president Nelson Mandela.
Name: Xoliswa Ndoyiya
Job: Author and chef
Tell us about your job, what does it entail?
I am always in the kitchen. I prepare all meals for the Mandela family.
How did you get there?
Gloria Nocanda a friend of mine liked my food. She said she would like to work with me. She is the one who introduced me to the Mandela family.
What is the best part of your job?
I love cooking. Cooking is my passion. It’s also about who I am cooking for and who I am working for that makes my job special.
What is the hardest part of your job?
There is nothing that is that difficult about my job but sometimes I have to cater for a number of guests at a short notice. There are always guests at the house and you have to be ready for large numbers .
Tell us about your new book Ukutya KwaseKhaya? What kind of recipes can people expect from the book?
The book was a dream come true. I have always wanted to have my own recipe book but it only became a reality after I met Anna Trapido. She was writing her own book called Hunger for Freedom and she interviewed me as part of her research. I told her that I will give her some of my recipes, but not all because I also have a dream to publish my own book and then she helped me realise it.
I have mixed the recipes in my book. I have traditional Xhosa food and also Western food. It's comfort food that everyone grew up eating and loved.
What’s your signature dish?
I am always expected to make sweet chicken and oxtail stew. The family loves it.
What is Nelson Mandela’s favourite dish?
He likes umngqusho (samp and beans) and umleqwa (free range chicken).
What items should everyone have in their kitchen cupboard and why?
I like my knife and I prefer to use my own knife where ever I go to make things easy for me. Good pots are the basis of any kitchen.
What meal would you whip up on a whim if guests suddenly arrive?
It depends on the season. It's winter now so I would make a quick butternut soup for a starter.
You are Nelson Mandela’s personal chef. Is there anyone else you would like to invite for a meal?
This is hard because there are so many people I would like to cook for, but if I have to name one it will have to be Noli Mboni. She is Tito Mboweni’s sister-in-law and I have learnt a lot from her.
What is the best career advice you have ever received?
Always invite people home for a meal rather than take them out to a restaurant. When you cook for people in your home it shows just how much you love and care for them.
If you were not on a chef, what would you do?
I love my job and I wouldn’t change it for anything but I love reading. When I am not cooking I read a lot.