Twins Tebo and Lebo Ndala may have a smorgasbord of culinary experiences under their belts, but they remain down-to-earth Mamelodi girls.
Their first recipe book, "Food Stories" is their invitation to anyone who enjoys good food to join them on their journey.
From grandmother Koko’s kitchen to working at a flatbread stand as culinary students and attending university in Los Angeles, the twins make every new taste experience their own.
The results include boerewors corn dogs, koeksisters with rooibos glaze and a whole chapter devoted to South African jollof. Even their kinda sorta healthy recipes that range from zucchini bolognaise to gluten-free bananasplit pancakes have Italian, American and Asian roots.
We chatted to them to find out more:
How proud are you both of this achievement?
It’s our very first cookbook, which took bit over two years to create. We are beside ourselves, we are so happy and we are very proud of ourselves. We worked so hard on this book.
What’s the inspiration behind the book?
The people we’ve met, experiences we’ve had and the places we’ve had the pleasure to travel to inspired this book. This book is like our mini memoir.
What are your top three dishes?
The creamy spinach samp is one of our favorites, our grandma always made us samp so it’s a happy memory. Then the chili chocolate brownies, we don’t even need to explain, doesn’t that sound absolutely amazing!!! And lastly the oxtail pepper soup, it’s like a blend of South and West African culture, it’s just beautiful.
How would you two describe yourselves?
We’re hugaholics, we love people and we are so down to earth. Very simple girls who love reading.
When did your love for cooking start?
It started when we were young. Our mom has always been an amazing cook with the best lunchbox meals in the world, we just wanted to be just like her.
What is your greatest memories/ experience in the culinary industry?
We think traveling has been our best experience, there’s nothing like it. It opens up your mind ans it has taught us so much about food and different cultures.
Which fellow cookbook author is your biggest influence and why?
We’ll have to go with Ma’am Dorah Sitole, she’s absolutely amazing.
Tell us more about your food experience overseas?
Our biggest food experience and impact was our very first international trip to Thailand. Wow, that was an experience and a half, before then we had never eaten anything but South African food so that just made our pallets jump up and down.
How easy is it to teach others cooking/baking skills?
It’s quite easy. We think the biggest lesson is teaching people that cooking is not as daunting as they think it is. And as long as you follow instructions, you’ll be fine and soon you’ll be a pro.
What challenges have you faced and how did you overcome it?
Oh, running a business is definitely challenging, anyone can vouch for that. For the first two years of running out business we were headless chickens, we didn’t make a single cent, not even profit, we lost a lot of money but we live and we learn. We were rejected countless times but we stayed hungry and consistent. Experience is the biggest teacher.