In most Mzansi households, the kitchen is the heart of the home. For Boitumelo Maphothoma it’s no different. In fact, she confesses that cooking helps her escape the rush of her daily life. This young foodie is a scheme coordinator for a medical aid company, but the best part of her day is coming home to cook.
She grew up in Nelspruit, and holds a qualification in psychology and international relations from the University of Witwatersrand. Like other food lovers, Maphothoma, better known as Tumi M, didn’t have a passion to cook at first. But as a picky eater she started throwing her weight around the kitchen by learning to cook her favourite dishes.
Maphothoma laughs when she reminisces about her first experience in the kitchen. “I was 11 years old when I burned the pap and tried to cover it up, by adding mielie-meal and water.”
When Maphothoma was only six years old her mother passed away. Although she can’t give much detail, her fondest childhood memories involve spending time with her late mother.
She says, “I mostly cook off of my emotions and my social media pages will show that I don’t only make one style of food. I literally make anything and everything that I enjoy.”
“I think a time before bills and adulting are my best memories. But all my best childhood memories include my late mom, although I can’t remember what we were doing. I just remember her being here,” Maphothoma says.
Almost forty five thousand people follow her cooking and recipes on her social media page Meals With Tumi. She is crazy about any type of cuisine that tastes and smells exotic. She loves Thai, Indian, Moroccan and Chinese dishes. Her favourite food to eat (when she’s not preparing it herself) is pizza.
The 29-year-old says the type of food she prepares depends on the way that she feels. “I really don’t have a favourite recipe to cook. I mostly cook off of my emotions and my social media pages will show that I don’t only make one style of food. I literally make anything and everything that I enjoy.”
Maphothoma believes Mzansi’s farmers are underappreciated for the hard work they do – ploughing the land to feed the country. “I’m a huge fan of fresh produce and it is through farming I am able to cook from the comfort of my home; making delicious recipes using local and fresh produce. I think we don’t thank the Lord enough for farmers.”
“Everyone has a story to tell,” says this young foodie, and she will continue to build on hers, personally and professionally, as she enjoys every moment in the kitchen.
“Personally, I would love to remain the wallflower that I am and professionally, I want people to think of my name whenever anything to do with food is mentioned. I want to be a household name and still maintain myself.”