Cook Ella Mthethwa says food stole her heart…

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Ella Gqinekile Mthethwa swapped her love for plants to pursue her dreams of becoming a culinary queen. Today she runs her own catering company and employs ten people.

This came after she worked as an assistant horticulturalist for six years. “I worked for Ekurhuleni Municipality as a horticulturist assistant but then the food business stole my heart.”

Growing up in Emzinoni, Bethal in Mpumalanga, Mthethwa was raised by parents Enoch and Betty. She was the youngest with five older siblings: three brothers and two sisters. Sundays have always been the highlight of the week for this cook as she fondly remembers their family’s lunch preparations.

“I’ve always loved to be in the kitchen, since I was a teenager. My best memories as a child are when I used to assist my mom preparing Sunday lunch before we went to church.”

After finishing high school at Alpheus D Nkosi Secondary in her hometown in 1998, Mthethwa followed her dream of working with plants and studied horticulture. “I matriculated at AD Nkosi High School and furthered my studies through The University of South Africa (UNISA), completing my Horticulture and Marketing Management degree.”

The kitchen has always been Mthethwa's happy place.
The kitchen has always been Mthethwa’s happy place.

Mthethwa’s passion for cooking was revived when she ended up working for Emperors Palace in Johannesburg as a trainee chef from 2004 to 2005. She adds that although she may not be a qualified chef, her cooking skills is for sure a gift from above. “Cooking is my passion since I was a teenager. I never went to any culinary school. It’s a God given talent,” she says.

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In 2014, Mthethwa started her own catering company, Angela’s Kitchen and Events Management. “My work is very demanding, early mornings and late evenings. Sometimes I would leave home from Friday and only come back on Sunday depending on the event. I have employed 10 dedicated and reliable people to work with me.”

This cook is always comfy in the kitchen. “I wear safety shoes, stilettos won’t work for me.” Although she cooks for a living, Mthethwa’s favourite dishes includes roasts, curries and African cuisine – except chicken feet. Away from the kitchen she loves to sit back and relax and spend time with her family.

Mthethwa says it is simple, she questions everything she does and that keeps her motivated. There is no purpose without plans and she has quite a few on her list. Personally, she wants to see herself owning at least two venues to host events. Regarding her professional life, she says, “nothing will complete me more than being an author and having my own cook book.”

Showing off what she has been blessed with, Mthethwa prepared tasty lamb chops and roast potatoes…


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