Vanessa Dossi ditched the corporate office for the culinary industry. Dossi, a former digital marketer and self-taught cook, turned her food blog into a lucrative business and she hasn’t looked back.
It all started when a number of her blog followers convinced Dossi to start hosting cooking classes and catering for small events. Today she owns a catering business, Vanilla Scented Kisses. She has prepared a Mzansi favourite: slow-cooked tripe.
A doubtful journey
Dossi was born and raised in Lilongwe in Malawi, with her two brothers and sister. One of her fondest childhood memories was pretending to cook for her mom, Thandikile. As a young girl, she spent hours cooking with friends from the neighbourhood where she was raised.
“All the girls in my neighbourhood would ask for ingredients from home to come together and cook in empty cans on open fires. We call it masanje. That is the first time I experienced the joy of cooking for people,” says Dossi.
When she was nine years old, her family moved to Botswana where her father, Willy, got a job. In 2008, she matriculated from Rainbow High School in Gaborone, and from there, Dossi relocated to Mzansi, where she obtained a Bachelor of Commerce in financial accounting and economics from Rhodes University in 2014.
“I worked in the financial industry after graduating in 2014, until June 2018 when I changed careers to work in marketing.” Today she works for a digital marketing agency as a social media manager and content creator in Johannesburg.
In 2016 she started receiving several requests to host cooking classes and cater.
“I couldn’t understand why people wanted classes and catering from me. I was merely a home cook who enjoyed cooking,” she adds.
Dossi caters for small private events for up to 50 people. She hosts social and special group cooking classes and private sessions.
Although she is a great cook, Dossi says she absolutely hates baking, because it is so rigid. “I have the utmost respect for bakers because it is a science and you have to be meticulous to bake.”
Away from the kitchen, she loves gardening and has a small garden outside her flat in Randburg, Johannesburg, where she grows vegetables and a few herbs.
Dossi aspires to share her passion and food knowledge with more people. “I am very passionate about teaching people that cooking good food does not have to be difficult, time-consuming or expensive. I hope to expand my cooking classes to include larger groups in the near future.”
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- 500g tripe
- 1 large onion
- 2 tsp brown onion soup powder
- 2 fresh chillies (optional)
- 1 chicken stock cube
- Pinch of salt
1. If your tripe isn’t already cleaned, clean it thoroughly (Or you’ll be chewing on sand)
2. Cut up your tripe into bite-sized pieces
3. Place your tripe in a large pot and top the pot off with water. Bring to a boil at medium heat for 4 hours. Keep adding more water as it is cooking if needed.
4. After the 4 hours, chop onions and add to the pot.
5. Crumble your stock cube into the pot and add salt to taste. Allow this to cook for another hour.
6. Dilute the brown onion soup powder in some water and combine. Let it simmer until you have a thick gravy.
7. Taste the tripe to see if it is tender and season it with salt if needed.
8. Serve with some chopped chilli or your choice of starch and vegetables (pap, samp, pumpkin, creamed spinach, etc).