Fresh out of college and at just 22, Leigh-Ann Modise is already making waves in the culinary world. Besides cooking for a number of dignitaries, she’s worked as an assistant chef on Mogau Seshoene’s cookbook The Lazy Makoti’s Guide To The Kitchen and she’s appeared as the chef of the week on eTV’s The Morning Show.
Modise’s best advice to her younger self is, “There’s no time like the present. Be prepared to receive opportunity”.
This young chef was born and raised in Tshwane and started exploring the kitchen when she was nine years old. “My mother taught me how to bake butter biscuits. It was my first experience of baking and what better way to get taught to bake than by my mother. It’s a moment I treasure and hold near to my heart,” says Modise, who is motivated by living a fulfilling and purposeful life.
In 2015 she completed school at the Tshwane South TVET College. Modise has always known her way around the kitchen and experimenting with flavours made her happy. Without a doubt she knew this is what she wanted to do and enrolled at the International Hotel School. Shortly after graduating with a Diploma in Culinary Arts and Professional Cookery in 2018, she got her first job at the Saxon Hotel in Johannesburg.
Cumin The Herb, as she is widely known, didn’t wait long and opened her own private chef company named Cumin last year. They cater for any occasion and outsource a chef to cook private meals, to do one-on-one cooking lessons and prepare weekly healthy meals.
“If you want to get things done, do them yourself. you’re the beginning of everything in your life” – Leigh-Ann Modise
“All of our food is prepared in the healthiest way possible. We wish to influence South Africa to eat healthier in their homes through our services. We only have six part-time employees at the moment. All our staff have other jobs and work with us on call.”
Being so young and earning the trust of experienced chefs is an honour. Besides cooking at high ranked events, Modise got to work as an assistant chef on Mogau Seshoene’s cookbook The Lazy Makoti’s Guide To The Kitchen. She also appeared as the chef of the week on eTV’s The Morning Show.
“I cooked for His Excellency, Ambassador of France to South Africa Christophe Farnaud, and his diplomatic guests in celebration of Africa month in 2018. Thereafter, I was the head chef for the French Consulate’s annual 18th Juliet Bastille Day celebration in Johannesburg. I think making my first television appearance six months out of culinary school was also a great moment in my career.”
Modise says she would like to see her brand grow, while working alongside businesses who share her vision to change the dynamic of healthy living in our society. The only way she knows how to achieve these goals is by keeping an important lesson in mind, “If you want to get things done, do them yourself, you’re the beginning of everything in your life”.
This young chef has been showered with opportunities and it seems as if Modise will continue to spread her wings in the culinary industry, as she brings a fine touch to the dishes she prepares.