Fresh-baked breads, home-churned butter and bottles of jam were the norm where Marinda Engelbrecht grew up on a Durbanville farm in the Western Cape.
Here her love for cooking would take root, as well as her belief that, “Cooking without love will not nourish or satisfy the soul”.
A national treasure of Afrikaans theatre turned culinary goddess, Engelbrecht shot to foodie stardom as a finalist in the first season of reality cooking show Kokkedoor on kykNET in 2014.
The stage director has since gone to enter the food world as a product developer for baked goods franchise Deeghuys and presented her own series on the DStv channel Via, Maklik met Marinda.
We caught up with the South African culinary treasure.
Noluthando Ngcakani: Marinda, when did you begin your journey with food?
Marinda Engelbrecht: My food journey started in my mother’s kitchen. As children we sat at the Formica table and watched my mother cooking or baking. Afterwards we licked out the bowls.
Did you ever think you would work in the food space?
I am a qualified teacher, and for the biggest portion of my life I have produced children’s theatre, for our local children as well as for the children of Doha in Qatar. Both theatre work and cooking are creative processes.
Where have you drawn inspiration from in terms of your journey into the culinary world?
Cooking to me is a way of making love visible. I get my inspiration from products in season, and then deciding on how to prepare them. I am very fond of watching cooking programs and I read recipe books like other people read novels.
What are some of your fondest memories, specifically with relation to the kitchen?
Nothing gives me more fulfilment than to cook for my loved ones. When we are all together in the kitchen, it gives me a sense of belonging and of love. Nowadays it gives me great pleasure to teach my grandchildren how to cook.
What are some of your favourite, simplest recipes that you like to make in your own kitchen?
Scones: 500 ml self-rising flour, 1 can of Sprite Zero, 250 ml of cream and a pinch of salt. Mix everything and pour the mixture into a muffin pan and bake for 30 minutes.
What have been some major highlights in your culinary journey?
Being a mother and a grandma. Working in the theatre locally as well as internationally. Knowing that people buy products at Deeghuys which I have developed. I have developed potjiekos stew sauces which will be available on the market before the end of the year. I am currently working on a children’s cookbook with recipes as well as science-in-the-kitchen experiments which will be available towards the end of the year. But obviously I regard (her new book) “Marinda se Koskas” as one of the highlights of my career.
Do you have any advice for young chefs and cooks with a dream?
Simple food is honest food. Every recipe should be an inspiration. Don’t be afraid to improvise.
What is the most important life lesson you have learnt thus far in your journey?
That what is on the table should never be more important than those around the table. Food is a love language.
You have created a thriving career in food. What else we can expect from you?
I will never stop cooking. During August I will start with the filming of a new food series for the Via channel. I am also looking forward to the publishing of the children’s cookbook, and I want to spend more time with my grandchildren. I want to create as many memories as possible to leave behind for them.
Make cooking memories with Marinda
Don’t know what to put on your table for breakfast, lunch or dinner? Culinary queen Marinda Engelbrecht to the rescue with her debut cookbook, Marinda se Koskas.
Engelbrecht’s culinary guide caters for breakfast, soups and appetisers, breads and rusks, salads, seafood, meats, vegetables, pastas and side dishes, desserts, tarts, cakes, and other sweets.
You stand a chance to win one of two copies when you sign up for your weekly edition of the Mzansi Flavour newsletter.
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