Updated: Feb 23, 2022
We recently caught up with our day 1; Chef Siphokazi Mdlankomo to give us a few of her tips and hacks when working your way around the kitchen. For those of you that do not know the incredible story of Chef Sipho, we will give you a brief introduction. Siphokazi was born in Tsolo, a small village outside of Umthatha in the Eastern Cape. She was raised by a single mother and came to Cape Town in search of work. An amazing woman by the name of Liz Andreasen brought her in as a domestic helper; where Liz shared her wealth of knowledge around the kitchen and cooking. Siphokazi, from the get go, was an absolute natural talent, as if food had been part of her life since she was born. Hard work, experimentation and hours in the kitchen equipped Siphokazi with a vast array of skills and techniques in the culinary arts.
Fast forward to 2014; Siphokazi had the opportunity to take part in ‘South African Master Chef’ where she was the finalist. After coming 2nd in this very popular television program, Chef Sipho’s career took off. She became the ambassador for some of South Africa’s biggest brands, namely Pick n Pay and Royco. She starred in her very own cooking show on DSTV called 'Let's Eat With Siphokazi' and has even published a successful book called ‘My Little Black Recipe Book’.
Chef Sipho has really taken the local food industry by storm. She now boasts over 100,000 followers on her social media platforms and has even been sent to Spain to cook for over 150 delegates from 51 different countries. She has even cooked for our President, Cyril Ramaphosa. Chef Siphokazi was the very first Chef Kitchen Republik collaborated with. She was a pivotal part of getting our project off the ground, establishing a high level of quality and passing down her invaluable knowledge. We have never quite seen a chef operate in a kitchen the way Sipho does, she is simply phenomenal and it is a site to behold…….. truly. Siphokazi’s journey inspired us to launch Kitchen Republik, and the relationship we have with her is very dear to us. We are constantly in contact and love following her journey to success. So without further ado; here are the 10 hacks Chef Sipho has shared with us that we use in our ghost kitchen and food delivery business in Cape Town:
1. Before chopping chillies, rub your hands with oil to prevent them from absorbing the chilli oils.
2. When measuring sticky ingredients like honey and syrup, spray the measuring cups with cooking spray. This will help you to get all of the content out of the beaker quicker.
3. Prevent brown sugar from hardening by tossing an orange or apple peel into the sugar and keep it in an airtight container.
4. Skim excess fat from soups and sauces by placing a few ice cubes wrapped with cling wrap in the liquid. The ice helps the fat to solidify.
5. Freeze leftover chopped herbs in oil in ice cube trays for another day.
6. Remove garlic and onion smell from your hands by rubbing them with lemon juice or bicarbonate of soda.
7. Prevent onions from burning your eyes by freezing them before chopping. Use them immediately otherwise they will become soggy.
8. To bring back stale bread to life, sprinkle with water and put in a preheated oven for 5-10 minutes.
9. Prevent over boiling by placing a wooden spoon across the boiling pot.
10. When peeling ginger, use a spoon.
If you want some inspiration around the kitchen and tips on how to improve your cooking, make sure you follow Chef SIphokazi’s social media pages:
Kitchen Republik operates as a food delivery service in Cape Town, which serves as an empowerment platform for some of our most talented local chefs. Providing Chefs with a kitchen space, an online marketplace and means of distribution to get their delicious home styled meals straight to your door. We help co-create a brand and logo for our Chefs while they work their magic in the kitchen. Our vision is to create a business where Chefs are the faces of their own brand; sharing their stories and favourite dishes with you. Our mission is to empower 500 people by 2030.