For Siba Mtongana, the celebrity chef and host of television show, life is not all about cooking. She loves to combat starvation and wasting food and help the society meet its nutritional requirements.
The chef from South Africa is in Qatar to take part in the ongoing Qatar International Food Festival at Oxygen Park. On Wednesday, Mtongana attended a session at cooking master classes at Chef’s Garden Restaurant in Education City where she interacted with students and budding chefs.
As a chef, she tries not only to make food tasty and beautiful but also to ensure nutrition to all at a time when malnutrition remains a concern in various parts of the world including Africa.
“I find happiness in doing my best for the improvement of the society in terms of ensuring food safety and eradicating poverty,” she says.
Mtongana believes a chef is obliged to ensure that people eat healthy and nutrient food. “As a celebrity and influential person, I use my influence in a positive way and address the problems in the society,” she said.
Mtongana is part of several initiatives meant to eradicate poverty and malnutrition and ensure food to all. She is active with the programmes carried by NGOs and is the ambassador of Food Bank South Africa. By joining hands with such organisations Mtongana sensitises the society against wasting food and tries to feed starving people with food that goes waste.
“Whenever we grow, we have to make sure that we grow with the community by lending a helping hand,” she says adding that she often delivers the same message to her friends all over the world. “We are helping each other and making efforts for food security,” she said.
Mtongana is qualified in Consumer Science in Food and Nutrition. But, she likes to call herself a born chef. Food was the thing which she grew up with. “My mother who cooked for the very big family was my first teacher. Later, I wanted to live with food and cooking. Natural talent helped me become one of the top students,” she said adding she studied to cook through observation not through recipes.
“University helped me put things in a professional way. But, I owe my gratitude to my mother who taught me to maximum use the content and not waste anything during cooking and eating,” she says adding her mother who wanted her to become an independent strong woman opposed her decision to choose cooking as a career. Mtongana’s mother was a teacher and she wanted her daughter too become a teacher. But, Mtongana opted for cooking and does justice to her mother by becoming a strong lady.
Mtongana who came to Qatar for the first time is excited and said she feels at home. “Qatar is amazing and people here are too lovely. Qatar is rich with its expatriate population. And a foreigner here doesn’t feel like an outsider. And I will come back to Qatar and QIFF if I get an opportunity and my diary allows me to do,” she added.
Mtongana is the host of famous cooking show Siba’s Table by leading channel Cooking Channel.
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