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  • Writer's picturesalifemag

The chef following in his grandmother’s footsteps.

Inspired by his grandmother, Thabo Ntoanyane baked his first tray of scones at the tender age of 10.

He recalls: “My grandmother was a businesswoman who used to make scones, vetkoek and various pastries and I was always in the kitchen helping her measure out the flour, mix the ingredients and of course licking the bowl.”

Following matric, Ntoanyane studied civil engineering at the behest of his parents, but it was not something he was passionate about and after a year he dropped out to follow his dreams.

Now 29-years-old, Ntoanyane has followed in his grandmother’s footsteps and runs his own company called Vester's, making cakes, cookies and other sweet treats to order as well as offering a catering and private cheffing service in his hometown of Maseru in Lesotho.

Ntoanyane attended Capsicum Culinary Studio’s Cape Town campus in 2018 and 2019 from where he graduated with a Certificate in Food Preparation and Cooking and a Diploma in Patisserie. He remembers his two years at the institution fondly: “I really do think Capsicum is one of the best culinary schools in South Africa, and the chef lecturers were great, teaching us how to handle ourselves as young chefs in the industry and helping us reach our full potential.”

Ntoanyane sees his business growing and is working hard towards the day when he will open his own baking and confectionery shop and hosting private dining experiences.

“At the moment I am working out of my kitchen,” he says, “but I am sure that in the near future I will have saved enough to have my own bakery where customers can come in and buy my freshly baked goods off the shelf.”

We asked the effusive young chef a few fun questions:

Name five things always in your fridge

Milk, eggs, wine, herbs and veggies

What would be your last meal?

Pap, chakalaka and beef stew

What do you not eat?

I eat everything edible, because as a chef you need to taste and try new things all the time

If you held a dinner party for five famous people, who would they be and what would you make them?

I would invite Oprah Winfrey, Ellen De Generes, Nelson Mandela, the Lesotho royal family and chef Zola Nene and I would make them a creamy chicken gnocchi.

Do you have a favourite cookbook?

My favourite cookbook is The Lazy Makoti because it has simple traditional dishes.

Are there any celebrity chefs you would like to meet and cook with?

Bobby Flay

Finally - please can you share a favourite recipe with us.

This is my recipe for Khemere (ginger beer) which is easy to make and delicious to drink


2kg brown sugar

50g pure ground ginger

24g tartaric acid

24g cream of tartar

4l water


Pour the water into a large pot, add the sugar and dissolve over low heat stirring constantly.

In a separate bowl, mix together the ginger, tartaric acid and cream of tartar then add to the boiling sugar water and allow to simmer for few minutes.Remove from the heat and cool overnight. Dilute the syrup to give you 10 litres of ginger beer.


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