Internationally renowned, award-winning South African celebrity chef and culinary expert, Siba Mtongana, has received unexpected recognition in Malaysia together with 6 other cooking show hostesses from around the globe.
An article published in MALAYSIA TATLER, one of the world’s most respected lifestyle magazines in Asia, features Siba alongside Nigella Lawson and Rachel Ray to name a few referred to as‘domestic goddesses who make cooking look like a stroll in the Park’.
The writer of the recent article in Tatler, Iskandar Ameen, headlines the feature ‘7 Cooking Show Hostesses From Around The Globe’ and says of Siba; ’With five US Film and Television Awards and the prestigious Ubuntu Award under her belt, Siba has taken the cooking world by storm since her eponymous cooking show Siba’s Table debuted in 2013. A charming smile and highly approachable presence, not unlike your favourite primary school teacher, seem to be the recipe for her ‘Sibalicious’ success.
Responding to the feature in Tatler, Siba says it was a lovely surprise to once again be recognised alongside her food hero Nigella Lawson. “I am also thrilled and blessed considering how influential and big Tatler is, not only in Malaysia but in the whole of the Asia Pacific Region. Carol Bouwer, a very dear friend of mine who lived in Malaysia, alerted me to the article and sent her heartfelt congratulations for a South African to have received exceptional recognition in a magazine with such a massive following.”
Closer to home and asked about the impact of Covid-19 on the food industry in South Africa, Siba referred to the past six months following the lockdown as one of the most challenging but also most rewarding times ever. “We had to adapt quickly with new strategies to inspire fans and foodies locally and across the globe, despite the bleak outlook”.
During the lockdown, Siba and her team in Cape Town worked tirelessly to facilitate and host several events that included Siba’s virtual Women’s Day Masterclass and Heritage Day Masterclass which proved to be a huge success.“It was also such a pleasure to share some business advice to many struggling small businesses in dire need”, says Siba.
She believes that Covid-19 enabled her and her team to venture well beyond the norm with innovative solutions despite strict protocols associated with the pandemic. “It has been a tough year for most in the food industry. But we can and must use these experiences as a springboard to exciting new opportunities”.
When Siba’s Table first aired on Food Network, it not only cemented Chef Siba’s standing as South Africa’s premier culinary phenomenon, but catapulted her to the status of global food icon in more than 135 countries worldwide, and 60 million homes in the USA through the Cooking Channel alone. The world was hungry for the local and African dishes with a twist this Food and Consumer Sciences with majors in Food Sciences and Nutrition, former magazine food editor and model served up – and continues to consume every bite she creates with her unique dazzling deftness.
With so much under her belt including being one of the most in-demand celebrity chefs on an array of local and international programmes, at food festivals the world over and not forgetting on glossy magazine covers, it is hard to sum up just how barricade-breaking this down-to-earth chef with her humble, Mdantsane, Eastern Cape roots has been. Some bespoke highlights include:
Siba’s re-invention as a business-savvy entrepreneur as evidenced through the formation of The Siba Co, a Food Solutions and Innovation Holdings Company.
In 2019, The Siba Co was hand-picked by the presidency to culinary direct and curate the VIP menu for the inauguration of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, serving 450 guests, including heads of states, former presidents kings, queens and global business moguls.
In 2015, the best-selling cookbook ever in its retail class, My Table, was published and marketed by The Siba Co. In 2017, My Table won two prestigious awards at the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in China. Siba was the first South African ever to win the Special Award of the Jury for the legacy her book leaves and pop culture impact it has in her beloved home country.
Siba has won 5 US Film and Television Awards and 4 Awards locally.
‘Being able to bring my continent the food acclaim it deserves is both a privilege and a blessing,’ says Siba, who can add the esteemed Ubuntu Award to her platter of prestigious accolades for doing just that. Ever the entrepreneur, much of her focus remains invested in The Siba Co and its Menu and Recipe Development arm/VIP bespoke and experiential catering service as sought after by leading restaurants, hospitality showcases and industry leaders in the foodservice trade.