Cooking from heart

2018-07-10 06:01
PHOTO: suppliedDanielle du Toit with one of her students holding her certificate.

PHOTO: suppliedDanielle du Toit with one of her students holding her certificate.

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UPPER Highway resident Danielle du Toit, who created a mobile cooking school for domestic workers, chatted to a Fever Nosipho Mkhize reporter to tell her more about her life and work.

NM [Nosipho Mkhize]: Tell me a bit about yourself.

DT [Danielle du To it]: I am a KZN girl, born and bred, with a lifelong passion for food. I am a wife and mother of two busy, hungry boys and I live in the Upper Highway area. For five years, my husband and I travelled the world together, exploring cultures and cuisine. When we returned to SA we worked in top end bush lodges before starting our family.

NM: Please take me through your childhood.

DT: My childhood memories are filled with watching my mum teaching cooking classes (when I could just peep over the counter top), joining my dad collecting mussels at our beach house, and home-made pizza nights with our family.

NM: Tell me about Pheka, what is it about?

DT: Pheka is a mobile cooking school upskilling domestic worker’s in a home environment. I offer a variety of courses focusing on fun, healthy yet simple cooking. Courses are usually five weeks long, one lesson per week. During holiday times I run fun interactive children’s cooking classes, providing easy to follow recipes that they can go home with and reproduce the meals for their parents.

NM: Are you a chef?

DT: No, not a chef by trade, more by love! I graduated with a diploma in food consulting and have been working in the food industry ever since.

NM: What drove you into starting Pheka?

DT: Pheka started as a result of us leaving the hospitality industry and starting our family. I needed to balance being a mum and having a career which I loved. So many families have both parents out working and don’t have too much time to pay attention to home cooked, nutritious meals so convenience foods take over. I wanted to bring home cooking back to families and, at the same time ,up skill domestic workers and share my love of cooking.

NM: What challenges have you faced so far?

DT: Removing “Aromat” from the spice cupboard! Replacing French with isiZulu; learning isiZulu (much to the student’s delights) and building trust as a skinny “umlungu” chef.

NM: How has your experience been in this field?

DT: Driving one’s own business is tough but the reward has been tenfold. The video clips, messages and stories shared in class have been inspiring, humbling and the source of my passion and joy. To share one’s skills and passions, and see it grow and open new opportunities for my students, is amazing.

NM: What are your other hobbies, besides cooking?

DT: I love trail running, soaking up the sea air, and wild and woolly camping holidays with my family.

NM: Where and when are your cooking classes?

DT: I offer courses that are five weeks long, one lesson per week — for the Upper Highway area I use my kitchen in Bothas Hill and offer a central pick up from Hillcrest. There is usually a course rolling every five weeks. Other areas I offer classes are in Umhlanga, Durban North, Berea and Westville.

NM: Any advice you have for the youth?

DT: Travel young, do what you love, believe in yourself and always pursue your dreams.

For more information on Pheka phone 072 261 5192.


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