The Lazy Chef’s festive season feast

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The Lazy Chef recalls how her culinary mastery was first crafted in her grandmother’s kitchen. Photo: Rosetta Msimango

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Food plays a big part in how we relate to the people we love – and even in how we are able to find community.


The festive season is made of sugar, spice and all things nice. During December, it is always a good time to catch up on the TV shows you were too busy to watch, all the friends you were too busy to see and all the family you have missed throughout the year when work had you in its clutches.

Food always plays a big part in the way we engage with people – and even in how we find like-minded friends who become part of our personal community. Admittedly, sometimes we need inspiration, especially as the festive season rolls in and we have had lots of downtime during lockdown, which – for some – might have ignited a desire to try new things.

A few changes in the kitchen usually go a long way.

City Press caught up with The Lazy Chef (Makhiba Modupe) to unearth tantalising inspiration on traditional food favourites.

The Lazy Chef first came into the spotlight as the winner of My Kitchen’s Top Chef.

READ: Watch | The Lazy Chef shares her passion for the kitchen

Modupe was born in Botshabelo, 45km east of Bloemfontein, where she lived until the age of two. She then went to live with her grandmother in Ladybrand, Free State.

She says: 

I’ve loved food since I was young. When I got to primary school, I found out one could have a career working with food. I must say, I was mainly interested in waiting for the food at the time, but since then, I’ve wanted to be a chef and have never looked back.

Her culinary mastery was first crafted in her grandmother’s kitchen in a home that was always filled with family.

It was her exposure to food through her aunts and grandmother that propelled her love for cooking.

“One of my aunts would always bring new and interesting things to try. That’s why I’m so comfortable trying new things myself. It always excited me, but sometimes it also scared me,” she laughs.

We’re all familiar with the seven colour favourites of beetroot, pap, coleslaw, butternut, spinach, an array of deliciously braaied meat and good chakalaka. Switching that up might seem daunting to some, but The Lazy Chef says we do not have to shake the tables too much.

Igniting a new fire at the kitchen table need not require a massive overhaul of the menu, says The Lazy Chef. Photo: Supplied

“Inspiration from your childhood is always a good idea, because those are recipes with which we’re familiar. So seven colours is always a good place to start. They always go down well with family and taste phenomenal.

“I recall that on Christmas Day, some of my cousins and I would rise early in the morning, leave the house without eating and go to church. Then we’d house-hop from one family home to the next, eating all the different family lunches!” she says.

Just like me, she particularly enjoys good, traditional food.

Make this December one to remember by trying out new recipes. Photo: Supplied

“I have a really soft spot for traditional recipes. Christmas meals are mostly the food families have made over the years which they come together to enjoy on that day. That’s what it’s really about and I love that idea,” says The Lazy Chef.

Switching it up, she says, is not as intimidating as we imagine.

“Just think of a warm hug – that’s where it starts. If you’d like to put a modern twist on your Christmas meal, I recommend changing the way you cook those traditional, favourite dishes,” she says.

The Lazy Chef adds: 

For instance, I’ve always loved butternut, which I usually boil in a pot and mash. However, I recently discovered the brilliance of roasting it and adding a pinch of cinnamon and heaps of sugar, which makes a beautiful contrast to the savoury flavours of the rest of the meal.


She encourages small changes on the journey to traditional perfection, letting us in on her secret: “Instead of boiling and grating beetroot, try roasting it with some rosemary and olive oil and adding a good balsamic reduction. When it’s done, add thinly chopped chives or spring onion and feta cheese before serving,” she advises.

With the vaccine roll-outs well underway, Christmas is looking up. Having spent last festive season in a heavy lockdown, many of us are looking forward to enjoying this one with our loved ones.

Shaking the tables in the kitchen is made easy, thanks to The Lazy Chef. Photo: Supplied


From City Press to you, merry Christmas – and happy cooking!


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