Pretoria – Mamelodi twin entrepreneurs hope to redefine the meaning of taste and flavour in township cuisine with their scrumptious food.
Lebo and Tebo Ndala, 25, are the owners of a company called With love from the twins which specialises in
private catering and pop-up restaurants.
They studied cooking at The Hurst School in Stellenbosch and, after
completing their studies, they moved to the US for a few months and studied through the University of California Los Angeles Extension for extra credit.
The two also received training at two five-star restaurants in Cape Town where Lebo served at the V&A Hotel while Tebo completed her training at the Radisson Blue.
After their vigorous training, the two moved to other ventures in the hospitality industry where food and media became their first loves.
The two had the opportunity to work with several well-known magazines such as TrueLove, Drum, You, Huisgenoot and, most recently, Move magazine.
Tebo had a wonderful opportunity to work on a cook book with celebrity chef Siba Mtongana, host of the famous Cooking Channel show Siba’s Table.
Today the sisters are well-known food influencers, ambassadors, freelance assistant food editors or stylists as well as recipe developers.
“When we started we thought that being a chef was all about being stuck in the kitchen taking orders the whole day, which we did as part of our training.
“But as soon as we got out of that world, we started to see a bigger picture and realised that we could do much more with food than being chefs only.
“That is why we are trying to introduce the food and media world to other upcoming chefs and students because at school they don’t teach us about the many other things that one can become within the industry,” Tebo said.
The two said they had fallen in love with cooking after seeing how their mother perfected the craft.
“We were inspired by our mother, who is a phenomenal cook. As soon as we realised that we could pursue it as a career, we did. It’s been a wonderful journey of learning how to express ourselves through food and serving others,” said Lebo.
Mom Elizabeth Ndala said it was a wonderful feeling to see her daughters working well together and doing what they loved.
“I always enjoy the food made by my daughters, especially when they try new flavours. All I want is to see them taking over the world, creating job opportunities for other people in their industry, but most importantly, I want to see them happy and having fun.
“I taught them how to make basics like pap, ginger beer, dumplings and stew, as well as traditional scones. I love that whenever we are together, we always experiment new flavours and recipes as well as helping out at family and friends gatherings,” she added.
Speaking about their journey as ambassadors, the two said they had managed to score gigs with well-known brands like Stork margarine, Nola mayonnaise, and recently, with Rooibos Lager.
Every time Lebo and Tebo work with a brand, they create new recipes to promote it and advertise it on their social media platforms as well.
“We love working with Rooibos Lager because tea is our favourite beverage. We drink tea more than six times a day, even when it’s hot.
“We also promised ourselves that we are going to work with brands that represent us. We work with brands because we actually believe in them and want to see them grow,” Tebo said.
“Most brands like to work with us because we perform well together and people really love our idea of pop-up restaurants, how we interact with them as well as our friends,” Lebo said.
The two enthused more about their plans to be more involved in their own business and be financially stable in the next few years.
They said they wanted to make their pop-up restaurants international, introducing South African cuisines to the world as well as creating jobs and holding cooking classes with other young chefs.
The twins’ pop-up restaurants are unique because they get to pack the industry with their own terms, recipes, creativity and ideas.
So far, they have done about 14 pop-ups in Gauteng, all with different themes indulging people with a day filled with flavour as the two come up with their own menu of three meals for the day.
“There we get to cook food that we like and play around with ideas and everything that we have learned in the industry. There is so much that we want to share with people and every pop up has a different theme allowing us to explore new things.”
The twins said although the industry was challenging, they were happy with their fair share of experiences as they had the opportunity to meet new people, learning more, creating new dishes as well as travelling the world.
They said the main obstacle was that the industry was male dominated, and, without the right mentorship, it was not easy for them as young female chefs.
Lebo and Tebo encouraged the youth to never give up on their dreams and work hard for everything they wanted to achieve.
The twins also advised young people who are also looking to become entrepreneurs that success would not come overnight.
They said the youth should surround themselves with positive-minded and experienced business people who would help by guiding and giving them advice.
“It is never going to be easy because no one said it was. There will be bad days filled with negative-minded people who will go all out to discourage you, but the trick is to remain determined and focus on your end goal.”