'Chef'' mixes modern flair with tradition

LONDON - It won’t be surprising if cultural historians look back on the first two decades of this century as The ''Era of food craze''.

I am speaking of the fetishisation of food, of cooking and eating, of watching other people cooking and eating that has become omnipresent across all platforms and media. We have seen the transformation in the status chefs from behind-the-scenes pot-stirrer to food bloggers.

It's not an overstatement to say that Ivy Mango Chatora has changed the way many of us eat and think about food. Decoding and de-constructing the way traditional food is cooked and presented entirely has been a passionate quest for this Zimbabwe- born food blogger.

One of Ivy Mango Chatora's dishes

Ivy, in her blog ''Ivy's Kitchenette'' has taken on our favourite all-time Zimbabwean recipes to another level. At 28, Ivy has opened up her own world of revelations that food lovers and home cooks everywhere will be living by. While she may not be a household name yet, her ground breaking concept will turn much of what you thought you knew about food upside down and inside out.

Recently 263 Voices caught up with Ivy for a Q & A. We hope you enjoy the interview, as well as the signature recipes she graciously shares on her face book page ''Ivy's Kitchenette''.

PSN (Pam Samasuwo-Nyawiri): When did you know you wanted to be a food blogger?

IMC: (Ivy Mango-Chatora): I have always loved cooking and experimenting with ingredients. I joined a wonderful group on Facebook and as I posted my food pictures and recipes I received a lot of positive compliments from the other women on the group. One lovely lady contacted me and suggested I should try food blogging. I took on her advice and never looked back.

PSN: Who has influenced your style of cooking the most?

IMC: Patience Mutavayi, Fiso Marihoho and my sister Tracey Chipunza have been great sources of inspiration. I also spend a lot of my time watching cookery shows and I'm always following Jamie Oliver and Siba Mtongana.

PSN: At what age did you enter the kitchen, and what was the first dish you cooked by yourself?

IMC: I was raised by my grandparents and my grandmother being a very strict woman, by the age of 7, I learnt to cook and my first dish was fried collard greens mixed with onions and tomatoes.

PSN: What inspires you? How do you come up with ideas for the dishes you post on your blog?

IMC: I find inspiration everywhere. If I walk into a supermarket, I come out with an idea of a new dish. In my quiet moments I have often started writing recipes and visualising how I would like them to look. I also collect a lot of recipe books and I can sit down and study a recipe book like it’s an academic book. Even though I follow up a recipe, there's always a personal twist that I add to it.

 

PSN: Do you have any vivid or memorable food experiences that impacted on you as a child?

IMC: Yes! Growing up, my grandmother was a good cook. On Fridays before she went to a church group meeting, she would slaughter a road-runner chicken and cook it. I remember how I used to walk in from school and the kitchen would be awash with a sizzling smell of fried chicken... Oh I loved it!! And when she came back in the evening she would finish off by making her famous fried rice and some very nice thick gravy to go with the food. I always looked forward to Fridays.

PSN: Is there a particular dish you crave when you're sick?

IMC: Baked Salmon!! Thank God for Salmon!

PSN: What do you think is the most effective way to inspire people to cook at home?

IMC: I find encouraging people to create simple dishes that are not time-consuming gets them interested. Recipes that involve affordable and available ingredients inspire people too. With the economy tightening up, our pockets are also strained, so affordability is the most important factor!

PSN: What is your guilty pleasure? What do you snack on when no one else is around because you don't want anyone to know?

IMC: My guilty pleasure would be a warm waffle topped with banana ice cream, drizzled with toffee sauce and a dusting of icing sugar!! Heaven!

PSN: Just out of curiosity, since you spend so much time in your kitchen, do you ever let your husband cook at home?

IMC: Yes! He does cook now and again and when he cooks he always points out how I never photograph his own dishes. However he is always asking me what to use when he offers to cook. At the end of it, I feel like I have done the cooking and not him! . I'm always trying to correct him when he cooks, which he finds annoying.

PSN: Do you have any tips for budding chefs or food bloggers

IMC: If you have a passion, pursue it, believe in yourself, experiment and enjoy yourself while at it. Who knows maybe one day you will own a cooking school, a restaurant or even be the next Gordon Ramsay.

Ivy aims to 'encourage home- cooking and to inspire and motivate others to make the best meal they can with whatever is available in the fridge or cupboard '. Follow Ivy on her facebook blogging page: Ivy's Kitchenette

Pamela is a Zimbabwean fashion journalist and fashion accessory designer based in the United Kingdom. She can be contacted on pamsamasuwo@live.co.uk

    Comments (7)

    Ivy is awesome, am a fan :)

    Patience Mutavayi - 29 July 2014

    You don't know what you are missing people if you haven't sampled one of her dishes.I have enjoyed more than 20 now

    James Mahachi - 29 July 2014

    I started following your posts in that cooking group on Facebook and I think you're awesome! I love seeing your wonderful works of art... if I am ever in Europe I'll have to make it a point to sample your delicious meals :)

    Thandi Dlodlo - 30 July 2014

    i love your blog Ivy . . . thanks for always sharing your recipes :)

    Jackie audrey - 30 July 2014

    Wow the dishes look absolutely amazing Ivy... Welldone sahwi

    Tendai Gumbo - 30 July 2014

    Yum, yum I luuuv ivy, only that your writer copied first lines 'It won't be surprising if cultural historians look back on the first two decades of this century as The ... I am speaking of the fetishisation of food, of cooking and eating...." from Smithonian mag – used the quote for my dissertation. Otherwise nice stuff Ivy

    tindo - 6 August 2014

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