Nompumelelo Mqwebu is a trained chef. She has contributed to the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, the Mercury Newspaper, and Public Sector Manager Magazine, among others.
She completed her City & Guilds of London Cookery Diploma while at the School of Food and Wine in Durban. In 2012, she sharpened her culinary skills at Ballymaloe Organic Farm and Cookery School in Ireland.
ballymaloe organic farm and cookery school
Nompumelelo worked her way up from Janet’s Restaurant, owned by a Sillwood trained chef, to her last position of employment at Zimbali Lodge, Ballito, before starting her own business Africa Meets Europe (Pty) Ltd.
Nompumelelo was invited to Chicago, USA, to represent South Africa at the sister city exchange where she cooked for Mayor Daly’s gala dinner as well as the Taste of Chicago.
She was also part of South Africa Season in France 18-24 November 2013, where Africa Meets Europe Cuisine took residency at Les Grandes Tables du 104, Paris. There she presented a restaurant lunch menu of South Africa cuisine over two days, and a cocktail dinner for the preview show called “House of the Holy Afro” by Brett Bailey.
Nompumelelo has hosted various international chefs over the years for food events, such as Slow Food Italy and her own events. Chefs have hailed from Bremen, Reunion Island, New Orleans, New York, Singapore, Paris, Maseru, and Bulawayo.
She owns and coordinates the Mzansi International Culinary Festival (MICF), which focuses on African gastronomy and culture. In 2015, she was invited by the United Nations agencies, FAO and UN Women (Italy and New York), to do presentations on the role of chefs in the Agriculture Value Chain. In 2015, she was also requested to form part of the panel discussions at the African Union side event on Agriculture Value Chain and Gender.
Chef Mqwebu is an ardent food traveler who has always utilized every opportunity to learn, share and unite with food and people. Her greatest passion is working with small-scale farmers, especially women and youth, who take pride in seeing a chef convert their fresh produce into fine cuisine.