When theSQUAD helped with the KFC Taste Kitchen Finale we were honoured to meet people as passionate about food as we are, including the winners of the Ultimate Home Cooking Duo, Ali Nangamso Majija and Nosizwe Mji. Ali believes strongly in food sustainability and we had a chance to interview him to find out more. Here are his insights on food sustainability and the plans for his dream meal.
Hi Ali, tell us about your day job?
A: I am in the kitchen most of my day. I have pop-up pan pizza nights Mondays and Tuesdays. Between that I am learning how to use ingredients in anyway possible, I believe in food conservation - nothing needs to be wasted.
How did you become involved with the KFC Taste Kitchen show?
Nosizwe's mom sent me a text message with a link detailing the competition, with no other note attached. That made it clear to me I already gained a supporter and so I was motivated by that and went for it!
How did you get to the finale?
The KFC Taste Kitchen was very competitive and it took us some time to adjust to that environment. We started on a high when we came top four in our first cook. Then we slipped into the middle order; only to rise to the top after we cooked to stay against Ruan and Aquilla.
What was it about your food that made you the winner?
I would say it had to do with the innovation and the flavours.
How did the KFC Taste Kitchen change your life?
I learned more about myself. KFC Taste Kitchen encouraged me to be more outgoing and take chances. You never know what will happen if you put yourself out there.
Your food philosophy is: “Feed the body, feed the mind’, tell us about this...
It all started from changing the way I treated myself, how I behaved and what I put into my system. Then this extended to my attitude towards my environment. Now I’m learning how to maintain my environment in order for it to sustain my growth.
How do you try and incorporate sustainability into the food you make?
I have a new found habit; finding a use for everything which comes to into contact with my hands and mouth. We reuse almost everything. With regards to food, every part is used and (besides poultry) I’m willing to eat the produce raw before cooking.
Do you have any tips for us to be more “green” in the kitchen?
I would say plant-based eating is the best way to start, as plant waste is easily decomposed back into the earth.
And recycling, or “upcycling”?
Try to find a use for any container, one can use food tins as baking tins - we have started potting plants in ours. 2l ice cream tubs make fantastic lunchboxes and containers to store leftovers in. 2l litre plastic bottles have turned into great vases and watering cans. Glass jars and bottles make great storage for liquids. To name a few, I also still have a long way to go.
What would be your dream menu to serve and where?
This would be a feast of meat (all meats) and vegetables, cooked over a massive fire pit set up with the roasting on spits. There would be grills going at the same time with vegetables roasting alongside the meat. Plus, all breads you can think off, with olive oil and balsamic on tap. For the location it would be somewhere in my home village of Lali - Nosizwe and I still need to decide exactly where. Ideally we are all sitting on a field with the fires around us and dipping into the feast at our own leisure.
We can’t wait for our invite, many thanks Ali.