Salt, water and fire in the belly
Thabiso Khumalo calls himself a foraging Africa chef. When the virus pulled the rug, he refocused his Zulu cuisine vision, among other things. He’s high-energy, witty, beguiling, passionate. A work in progress…
“I hadn’t heard the English word ‘foraging’ before my (recent) day on the beach with the sardines, although it was something I’ve long done and something I know many ethnic cultures do,” says Khumalo. “This is part of the traditional Zulu way. Largely lost.”
Part of what he’s intent on reclaiming, sharing, modernizing — with relevant input from French and other cuisines he’s experimented with and learned about as well as all the influences he’s had and no doubt will continue to have.
“In Zulu culture we eat nose to tail, which shows respect for the animal. And we have been hanging our meat — what upscale restaurants call dry-aging — for generations. We have traditions around honoring the ancestors where we hang the meat from 14 to 25 days. The family will agree on how long.”
His vision includes recording and sharing traditions like these as acknowledgment of Zulu culinary culture so they don’t get lost and so the food heritage is recognized. Read my complete article on Chef Thabiso Khumalo, Salt, Water, Fire: Food and the Circle of Life in fine balance, in the TGIFood section of the Daily Maverick.