Chef’s touch

Chef’s touch

Twins Thabo and Thabile Thumbathi of Mkaddesh Food & Design in Mbombela offer something we could only dream of: A chef preparing meals in the privacy of your home.

One and all dream of sitting down to a delicious meal at least once a day without even visiting the kitchen, not to mention cooking it and then, to make things even worse, cleaning the mess. Imagine a private chef taking over your kitchen, serving healthy, mouthwatering meals three times a day to a happy family.

Alas, this only falls to the lot of the inconceivably rich and the rest of us are compelled to a life of dishing up healthy and sometimes marginally palatable meals three times a day, seven days a week, year-round.

For those who enjoy delicious food but not necessarily cooking it, dining out is an option. But sometimes having a quiet evening at home after a long, tiring day is just so much more attractive. At other times a special event calls for privacy and a professional touch and who would want to, say, pop the question at a busy restaurant or after slaving away in the kitchen for hours on end? Now this is where Thabo and Thabile come in.

The twins work as a well-oiled machine to offer a mobile restaurant experience anytime, anywhere. “If you can dream it, we can do it,” says Thabo, who studied at The Fusion Cooking School in Durban – one of South Africa’s top culinary schools.

He, in his own words, loves playing with food and this is one instance in which it is fully permissible. Thabo, after all, knows what he is doing when it comes to preparing delicious cuisine and presenting it in such a way that it is both too tasty looking to resist and too beautiful to eat.

According to him, Thabile is the proverbial “butler for a day” and she handles the whole process from the initial consultation to the table design and the final function. Prospective clients contact her and she sets up a meeting to discuss individual needs and assesses the available space.

Thabo then consults on the client’s culinary needs and as he has already accentuated, nothing is too difficult or far-fetched to deliver. He tells of a client who recently ordered, among other things, clams and Chinese oysters. Needless to say, that is exactly what the client got!

The twins matriculated from Easthigh College in Mbombela, where they grew up. “As children we realised that my mother could not cook,” Thabo says with a smile. “We had to learn in order to eat and that is where my love of food was born.” After matriculating he left the Lowveld to study in Durban, but returned in 2017 to start the Mbombela-based business with his sister.

Thabo does not like working for someone and also not to create the same meals day in and day out. The private-chef trade fits him like a well-worn glove and the fact that Thabile is available to handle the admin part of the business is a bonus.

Every new client requires a fresh approach and Thabo’s culinary creativity knows no boundaries – he is free to explore many different, exciting and original dishes and to give every occasion his personal touch.

Thabo’s big dream is to earn a Michelin Star. Well, we would definitely not be surprised if he conquers this sought-after achievement. Thabo is young and driven and forever looking for new opportunities to be the best at what he does.

Mkaddesh Food & Design does not only provide for a private-chef experience. Visualise having nutritious meals delivered to your door, ready-cooked and neatly packaged. This service could come in handy when the rat race takes its toll and the usual cook does not feel up to the task. Again, the client’s culinary and dietary needs and wishes are considered and executed.

Get it asked Thabo to prepare a delicious ploughman’s platter to celebrate summer and he dished up a creative and divine tasting array of comfort foods, all served on one dish.

Ploughman’s platter

The Lowveld seems to have skipped spring, and summer has arrived in all its glory. For months one and all have enjoyed rich and tasty stews, soups and curries – real winter comfort foods. Now it’s time for lazy summer platters, best enjoyed on the many large verandas around the Lowveld or maybe under the trees in the late-afternoon breeze.

Enjoying a ploughman’s platter is the ideal way to celebrate summer and upcoming holidays. Originating in the United Kingdom, a ploughman’s platter is a selection of cheeses, bread, pickles and delicious condiments and fresh fruit, vegetables and nuts. It may be needless to add that the cheese is the main attraction.

Cheese is not only growing more and more popular these days, but has also become a point of discussion. Think about it… Whenever there’s a platter of really good cheeses, most people tend to discuss and compare their favourites. And you do not need to be a turophile to enjoy this dairy product! There is literally a cheese for every taste: from really mild and palatable cheddar and Gouda to the strongest blue cheese.

Being South African, many gourmands also tend to look for the meaty additions to the meal. It is maybe safe to assume that many a ploughman’s platter served in our beautiful part of the world will also include a hefty selection of meat.

Choose the cheese

This is the heart of each and every ploughman’s platter and at least some effort should be put into the selection. Keep the following in mind when choosing the cheese:

• Select a variety of three to five types and keep in mind that 100g per person should be more than enough.
• Try to include an interesting variety, considering the type of milk used, age, texture, shape and colour.
• It is best to serve a selection of creamy, semi-hard or hard, aged, goats and blue cheese.
• It comes in different shapes, sizes and colours. Choose a wedge or two, a round-shaped cheese and maybe a softer cream cheese served in a bowl or on a small plate.
• It should be served at room temperature and remember to place a different knife for each type.

Add to the cheese platter

• Could you imagine a cheese platter without a selection of bread and crackers? Opt for ciabatta, baguette, beer bread and an assortment of crackers.
• Modern delis offer a wide selection of canned preserves, spreads, fruit and vegetables. Try green figs in syrup, onion marmalade, honey, any kind of pesto, chutneys, pickles and mustard. Also add sundried tomatoes in olive oil, artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers.
• You could add meats such as smoked chicken breasts, biltong, pastrami, prosciutto and salami. And also seasonal and dried fruit, like figs, apricots, apples, and pears or candied nuts and pistachios.
• Sprouts, microgreens and other baby leaves add a nice green touch to the platter and are also quite tasty.

Thabo’s platter

He added the following to his delicious platter:
• A selection of cheeses, including white rock and cranberry, brie and goat’s cheese with herb and sundried tomatoes
• Homemade pita bread
• Pickled radish and cauliflower served on pea shoots and red Napa cabbage
• Roasted pineapple
• Antipasto meats
• Grilled ostrich fillet
• Roasted cherry tomatoes with olive oil and nutmeg
• Pesto
• Aubergine bake
• Roasted baby potatoes with olive oil and herbs.


No job is too big or small and they also cater for weddings and other functions. Mkaddesh Food & Design can be reached on 071-537-2312 or on or at their Facebook page.

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