Spoons Full of Passion – Getting to know Head Chef Japhta Mnisi
Driven by the creative process of cooking and bringing joy to others through food are what make Japhta Mnisi a passionate force behind Kuka Café’s sumptuous cuisine.
“I love the imaginative process behind creating new dishes and discovering innovative ways of cooking. When I create something it has to be ‘WOW’. I don’t just want to copy what someone else has done; I want to create something that surprises and delights,” says Japhta.
This passionate chef’s first taste of the kitchen came in high school when he took home economics as a subject. “Just as I started to enjoy it I had to leave school to find work on a farm to support my siblings. But the first opportunity I could get to work in a restaurant I took and I have grown from there.”
His first restaurant job after school was working in a local franchise behind the grill for a number of years before joining the Seasons in Africa team. Japhta has spent the last seven years in the kitchens of Hippo Hollow Restaurant, Magnolia and now Kuka Café.
He is self-taught and it is easy to see how he could have progressed with no formal qualification. His passion for food and learning as much as possible about different cooking techniques, flavour combinations and achieving consistency in excellence spurs him on.
Japhta admits that as head chef he is less involved in the day-to-day cooking and more involved with managing the kitchen and the staff. “But through this I get an opportunity to teach others, which is also something I enjoy. My biggest task is to ensure consistency in everything. Every dish on the menu needs to be prepared with the same manner of excellence day after day, not matter who is standing behind the stove”
“Cooking doesn’t stop; food is always evolving. We have an a la carte menu that features all of the crowd pleasers served in innovative ways like gourmet burgers, steaks, pizza and tapas. We also tailor our menu for hotel guests that have specific preferences. Serving a wide variety of palates, there is ample opportunity to get creative!”
The best payment Japhta can receive for his food is simply appreciation. “I want to make people happy through good food. I cook with my heart and nothing is better than hearing that someone enjoyed my food.”
If you’re planning a trip to the Lowveld anytime soon, be sure to sample the divine dishes at Kuka Café first hand. What’s more, if you’re on the lookout for Hazyview accommodation, you’ve come to the right place! Perry’s Bridge Hollow is the ideal destination from which to explore the exquisite Panorama Route and surrounds. For more information contact our friendly reservations team today.