Siba, who refers to herself as a culinary expert, rather than a celebrity chef, says she finds inspiration in everyday moments. “To me, food is love and absolutely anything that ignites the same feeling in the soul is inspiration to me.” She adds that she lives her brand: “I believe it’s important to be completely immersed in your industry if you want to be the best, which I do.”
Siba completed a Bachelor’s degree in food and consumer sciences, majoring in nutrition and food sciences, which she believes elevates her offering, as does feedback from her fans, particularly on social media.
She loves cooking for her husband Brian and their three children, Linamandla, Lonwaba and Buhlebenkosi. “I believe they can taste the love that goes into the meals I prepare for them. When it’s appreciated, I am appreciative!” She shares that Brian is not only her guinea pig, but he’s also her greatest critic, but he always criticises with grace, love and care.
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Her company, The Siba Co is invested in giving international trends a local twist, and conversely, introducing local flavours to the international market. It’s this flair she brings to the table.
Siba’s delighted at having the opportunity to collaborate with Air Chefs (SAA’s catering wing). “I am the first female chef to be asked to create a menu for SAA’s International routes Business Class travellers, which is a huge honour.” Siba says her team did extensive research to make sure they were equipped with the necessary knowledge for the job. “My team and I loved the challenge of working in a new and exciting space. The menu we’ve created celebrates local African flavours with contemporary flair, which I like to term a ‘Sibalicious’ twist.”
She shares the inspiration behind her dishes, which pay homage to her family: “The Zesty Prawns & Couscous is a tribute to my little ones. It’s one of their favourite things to eat at home. Of course, we upped the level of flavour, styling and overall look and feel of the dish.” The second dish, Grilled Salmon & Greens is inspired by her mother Noliza Mnwana
and the time spent as a family in East London. “When I was younger, we used to eat a lot of hake and snoek at home. My mom knew how to create the tastiest fish dishes,” she recalls. The final dish, Fillet steak, “Pap” & Chakalaka is twist on the traditional meal South Africans love so much, using polenta instead of pap.