In our ongoing series, each week we chat to locals and visitors to find out what makes Joburg a city worth experiencing. In this week’s #MyJoburg we asked for the lowdown from food writer and chef The Lazy Makoti (Mogau Seshoene).
Move over Nigella. With more than 60k Instagram followers, a gig writing about food for the Sunday World, a successful cooking education business and a Mandela Washington fellowship under her belt, 30-year-old Mogau Seshoene (aka The Lazy Makoti) is a phenomenon. Included in the Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans list in 2015 and Forbes’ 30 under 30 list in 2016, Mogau has come a long way since quitting her corporate career at KPMG to pursue a passion for food. She is also playing a pioneering role in putting traditional South African food on the culinary map.
In 2014 Mogau founded The Lazy Makoti (the lazy bride), a platform that shares traditional recipes and shortcuts for modern African women and offers unpretentious and easy-going immersive cooking classes tailored for groups and individuals, that include everyone from domestic workers to brides-to-be. The idea started after Mogau gave her friend, a new bride who was clueless when it came to the kitchen (she couldn’t even boil an egg!) and was about to spend two months with her new mother-in-law in rural KwaZulu Natal, a two week traditional cooking crash course. The course was a hit (both with her friend and her new family) and Mogau’s schedule was soon packed with requests for similar courses inspiring her to launch her own business. As her brand began to grow Mogau also started working with major food brands on recipe development and testing out kitchenware and in October 2018 her first cookbook The Lazy Makoti’s Guide to the Kitchen was published.
Mogau describes herself as “passionate about telling the South African story through our unique food” and her new cookbook is filled with tips and tricks for cooking up delicious traditional food with ease. From nostalgic tastes like banana bread, sorghum porridge (“If I could describe my late grandmother with a dish, this would be it,” she writes) and the classic kasi Seven Colour Lunch to tasty ideas for last night’s leftovers and showstopper South African classics like oxtail stew or curried tripe made easy, The Lazy Makoti’s new cookbook celebrates African heritage foods while also maintaining that cooking up delicious local dishes need not be difficult.
It’s peppered with personal details that conjure up a nourishing family life and most dishes have easy to find ingredients and unfussy steps. There’s something for everyone in this book – from the local twist on the popular Middle Eastern egg dish shakshuka (Mohau’s version has a chakalaka base and she recommends it for the “day after a hectic braai”) to egte (real) South African Peppermint Crisp cake (we are a big fan of her philosophy of eating cake “because it’s someone’s birthday somewhere in the world”).
What brought you to Joburg and makes you stay here?
I came to Gauteng after high school to study at the University of Pretoria then later fell in love with the pace and vibe of Joburg and moved here.
One thing no one would expect to hear about Joburg?
I don’t know if this is unexpected, but the way that everyone is so drawn to the city. Anything is possible in Jozi! Think it, dream it and make it happen. That’s the one thing I can never get over. Joburg is the one place in South Africa where everything, all cultures exist together. Black, white, Nigerian, Portuguese, Chinese – it’s a melting pot.
Favourite restaurant or cafe?
Epicure by Chef Coco – it’s a sensory delight. How Chef Coco Reinarhz was able to create a modern futuristic authentic African menu blows my mind. All those words sound like they don’t belong in the same sentence but he pulls it off. Excellent execution. I want to take everyone there!
Favourite after-work hangout?
Gemelli in Bryanston for the vibe, the great service, great food and even better drinks.
Favourite place to shop?
Any place with up and coming vendors or designers – particularly weekend markets.
Favourite place to relax in the city, and why?
The Fourways Farmers Market on Sundays. Sun, cocktails, friends, music… what could be better?
Three or more things a visitor should not leave Joburg without experiencing: Soweto, for its culture and history and people. Maboneng, Braamfontein and the inner city for vibrant street culture and Parkhurst for laid-back weekends.
On weekends you’ll find me …. Teaching a cooking class on traditional South African food and then chilling with friends at a market afterwards.
Top tip for a first-time visitor to Joburg: Don’t carry cash!
Best things about Joburg: The people – all the dreamers🙂
Worst things about Joburg: The crime.
If you didn’t live in Joburg where would you like to live and why?
I’d live in Polokwane because that’s home, where my parents still live.
Three words that describe this city …Vibrant, exciting, welcoming.