They came. They cooked. They conquered. That is the motto of twins, Lebo and Tebo, who are cooking their way through the kitchens of Pretoria with their success in hosting pop-up dinners for those who enjoy quality food in the comfort of their own homes. In addition to that, they are regular contributors to food magazines, have cooked for the folks over at Top Billing and have been featured on The Gareth Cliff Show at cliffcentral.com.
We sat down with these two bubbly chefs, who have studied in Stellenbosch and the United States, to learn a little more about what it is about food that makes them so passionate about cooking and staying balanced.
By Jana du Plessis
Q. Where did your love for food start, and has it always been the two of you in the kitchen?
A. It came from our mom who is an amazing cook, she used to cook for us all the time. Sometimes she’d allow us to mix the cookie dough while she was baking. It’s always been both of us in the kitchen as we would rather have watched someone cook than watch cartoons! Once we grew older my mom let us take over the baking duties of the house and it’s been a baking party ever since.
Q. How would you describe your approach to cooking and the type of food you love to cook?
A. We see cooking as a ‘woooh-saahhh’ moment. It’s so relaxing and calming. We love being creative and experimenting with food; we love mixing two cultures and cuisines when we cook, like adding an East African twist to a local South African dish.
Q. Hosting a kitchen pop-up must be quite a high pressured environment. What is the energy like in the kitchen when cooking for these events? And how do you deal with any on-site disasters or mishaps?
A. We love the pop-ups! The fun thing about them is that we get to work and cook in different kitchens which is always very interesting. For at least the first hour we don’t know where everything is, but (luckily) we are very calm people, and two brains are always better than one, so it’s never a stressful situation. With just the two of us in the kitchen, we always tell each other funny stories while we cook, turning it into quite the a cooking party. Any disasters? Again, we try not to panic and, like any good chef, we’ll make another plan and we’ll probably scratch the (disastrous) item from the menu and come up with something else.
Q. What is your favourite food story – be it funny, nostalgic or significant in any other way?
A. Our ultimate food story has to be our Thailand visit. On the last day of our trip, we went to Bangkok to learn how to make Thai green chicken curry from scratch. We had a chef on site who was guiding us, but they mostly let us do our own thing. Now, the one twin (clears throat Tebo) decided to put way too much green chilli in her curry because she thought she could handle it. Long story short, she was sniffing through her entire meal because her tongue was burning so much, but to our surprise, she finished her meal! That’s where our absolute love for Thai cuisine came from – there’s nothing better than learning how to make a dish, with raw, fresh ingredients in its country of origin. Amazing!
Q. Even though you’re chefs, you like to keep fit and healthy. What are your tips to eating healthily but still keeping it delicious?
A. Yes, we absolutely appreciate our bodies and try to take very good care of them. Our tip is to eat wholesome most of the time. Fresh food that doesn’t need to be cooked for a long time or doesn’t have more than five ingredients is what we aim for. Try to keep it simple and stay away from too much heavy and starchy food. Drink lots of water and have one treat meal a week, for extra motivation.
Q. What is your go-to recipe for a healthy dessert?
A. Our favourite healthy dessert would have to be our ABC home-made froyo. It’s as easy as the name suggest and only requires four ingredients.
A, B, C froyo
1 tub double-cream plain yoghurt
250g berries, frozen
¼ cup honey
Mint, to garnish
1. In a blender, blitz the yoghurt, berries and honey together.
2. Transfer the yoghurt mixture to a sealable plastic container and freeze for 5 hours or until completely frozen.
3. To serve, garnish with fresh mint.
Q. If there is only one dish you can make for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A. Hmmm, that’s a tough one. We’d have to go with a Thai green chicken curry and rice. Yummy and simple!
There you have it! For more of Tebo and Lebo’s delicious recipes and amusing ramblings, visit their blog at withlovefromthetwins.com.