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Bringing Back Zimbabwe’s Lost Cuisine

Traditional Southern African dishes take on modern flair

According to Anthony Bourdain in his ”theory on the food revolution,” historians will one day look ”at the first two decades of this century as the era of food craze.” Bourdain further speaks about how food has become a fetish, as evidenced ”across all platforms and media.”

The food revolution has brought along a synonymous change in how the art of cooking is viewed, with the chef status taken over by food bloggers who have in essence become more powerful. Now termed ”food porn,” thousands of food blogs are overloading the Internet. However, only a few of these have gone on to become success stories.

Raised by her grandparents in the depth of rural Zimbabwe, Ivy Mango Chatora made her first meal at the age of seven, which turned out to be perfect under the instruction of her strict grandmother. From then on, she became a regular in the kitchen and — fast forward — has earned herself a reputable place in the world of food blogging. I first met Ivy on Facebook and instantly noticed a certain ”je ne sais quoi” about her. The imagery of the food she cooked was always visually pleasing and of the highest quality, with the bonus of an artistic twist to the way the food was presented. This became my fascination, as it made food that I had grown up eating in Southern Africa look more attractive and approachable. I say approachable, as many of the dishes that were presented before me as a child used to make me shudder. I always felt that African people had the most guts, but as I developed socially and culturally, I realized that Africa was in fact subtle in its cuisine and offered some of the most delicious foods in the world.

Ivy’s Kitchenette was born after an overwhelming response on social media. This revelation birthed a platform, which not only catered to Southern Africa, but gave other African countries in the East, West and North a platform to showcase their most popular staple foods in a way never seen before. While the platform attracted a huge African following, Ivy’s presentation skills also began to bring about an international following that had interest not only in the food, but the different cultures as well.

Recently, Ivy was invited to be a guest chef at one of London’s prominent African restaurants, ”Mama Jumbe,” where she charmed guests with a variety of food from different parts of Africa. While she may not have her own base yet, Ivy has also created new platform, where she teaches how to create simple dishes that are not time consuming. At a time in which healthy eating has become a trend and economies are constantly haphazard, she has created some recipes that have affordable and available ingredients that will inspire people too.

It is an understatement to say that Ivy has changed the way many of us eat and think about food. The ”decoding and deconstructing” of the way that traditional food is cooked and presented has been a passionate quest for this food blogger. Ivy’s Kitchenette has taken our all-time favourite ”across Africa” recipes to another level, exploring the different ways that food is taken to our tables. She has opened up her own world of revelations that food lovers and home cooks everywhere will be living by. While not yet household name, her ”groundbreaking” concept will turn much of what you thought you knew about food ”upside down and inside out.”

For more on this inspiring journey, visit:
Instagram: Ivy’s Kitchenette

Photo Courtesy of: Ivy Mango Chatora


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