Culinary Arts graduate, Samkelo Mbatha, discovered his passion for cooking at a very young age. Growing up, Samkelo’s parents taught him the basics on how to prepare a beef curry and rice dish, but because Samkelo was genuinely curious about the cooking world he started to read the ingredients on the back of canned foods and recipes.
As the years went by, along with his father’s encouragement, Samkelo decided to enrol at the International Hotel School and pursue his dream of becoming a qualified chef. “This was without a doubt one of the best decisions that I have ever made,” said Samkelo. During his career, Samkelo has had the opportunity of cooking at some of the finest establishments in the USA and Dubai.
Aside from wearing the hat of being a chef, Samkelo is also an entrepreneur at heart. He and Musa Mjoli, who is also a graduate of IHS, are the founders of ‘Kitchen Ninjaz’. Pietermaritzburg has been buzzing lately with vibrant people attending the ‘Bonfire Cookout’, which is a business venture that was developed by the Kitchen Ninjaz. “This concept was born when a friend and business partner of mine, Njabulo, invited a couple of his friends to his home for a birthday celebration. The friend provided the food and beverages and he also created a menu, which included amadombolo (dumplings) and some various proteins (pork shanks etc.),” explains Samkelo. “The feeling of just being there with no music, mingling with friends whilst sharing a meal planted an idea in my head. I thought to myself, what if we take this very same concept and make it bigger?” Njabulo is also a member of this venture heading up Marketing and Entertainment.
The first Bonfire Cookout was held on the 23rd of June and it was an invite-only event. There was no entry fee, all the attendees had to bring were their own beverages. Due to the immense positive feedback that the Kitchen Ninjaz and Njabulo received from social media, it was only fair that they open it up to the general public.
The event is hosted in select venues around Pietermaritzburg. The aim of the event is to enhance the guests’ experience, as they partake in their food preparations and service. The founders believe that experiences are only great when you have someone to share them with. Quite often your friends become family over sharing a meal together. That’s why we charge a group fee and then each group will choose a meal from the set menu.
If, like Samkelo, you are passionate about the cooking industry and want to start your business venture one day, International Hotel School has a course that will suit you. Contact us and we can help you to open those doors!
Samkelo with his fellow friend and business partner Njabulo Ngubane.