passion runs strong in this teamwho are we
The team behind African Culinary Library not only are leaders within their industries, they too are Africans, channeling their way through the heart and culture of African Culinary Experiences. A team dedicated to understanding and pioneering the way forward to network, connect and execute a change in narrative for African Cuisine.
A Team Of Professionals
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“i regard any entrepreneur as a risk taker.”
The burning flame to my entrepreneurial spirit was flamed into new beginnings in Johannesburg in 1999, since then I have never looked back. With my parents having been entrepreneurs & farmers, it was a natural progression for me. I started my own company Callit IT Guest Logistics in 2006 identifying a niche in the industry to offer a turnkey service Solution for Guest Logistics approach for corporate events. This has been the driving force behind Fresh RSVP Guest Logistics to date, boasting long standing clients namely FNB, Old Mutual, Times Media, SAA, Cell C, Blackberry, Bonitas, Dimension Data, Boehringer Ingelheim UAE, Clover, SA Tourism, Brand Leadership Academy, Ogilvy, SABC to name a few.
Coupled with the guest logistics knowledge and desire to entrench my spirit, sparked an interest in Travel, Event Production & Catering. In 2008 elected as Director at CLA Brand & Event Engineering and TechRig Technical Solution Agency in 2009 and certainly listed as one of my entrepreneur highlights in my life.
I then embarked on Fresh Elite Experiences and Fresh YUMM Cullinary Experiences of which is a catering branch off to our existing corporation.
This extension allows specialised Customized Elite Event services. Fresh People is an added division to the family and our opportunity to continue infusing our soul for development. We source and train unemployed Africans in the Hospitality Industry as Cleaners, Cooks, Waiters, Barmen, Baristers, Butlers to name a few. With this venture we are empowering people to not only find employment after being trained but also to sustain their families and build a self preservation. Our most recent business development directed us to purchase and take over a Bakery & Restaurant in Randpark Ridge which has now been added to the Fresh family. Fresh YUMM Café, is a Bakery, Deli & Café where we offer bespoke baked goods, fresh harvest menu & incredible brunches & lunches! Our keen spirit to continue develop has directed us into the franchise market. We are now the proud owners of a Shell Select and Kauai – it is the first one of many. My passion for quality and service driven convenient solutions is the Driving force to ensuring a professional service delivered to your door.
My name is Absie Pantshwa – I regard any entrepreneur as a risk taker.
You have, to be brave, bold and daring to achieve your dreams and have financial success. Risks have taught me valuable lessons in believing in myself and pursuing my dreams without compromise.
“changing the narrative of African cuisine”
Mandlakazi Mbete is the founder & head Chef of Fresh Yumm Culinary Experiences based in Johannesburg South Africa with a national footprint.
Her biggest achievement thus far is building the company from scratch and continues to grow the business as they launch the first Fresh Yumm Café and Patisserie this year. The company has been honored to cater for the likes of H&M, Oprah Winfrey, UNHCR, Nelson Mandela Foundation, Brand South Africa and some international artists to mention but a few.
“My love and passion has been inspired by 2 phenomenal woman in my life. 1 being my mom, of course, the other was one of our helpers who I grew up with. She worked at a hotel and often came home cooking up a storm and impressing us with her delicious dishes. In grade 6, I decided that all learners should bring a monetary contribution for groceries to cook up a celebratory meal before the weekend. Needless to say, I was the head chef! After I had matriculated my future was driven to pursue my career in Hospitality Management at Technikon Witwatersrand (University of Johannesburg). I was awarded the Top Hospitality student award in 1999 and Graduated with superb results.
I spent 4years gaining experience in the industry and shortly thereafter realised that I needed to move into other industries. At this point I doubted my dream to be an executive chef, living out my passion. Whilst trying my hand at other industries I never lost the flair for entertaining, cooking for my family, it was and always will be my soul rewarding skill for me. No matter how many times I cook the same dish, each time is a new journey of discovery for me this is my MUSE my happy place where every stir in the pot is more soul fulfilling than the last stir. My senses come alive and am I transported to a different world surrounded by the aromas, of herbs and spices when I am in the kitchen.
In 2008 I put my fears behind me, and founded Fresh Yumm, an Exclusive culinary experience and Elite Events service.” At Fresh yumm we focus on improving and changing the narrative of African cuisine by collaborating with the best chefs on the continent to elevate the experience.
He has been instrumental in the growth of The Local Grill brand
Llewy is an experienced operator in the restaurant and hospitality industry for the past 25 years. His focus is on service and operational training. He has been instrumental in the growth of The Local Grill brand. Llewy is passionate about farming too, owning a small herd of stud Pinzgauer cattle. Llewy worked as a steward on board domestic and international routes for the
airline over this period. This is where he sharpened his service skills and training capabilities for just under 10 years.
Operations Director, The Local Grill 2012 — to date
Llewy has been the operations director of The Local Grill for the past two years.His duties are to establish the franchise operations of the group, The Local Graze.
The Local Grill Parktown North & Boksburg 2007 – 2014
Llewy became partner in 2007 where he set up the store and operated Parktown North until 2010. From there he moved to Boksburg and set up that store at The Birchwood Hotel until closure in 2014. Primary focus was general operations, training and stakeholder relations.
The Local Grill Melville 2004 – 2007
Llewy joined The Local Grill as the manager of the first outlet. A year later The Local Grill relocated to Hurlingham. He set this store up and got it operating until he moved to open Parktown North. The Hurlingham store has been sold and is trading under a different name
Oysters and beef fat, calamari and grapes, sweetcorn and hay
Vusi Ndlovu is a young dynamic chef based in Johannesburg. His progressive cuisine has pushed people to explore the boundaries of dishes they thought they would never eat. Oysters and beef fat, calamari and grapes, sweetcorn and hay – are a few of the dishes he serves up to test his diners. Vusi lives up to the reputation that he has built as chef who challenges the norms and pushes boundaries to produce unique and astonishing food. He even creates many of his own ingredients – bacon, sour cream and other ingredients that many chefs choose to order in.
Vusi joined the world of gastronomy in 2010 as a fresh, young matriculant with the world at his feet. His mom had big dreams for him and had hoped he would choose to study an engineering degree, but Vusi decided to buck the cultural trend that cooking was just for women and chose instead to become a chef. He began by cooking eggs and learning the basics as part of the in-house chef trainee programme in the kitchen of the Sheraton Hotel in pretoria. Vusi was ambitious and learnt quickly, and his desire to spread his wings eventually saw him jumping on a bus to Cape Town in 2012 to join Peter Tempelhof, one of his chef heroes of all time. Pete, a giant of a man and yet incredibly delicate with his food, showed Vusi what cooking was all about. Vusi found his role challenging and exhilarating and would not let hard work get in the way of his dreams. He began to take his work home and practice on his friends. He would buy angel fish at the market to practice his skinning and filleting techniques until he had mastered the art. Vusi worked with Pete for a few years where he grew into a strong, young chef that later became part of South Africa’s national culinary team.
When he was 24 years old, he left Cape Town and went back to Johannesburg to join Chef David Higgs at The Saxon. It was a massive opportunity – Higgs did not hire chefs for his exclusive restaurant unless they had some sort of international experience. Vusi was thrilled to be part of such a dynamic and leading team of chefs. It was here, under the guidance of Chef Higgs, that Vusi started to create his own dishes .This was the first time that Vusi had been allowed to experiment and create dishes that could potentially make it onto the menu.
Vusi recalls how Chef Higgs would take one of his creations, taste it and add something completely unheard of, elevating it to the next level and lifting it from good to great. Vusi had found his mentor, his God-chef and describes himself as a “Higgs’ disciple”. When Chef Higgs eventually left The Saxon to start up Marble, Vusi felt as if a part of himself had left too. There were such good memories there, but he felt it was time to move
It was at this time that he decided to head overseas and join one of Europe’s top restaurants at the time, In de Wulf, in Belgium. The head chef there was just 32 years old and in Vusi’s words was a “Rockstar”. He was taught not to try too hard to be clever with food, that food is best in its simplest form and that if you can make it yourself, do it. Vusi was close to staying in Belgium long-term but eventually his roots called, and he returned to South Africa in late 2016. He worked as a private chef for a well-known businessman for a short period but preferred the social side of the kitchen and returned to The Saxon where he decided to start having some fun with food and experimenting.
It was here that he made his award-winning duck dish using skills, techniques and flavour combinations learnt from his tenure under in Belgium. Vusi was named as one of the top seven in the San Pellegrino Best Young Chef – and the number 1 young chef in Africa and Middle East. It was around that time that he joined Luke Dale-Roberts Joburg and recreate a pop-up restaurant based on Dale-Robert’s, Pot Luck Club. The pop-up was hosted at The Marabi Club and was an immediate success. But while the restaurant thrived, Vusi yearned for the creative freedom to explore and create his own dishes. This led to some amazing pop ups and collaborations with the likes of Uniliever food solutions, Findland food and art festival, Glenfiddich and fashion power house Prada , to name but a few.
Vusi has translated a passion for art, fashion design, and music into his kitchen and his mantra is to develop his team in such a way that they don’t do things out of fear, but out of respect for the craft.
Explore my love for all things culinary
I’m an experienced banking and management consulting professional with extensive knowledge in financial services. I previously lead client facing strategies, teams, functions and various transformation programs across the entire banking franchise. I spent the early part of my career as an analyst developing customer insights and analytics for financial services firms. I have developed a passion for establishing and driving growth strategies and leading teams. My passion for wine has manifested itself into the wine business having founded a wine boutique and merchants business responsible for driving demand and growth leveraging from my professional experiences. The ACL team provides me with a new opportunity to explore my love for all things culinary and the challenge of building a business in this exciting sector.
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99 Conrad Drive, Blairgowrie, Johannesburg, South Africa