Celebrated chef and
business woman, Liziwe Matloha, has recently been appointed as national brand
ambassador for First Choice, one of South Africa’s leading milk and dairy
Owner of the home-based restaurant Dinner at Matloha’s in Boksburg, she
turned her passion for cooking into a full time career, offering classes and
private chef services.
Born, bred and raised
in Boskop, a rural part of Potchefstroom, cooking has always been part of her
life. Says Matloha: “I started cooking at a very young age, around 13. I’m from
a big family. On Sundays after church we would usually gather at home for this
big Sunday lunch. This was most exciting for me. My dad provided for us as hard
it was. He worked as a farmer and we all depended on him. With the little
income he received, he made sure to send each and everyone of us to school. It
was up to us to work hard to achieve our goals and dreams, but he gave us that
Matloha always enjoyed
food and cooking, but the thought that she could make a career out of it never
crossed her mind. Before joining the culinary world full-time, she worked in
the marketing and advertising field. She catered as a side hustle for about five
years before deciding to leave her day job and follow her dream.
at Capsicum Culinary Studios, one of the leading culinary institutions in South
Africa with a Diploma in Food Preparation and Cooking. Thereafter, I continued
my training at hotels, restaurants and catering companies,” Matloha adds.
Dinner at Matloha’s
was formed in 2014. She explains: “I’d go to college during the week and do
catering on the weekends. On some days during the week I’d bake after class and
sell cookies, which were and still are very popular. Once I graduated from
Capsicum, I focused on the brand intensively. The goal was to offer cooking
classes, host pop up restaurants and I did just that. I do share my recipes and
give cooking tips online, but the most exciting part about cooking and food is
the hands on experience which people love. Reading a recipe is not the same as
actually being guided through the process and getting all the tips and tricks
on how to at the same time. I’m passionate about cooking and food. Facilitating
the classes gives me this amazing feeling that families will experience meals
prepared by someone who’s been influenced by my way of cooking, which are
always easy to prepare but great tasting and budget friendly.”
Matloha loves sharing
the little knowledge, information and skills she has. “It gives me amazing
satisfaction. The response and feedback I receive from my students make me feel
whole and blessed. It’s truly a great feeling. The cooking classes are hands
on, laid back, easy and fun. Imagine knowing various ways of cooking a dish
that’s both inspiring and exciting!”
She continues that
becoming a First Choice Ambassador has been a life-changing experience. “I'm
working with a team of professionals that’s always eager to guide me. They allow
me to be who I am, as a chef and a creative, and my opinion matters. It's
wonderful that I can come up with ideas and First Choice will support me, guide
me through the process and give me the platform to share it with my fellow
As an ambassador,
Matloha develops recipes, lives and represents the brand: “I absolutely love
First Choice products and always share this with everyone. I want to create
even more awareness of the brand and provide a face to face experience for
consumers. I sample the products and give demos on how to use it. I also
encourage consumers on my social media pages to try First Choice. Their
products offer excellent quality and value for money, plus their range is very
impressive. My family loves the variety on offer.”
Matloha believes that
she has achieved “many of the things that I always thought were not meant for a
farm girl like me. I believe that my work speaks volumes of what I’m capable of
achieving. I’m enormously grateful for every achievement”.
As for many other
small businesses, lockdown has been tough. “Due to the fact that we couldn’t do
anything, the business suffered. I buy my groceries in bulk for the classes, so
that was a challenge. I was stuck with stock that had no guarantee of being
used any time soon and I had to give everything away to charitable homes. With
us slowly getting back to work, I’ll have to raise funds to stock up on
everything from scratch.”
Her aim is to bag as
many projects as possible next year to make up for lost income due to the
Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown. “But my longtime goals still stand. My first
cookbook will be released early next year, so I'm working towards promoting it
as much as I can. It’s very exciting and will be the greatest achievement of my
career. I’d also like to launch my own spice range that I’d love to see on
shelves. 2020 was the year to work on this but it’s never too late. I’m excited
about the future.”
Being a wife and
mother of three makes working uncertain hours a real struggle. “I schedule work
a few days during the week in order for me to be home for dinner with my
family. Weekends I spend with my family and I don’t compromise on that. Work
will always be there on Monday, but the time that is lost with my family can
never be recovered. Luckily my family is very supportive of me as a person and
what I do. They are always there for me,” she concludes.
Visit www.woodlandsdairy.co.za or the
brand new online shop www.shopfirstchoice.co.za.
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