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Mbabane – For the love of food!

In an exclusive interview with South African (SA) self-taught chef, the most colourful celebrity, Somizi Mhlongo, he spoke to this publication about being part of The Standard Bank Luju Food and Lifestyle Festival. The festival is scheduled for this weekend, from Friday till Saturday. Somizi, as he’s affectionately known in the entertainment space, doubles as a TV presenter, cheographer, SA Idols judge;  radio host among other  jobs and he  will be one of the guest judges at the cook-off . He will lead an Afro-Fusion cooking showcase using 100 per cent Pick n Pay Luju Pantry ingredients. Justina Bain and King Terry, whom were announced early in the week as the finalists for the Pick n Pay Luju Cook-Off, will go head-to-head live at 11am, on Saturday in the House On Fire Amphitheatre at the festival, with celebrity and food enthusiast Somizi.

Drawing inspiration from the celebrity showcase, the finalists will be challenged to recreate the gourmet dish, adding their own African flair, in a bid to win the title of Pick n Pay Luju Cook-Off Master Chef. Over E20 000 worth of prizes to be won! These were the questions posed to him:
How do you feel to be part of the panel of judges for the Luju  Food and Lifestyle Festival?
I’m super excited and I’m looking forward to it. The last time I did this was at the DSTV Delicious Festival.  It’s nice to do it outside the country for my fans in Eswatini.

How did Luju rope you in as a celebrity judge, and what can we look forward to?
They saw my TV cooking show (dinner with Somizi which aired on DSTV Channel 103, 1Magic), my love for cooking  and my cookbook. I think that’s why they invited me. My fans can look out for my authentic original dishes and my personality.

Are you the easiest person to cook for?
I’m the easiest person to cook for, as long as the food tastes good. It doesn’t matter how expensive or how cheap. Or how complicated or how simple the meal is, as long as it taste’s good and it’s cooked from the heart.

What’s your favourite dish?
My favourite dish is anything hearty; my preference is African food, SA food, umgodu (tripe), amaqina (chicken feet), dombolo (steamed bread), samp, and pap.

Have you ever cooked for someone and they didn’t like your food? Please explain the experience?
Yes I have cooked for my friends and the food was too hot (too spicy). They had to rinse the meat. I also once cooked for my boyfriend and I added flavoured yogurt by mistake instead of plain, the meat was sweet.

You are informed that in half an hour King Mswati III is coming to your place, what would you prepare quickly for him, and why that meal?
For His Majesty, I would cook something I think he has never had before. I would cook a Moroccan couscous with a whole fish, curried prawns, or Jolof rice from Nigeria, and Igusi. Something I think he’s never had before or might expect from me.

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