Once focussed on pursuing their dreams, it might not be easy for some people to look away- even for a millisecond.
Chef Ompelege Moreosele, 28, is a one-of-a-kind culinary arts student in Gaborone who best fits such a description. The young woman, unlike many people loves cooking and dining on delicious foods. For her, food is life therefore has to be fully enjoyed.
Born in Kalamare village, Moreosele told Arts & Culture that she was raised by her grandmother, a renowned cook known for sublimely tasteful dishes.
In Kalamare back then, granny was famous for her succulent fat cakes, yummy mapakiwa and tripe, or serobe in the lingua franca, which teased the taste buds of Kalamare villagers.
Sadly, granny passed on when Moreosele was in Standard 4. The matriarch was also known for cooking for contractors who worked on several development projects in the village.
Moreosele added that her grandmother taught her how to cook from a tender age and that’s when she enjoyed spending time and cooking with her granny. “I completed my BGCSE in 2010 and due to lack of career advice, I ended up doing an Associate Degree in Advertising. I didn’t like the course. I did not have the passion for it so I ended up quitting to study Business Management. With the certificate I got a job as a receptionist. Even though I worked hard I felt like my life was incomplete and that I had to start again. I decided I was going to do something that I unconditionally loved, which for me was cooking,” she recalled.
The budding culinary expert decided to save money and pursue her certificate in food preparations and cooking with Gaborone College of Culinary Arts, and later Diploma in Culinary Arts at the Gaborone Technical College where she is currently doing her last year. She will finish the course November this year.
Moreosele said she planned to open a fine dining restaurant
This chef has written her first salad recipe book titled Life on a Salad. The recipe book is a series of salads and salad dressings that she collected over the last four years during her culinary arts journey. She noted that all the recipes had been tried and tested since some were part of her school exams. Moreosele said her in-service training at Marang Cresta Hotel gave her an opportunity to explore and bring new things into the kitchen. She proudly noted that she had many tasty recipes that were quick to prepare.
“Salads are often viewed as that extra, thoughtless combination of fruits or vegetables that accompanies the stars of the dish, but I beg to differ. “After spending two years putting together these salad recipes during braais, baby showers, weddings and picnics, the menu that people put together with this recipe will never be the same.
“The salads and salad dressings in my book are doable, packed with flavourful ingredients that are accessible. Some salads can be served as a main dish accompaniment or dessert,” she said.
She explained whimsically that amongst some of her recipes with an African touch were legumes, commonly known in Setswana as mosutlhane and letlhodi.
However, she said she would always recommended her mosutlhane, letlhodi and samp salads because she is proud of her culture and is confident of their amazing taste.
“I am a Motswana and an African who is proud of our beautiful culture in the form of food. I love telling the story of where I come from through food because I am a village girl,” she said.
Transilience Production House published the book on May 2020. Copies are available through the author for P230 each.