BACKGROUND

Africa meets Europe cuisine staged The Mzansi International Culinary Festival (MICF); a food extravaganza aimed at celebrating the rich culture of African cuisine during Africa month. The concept, launched in 2014 celebrates the culinary expertise of chefs and farmers focusing on women from across the globe – Africa, Asia as well Europe and the Americas.

The Festival aims to spearhead Women Culinary Leadership, Women’s Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise Development, Skills Development and Skills Transfer, Mentorship, Economic Development and Women Empowerment, Transformation of the Industry, Food Preservation, Innovation and Culinary Tourism.

African chefs mainly females from Uganda, Ghana, Senegal, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal have graced the event demonstrating some unique local dishes. There’s also an exciting line-up of industry experts who cover various themes in the culinary space such as “farmers corner”, Local female chefs joined by visiting chefs to talk to challenges around the lack of African Cuisine in our establishments, lack of female chefs at the helm of hotel and restaurants kitchens and the need to support local producers to grow the economy.

THE CONCEPT

In recent years South Africa has been spearheading the African unity movement, MICF assisted in driving social awareness among the public in Johannesburg. Each of the African female chefs not only demonstrated their respective dishes, but also took the opportunity to interact with their audiences and speak about the culture behind the food, showcase the health benefits of African food, discuss hardships faced by women in the industry, ways in which their dishes can be adapted locally. Wine sommeliers joined in the cooking demonstration to pair the dishes with the perfect South African wines. The event hosts interactive demonstrations with the chefs giving tips to audiences on how to prepare their local dishes.

The aim going forward is to unite people through food “Travel Africa on a Plate” which is known to gather people around the table as a symbol of togetherness and joy. The South African public learn about the different cultures from Africa that exist in South Africa, the various produce indigenous to regions of Africa available in our local market such as rape greens, cassava, bitter leaf etc. while learning about how regions such as West Africans prepare goat meat. Which is available locally but not used as much as our other African regions.

The event is family friendly, with a “kiddie’s corner” where children aged 3 to 11 will be taught the benefits of healthy eating and how to choose their foods (taken to “farmer’s corner” to see various produce). Edutainment.