On 27 May 2018, Nompumelelo Mqwebu, author of the cookbook, ‘Through the Eyes of an African Chef’ flew the South African flag high when she was announced as the winner of an award for her cookbook that was nominated Best in the World First Book at the renowned Gourmand World Cookbook Awards in Yantai, China.
Nompumelelo took home the prestigious Best in the World For Self-Publishing award from one of the largest international competitions in the industry that aims to honour the best food and wine books as well as food television.
“The whole experience has been nothing short of humbling and surreal. Not only did I get the opportunity to rub shoulders with some of the greatest cooks in the culinary industry, but I also had the privilege to represent my country and showcase through my cookbook how Africa’s cuisine and ingredients are right up there with the best in the world. And to top it all off – this month is Africa month so it couldn’t have happened at a better time,” Nompumelelo enthused.
Having hailed from the streets of Umlazi in South Africa’s KwaZulu-Natal, Nompumelelo said she never imagined that her passion for cooking and food would be her passport to travel internationally let alone compete and win against the best in the world. Before heading to China for the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, Nompumelelo was invited by KZN Tourism to attend the 2018 Travel Indaba where she addressed the hospitality industry about the need to nurture and grow more female talent in culinary sector. “I’m passionate about showing the world what fantastic talent we have in South Africa and in order to achieve the level of excellence that we are capable of – funding and programmes dedicated to mentoring and upskilling local talent is what is required. My journey has certainly not been an easy one and I am so grateful for my family and other key people in my life who have given me the support I have needed to achieve this kind of success,” expained Nompumelelo.
The Gourmand World Cookbook Awards were founded in 1995 by Edouard Cointreau. The ceremony provides the perfect opportunity for thousands of enthusiastic cooks, chefs, authors and publishers to come together and share similar interests. Books from 205 countries participate in these prominent awards. Entry is free and open to all languages.