Most people’s memories of last year’s Global Citizen’s Mandela 100 Festival will be about the celebrities and the music, but for selected chefs from around Africa there was a much bigger takeaway. 13 chefs took part in a Chefs’ Manifesto Johannesburg Gathering, which was run in conjunction with the festival and hosted by the SDG2 Advocacy Hub. The four-day event took the chefs from rooftop gardens and local farms to Sandton and Riboville, culminating in the music festival at the FNB Stadium. The event helped to form a local network of impassioned chefs that are tapped into the global food movement and committed to delivering nutritious food to all.

Chef Pinky Maruping from Unilever Food Solutions was part of the team who took part in the four-day programme, so we chatted with her to find out more about the event.  

Can you tell us a bit more about the programme? Over the four days, the gathered chefs from South Africa and beyond explored how the Chefs’ Manifesto can connect to chef action in South Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa more generally. The aim is to build a community of chefs around the world, equipped with a simple set of actions aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to drive progress against the food issues that matter most to them. Working together, we can help deliver a better food system for all.

It highlighted what is happening around us – we don’t have a clue of the reality out there; there are so many people around the world without access to good food while 1/3 of all food is wasted.

How were you involved in the event? I was part of the team of chefs from South Africa, Kenya, Nigeria, the UK, Canada and Lesotho. We engaged, learned and shared best practice inside and outside of the kitchen in line with the Manifesto framework.  During the four days, we visited a rooftop garden and travelled to local farms, discussing with farmer owners about their work and the importance of good farmer-chef partnerships for delivering nutritious food to all. The 12 chefs and I also curated a high level dinner titled “Building on Madiba’s Legacy: Ending Hunger and Malnutrition on the African Continent”. We were paired in teams of two, each of whom curated a dish following these guidelines:

  • Features ingredients tied to the cuisine of the assigned region
  • Showcases a link to at least one of the 8 Chefs’ Manifesto areas
  • Feeds 150 people (plus staff meals)
  • Includes a veg and vegan alternative

With these specifications, we created Cassava Canapes that drew inspiration from the central region of Africa; from the Southern region, samp, beans and amaranth croquette with Baobab sauce; and prawn fish, greens, egusi with plantain and fonio tuile celebrating West African cuisine.

Casava Canapes

Can you tell us a bit about your experiences throughout the event? It was an eye opener! It highlighted what is happening around us – we don’t have a clue of the reality out there; there are so many people around the world without access to good food while 1/3 of all food is wasted. It was great to share learnings and ideas with chefs from different experiences with unique stories around sustainability.

Why do you think an event like this is important? This event helped to raise awareness for chefs about the food issues facing South Africa, the African continent and the world and how chefs can be involved to make changes in their communities and where they work to meet the SDGs using the Chefs’ Manifesto framework. Local actions can drive global impact. Chefs around the world face similar problems and challenges with food and so we have much to learn from each other in terms of ideas and ingredients.  

Going forward, what sort of plans have been put in place to continue the event’s legacy? Early plans for a follow up for this event are being looked at in Cape Town later this year. Follow Chefs Manifesto on Instagram for further updates.

The 8 Thematic Areas of the Chefs’ Manifesto:

  1. Ingredients grown with respect for the earth & its oceans;
  2. Protection of biodiversity & improved animal welfare;
  3. Investment in livelihoods;
  4. Value natural resources & reduce waste;
  5. Celebration of local & seasonal food;
  6. A focus on plant-based ingredients;
  7. Education on food safety, healthy diets & nutritious cooking;
  8. Nutritious food that is accessible & affordable for all.

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