Home FOOD A taste of Lorna Maseko

A taste of Lorna Maseko

She loves tapas and lamb chops. Pilates and coffee. And translating food as entertainment on the telly. Which is where you’ll find the talented Lorna Maseko now … launching Homegrown Tastes South Africa!

Celebrity chef. Cookbook author. Ballerina. Television personality. The iconic Lorna Maseko has done it all. We got the chance to catch up with her ahead of the launch of Homegrown Tastes South Africa, airing on BBC Lifestyle.

But how did she get here? “I started off as a ballet dancer, the first dancer of colour to do a lead role with the South African Ballet Theatre,” she says. “I then became a presenter and I used to travel around the world and do all the food stories. I  reached the top six on a cooking competition show and I fell in love with food even more. This led to me hosting a series of events called Cooking with Lorna and Friends for a couple of years, after which I got my own show – The Hostess with Lorna Maseko. After travelling around the world with Chef’s Manifesto, I am now here  … with BBC Lifestyle.”

The show’s existence is testament to Lorna’s entrepreneurial attitude. “I actually reached out to BBC and Rapid Blue about a cooking show, to see if it was possible. And it was!” Lorna explains. “The show will follow me on a culinary expedition across South Africa. I’ ll spend each episode sampling various tastes with local celebrities and meet some of SA’s amazing chefs and food producers. At the end of each episode, I will celebrate the hero ingredients of the region by preparing my own recipe for viewers at home to re-create.”

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Lorna is as philanthropic as she is entrepreneurial. Her work with Chef’s Manifesto is geared towards sustainability, biodiversity, and being the change the world needs to see when it comes to food policies. Culinary advocates range from Michelin star chefs to home cooks from all over the world. She is also currently working on a project with the school she attended. “We will start planting a food vegetable garden for children and in time, enriching the community in the township of Alexandra, which is where I’m from,” she says. “We will teach the parents how to make food that is better for their children.”

But despite all these accolades, Lorna remains humble. “I am following my passion and trusting God through the entire process. I like to think I live with a purpose and feel really blessed to be doing what I love. I love food. I love the advocacy of food. I love cooking food with people and watching them enjoy eating my food. I love translating food as entertainment on television … I feel that is where I thrive the most.”

Unsurprisingly, it’s tough for Lorna to juggle all of these commitments. “I wish there were more hours in the day! I don’t think there’s balance. I think you juggle things at different speeds. Some days it’s a samba, some days an adage, and some days it’s a salsa,” she laughs. To unwind in her downtime, Lorna is a bit of a couch potato (her words!) “I love being home. If I am not home, I am usually trying out a new restaurant and new food. Or travelling… I’m so glad we can travel again!”

For Easter inspiration, all we need to do is tune into Lorna’s new show!  “In Homegrown Tastes South Africa, I make a delicious recipe of Karoo lamb chops, spekboom chimichurri, creamy pap and chakalaka puree – which would make the perfect Easter meal!”

So what does Lorna typically cram into a single day? “I get up, have a coffee – can’t think without one!” she laughs. “I look at my phone and emails, then I start working on recipe development, whether I’m working for a brand or just creating content for myself. Lots of meetings throughout the day … running errands … I am constantly thinking about what is next. I am also operating on New York time with my team. Oh, and I also love Pilates!”

We couldn’t resist asking Lorna for some autumn-inspired dinner party ideas. “I love tapas style eating with people sharing food. I just made this extremely delicious creamy coconut and feta cream dip served with broccoli stems, dressed in a garlic, chilli, and sesame oil dressing. I love ceviche of any kind. I would have lamb chops done in a juicy way, noodles with a bit of teriyaki, soy, other interesting ingredients and maybe a boiled egg. Asian-style short ribs and bok choy with a zesty dressing alongside avo and capers. And for dessert, anything with caramel!”

To keep up with Lorna’s pursuits, follow her on Instagram @lornamaseko or Twitter @Lorns_Maseko or subscribe to her website (https://lornamaseko.com). “I always put up new blogs and have a ‘Lorna recommends’ each month.” And, of course, don’t forget to tune into Homegrown Tastes South Africa on BBC Lifestyle’s local line-up every Wednesday at 8pm on DStv channel 174 with 10 episodes, starting from March 23.

Text: TAYLA BLAIRE •Photo: Rapid Blue / BBC Lifestyle

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