CHEF SIMPHIWE ZONDI: FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS TO A HOUSEHOLD NAME
Simphiwe Zondi’s dream patisserie here in Sandton seems worlds and generations away from his township roots in rural KwaZulu Natal – and yet he’s achieved all this by his mid twenties already. Here’s how he took the humble magic of a fresh baked cake and turned it into a celebrity favourite and household name.
Creative food and pastry genius, Chef Zondi’s culinary journey began at a young age when he started out making mud cakes for his family.
“I grew up in a very small township in KZN [and] that’s where my love for cake art first started when I would go out and make mud cakes,” he explains.
Soon, it became clear to his family that Simphiwe was destined for the culinary world, especially the cake art industry.
“Cake art is a way of expressing themselves through food, being able to show emotions and feelings through what you make.”
Inspiration struck when young Simphiwe would watch his mother Mrs. Sindi Zondi bake and cook with perfection.
“I discovered that he had a passion when he started stealing his mother’’s tupperware. He would take the tupperware and start baking cakes,” his mother says.
For Simphiwe, his family’s support has helped him develop his career and it has become a bonding activity with his mother.
“Working with her is a dream come true, it’s such fun to have her present in everything that I am doing.”
This week, we got to ice one of Simphiwe’s favourite cupcakes at his bakery – the chocolate and vanilla cupcakes. Stay tuned as he shows us how to mix all three colours into one piping bag.
To top it off, it wouldn’t be a cupcake without a lil sprinkle. It’s wonderful to see how Chef Zondi has come.
Starting out in business, by knocking on doors, he faced many rejections before he realised he had to start where he was, with what he had and a vision of where he wanted to be.
Simphiwe has made cakes for some of South Africa’s A-listers, including singer and actress, Kelly Khumalo.
When he’s not mixing yolks, butter and vanilla, Simphiwe runs an NGO helping children’s homes.
What’s next for this dashing chef? He’s part of the SA Culinary team competing at Chefs Congress 2022.