We met chef Linda Mnikathi at his beautiful home in Newcastle, KZN to find out how he has adapted his business to help keep food on the table.

Despite major challenges in the food industry this past year, some promising new talent was still able to shine. One such rising star is Chef Linda Mnikathi who was nominated as one of the chefs to watch in 2021. The Durban-based chef who hails from Newcastle is today a food editor and founder of The Culinary Kitchen, his successful catering business.

“During the pandemic of COVID-19 I started food packs because everything was closed. So I had to think outside of the box to start something that would put food on my table. I started selling these food parcels and takeaways to my clients and the community.”

Linda used the reality of urban life in Newcastle to get new clients during lockdown – adapting to his circumstances to continue thriving.

He fondly relays his heritage with food and how he realised his passion for cooking. Tracing it back to primary school days when we would watch his dad cooking and would eventually go on to assist in the kitchen. He also pays tribute to his mother, for being a major driving force behind him following his passions.

“Family is my fortress. We are more than just family, we are friends. We travel together, we feast together, they are the people that I go to whenever I’m facing the daily challenges of life. They never turn their backs on me. Family is everything,” states the chef and entrepreneur.

Together with friend and fellow chef Zandi Mabika, Linda demonstrates how quick and easy it is to whip up a delicious luncheon consisting of a tasty spatchcock chicken and vegetable roast, and decadent vanilla sponge cake that he topped off with cream frosting, berry coulis, chocolate ganache and fresh strawberries.

The world of food is forever changing so it’s important to always be searching for new sources of inspiration. Linda Mnikathi’s advice for aspiring chefs is to remain passionate, consistent and focused.


How are you aspiring to live better?

“By having a clear vision and goals for my life, and by living a purpose driven life.”

What legacy would you like to leave behind through your design / work / business?

“That eating healthy food leads to a longer life. I’d also like to inspire males, mostly Dad’s, that they too can become better cooks.”

What two pieces of advice would you like to share with South Africa?

“In all adversity and trials never let your dreams die. Secondly, let your purpose and dreams take you out of bed despite the daily challenges of life.”

Where do you go to escape and connect with yourself?

“The sea.”

Do you have an encouraging quote to wrap up on?

“Never stop dreaming big dreams!”