Dreaming of throwing a gig (a bridal shower, bachelor's party, wedding, birthday party or just a chill session) but low on budget? Thinking of spoiling your partner/ family with an outdoor picnic or just adventure hanging out with a group of friends but deficient in culinary skills? Or that corporate function with a different taste? Even that long shelved personal desire to learn preparation of exquisite dishes can now be realised, thanks to Chef Habana who recently impressed STAFF WRITER DITIRO MOTLHABANE with his skills at a campsite at the Khawa Dune Challenge where he was feeding his clients out in the bush.
I am Mopati Batlang Busang aged 26 years old. I'm the only child to my loving, supportive mother Thatayaone Kokorwe and late father, guardian angel Tom Norman (His Soul Rest in Peace). To become a professional chef, I had to study my culinary arts course in Pretoria, Steyns Culinary College. Interestingly being a Chef was never my first option or love. A degree in Marketing was what I was studying when I later discovered this love for the culinary world. I am very mobile, based all around Botswana and South Africa. I go where my food lovers need me. My hobbies would definitely be hosting and cooking for my food lovers, travelling and discovering new and tasty flavours. I'm a sporty person – I love rugby (having been part of my high school rugby team), soccer and formula 1.
Where did the name Chef Habana come from?
The name Habana came about in high school, the glory days when I was still an active rugby player. My friends and team mates nicknamed me Habana, after they said I look like Brian Habana. To make it worse I played his position, a wing No 11. To this day the name stuck, some people, my followers even thought that was my real name.
When and how did you get into culinary arts?
I developed these culinary arts interest some five years ago. Before then I was in the Marketing field. I think the culinary interest came as a calling because before I became a Chef I was never really interested in serving or cooking for people. I think it all came about because of my love for people, making people happy and later I discovered how I can make people happy with my talent, great food.
Any kind of training to get here?
I went studied and trained for my culinary arts, which is how I got to be a professional chef. I don't believe in one should call himself or herself a Chef when they have not received any training or studying on the field. I was very fortunate to have trained and worked with some big restaurants and hotels, one being Lansmore Hotel (now known as Masa Square Hotel). From there I shared my services with camp sites in the Okavango delta, which is where I developed passion for providing services as a Private Chef. I have also been blessed to have worked with such great Chefs who helped develop me into the Chef I am today. My mentors are the great wiser Chefs I have had the chance to work with, Chef Rico Chef Earl, Chef McJon to mention a few. I have recently worked with Chef Thuti (Fairgrounds) at the Home & Lifestyle Expo. As a private Chef I also do a lot of cooking demo's at expo's, corporate events and food festivals.
What does being a private Chef entail?
As a private Chef I am simply a client(s) personal chef, something very uncommon here in Botswana but it is my duty to share and make Batswana appreciate such services. As your private chef I and my team are bringing restaurant dinning into the comfort of your home or anywhere you would want such dinning, for you and your company. I am targeting all those interested in such services, even those people who would like to try out certain cuisines or diets. I also offer private and group cooking classes, catering for all kinds of people and budgets as well as kids cooking classes. These are kids that I believe in teaching and training while still young, polishing young culinary talent. I would honestly say such training is for everyone at home, as I also offer training to house helpers.
Chefs, let alone Private Chefs, must be expensive?
I work on a client's budget and proposal advising them from the planning stage to the end to ensure that I do not stretch them financially.
What is the response from the market, any offers?
Carving a niche in providing services as a Chef to private clients is a relatively new phenomenon locally, but the response from people has truly being amazing and humbling. I am building such great relationships with my clients, these that I affectionately call my "food lovers". Some people will give mixed responses as they might not know yet know what a private chef entail, but I believe it is my duty to share and teach them. I also believe in great, healthy, yummy foods as our health is something that is very important for longer and happier lives. I am teaching my food lovers how best to enjoy healthy food but with a yummy, great twist. My food lovers affectionately refer to me as "Your favourite Chef Habana".
Any special dishes you prepare for your clients?
• Coriander, ginger butter chicken curry served with naan or basmati rice
• Avocado & mozzarella stuffed and seared duck breast (which can also be chicken breast)
• Seswaa croquet au coconut curry served with either spicy couscous or cauliflower/brocollie rice
• Malva pudding with Amarula custard.
Phone: (+267) 71312306
Facebook: Chef Habana / Your Favourite Chef #ChefHabana