In Conversation with: Ivy Mango
Meet UK based Zimbabwean Food Blogger, Ivy Mango who is the face behind A Taste of Zimbabwe and author of the cook book Ivy's Kitchenette. Her talent has won her Zimbabwean Achievers (ZAA) People's Choice Award 2015, Lift Effects Star Award 2014 and was nominated for the Zimbabwean International Women's Awards 2014. She is currently studying Culinary Arts & Food Styling at the University of West London.
Most people know you as a chef, food blogger, business woman apart from that who is Ivy?
Ivy is just a simple, life-loving and bubbly woman, the second girl in a family of 7, so passionate about life, free-spirited, and talks for the world.
Where did your passion for cooking come from?
From a very young age, I was fascinated with recipe books and loved watching cooking programmes. I grew up with my grandfather and he was a very classy man. I remember how we used to have our Friday dinners that were very exquisite that my grandmother would have prepared. She would set up the table with her expensive chinaware, as if kings and queens were coming to dine with us. I carried that experience and I guess it also contributed to my love for cooking.
If you could eat one type of (Zimbabwean) food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Sadza and Derere.
What drives you in life?
I'm so passionate about life as a whole!! And I'm passionate about whatever I do and I try and put my all in it. And when it comes to food, it's vibrancy, its versatility its wholeness just gives me a burst of life each day!!
Who inspires you and keeps you grounded when things aren’t going so well in life?
I follow a lot of Food bloggers from different origins and find inspiration from that. I research about new foods and trial them out. I'm inspired by many women who are part of a cooking group on Facebook known as the ZW Baking and Cooking Group led by Sikhu Nkoma. I'm also inspired by other internationally known chefs like Jamie Oliver, Ina Garten and Siba Mtongana from South Africa.
What inspired you to write a cook book?
When I came up with the book I wanted whoever purchases it to think of a simple dish especially Zimbabwean dishes and that they'd be able to find it in the book. Hence my favourite section is the Zimbabwean dishes section.
Which recipe from your book would you say is a must try?
The Fingers Millet Bread (Zviyo).
Who has been involved in the making of the book?
I wrote most of the recipes, but I have my aunt's recipe in there, my lecturer at university contributed his recipe & image in the book as well.
Book Design & Concept was David Zinyama.and Rudo Muchoko helped with the publishing side of the book.
If you weren't cooking what would you be doing with your life?
I guess I would be working in Home Design and decor (interior design) I love that kind of stuff.
Talk us through a typical day in your life.
If I'm not working or at university I'm busy doing other things at home like cooking, taking photographs of food, writing blog posts and writing recipes which takes 3/4 of my day. If not maybe lunch with friends or at home watching my favourite programmes.
What's your most favourite memory of growing up in Zimbabwe?
Getting home on Friday afternoons and being welcomed with the smell of sizzling chicken and fried rice. Friday's were my favourite days growing up.
What advice would you give to young women who are aspiring to be entrepreneurs, be it as chefs, food bloggers, etc.?
If you love it go for it, you never know where it will take you. We are in need of many more Zimbabwean food bloggers, the more we are, the more we will place the Zimbabwean Food Cuisine on the World Map.