In Conversation with: Ashler Zvipozvamambo
I'm Ashler Zvipozvamambo, but most of my friends call me Ash or Bubu. Most people know me for my Mixology skills, but there is more to my career. I am a chef; a hospitality graduate and I'm waiting to resume school. I will be studying Crime and Investigation and I will be finishing my Master Sommelier Course. I love to travel, I am hoping to have travelled to 20 countries by 30 and I am way past half way so YAY! I am a series junkie. I watch so many series and when I'm not binge-watching series I read, mostly African Literature and my Bible. I also love hosting games nights, wine and dine the whole shebang. I just love seeing people happy. A lot of people don't know that I am extremely shy and scared of big crowds, yet my industry requires me to work with loads of people lol!
Where did your passion for hospitality come from?
The chef side of my career was really something I grew up knowing I wanted to do. Seeing my mum cooking all these fancy meals and watching her bake for us when we were young. I grew up serving people, but I really fell in love with it when I was a teen when I travelled to Israel and Switzerland. I saw the best service standards ever from that time and I knew I wanted to bring those level of standards to Zimbabwe. It pushes me to have the best standards I can provide with my brand.
What would you say sets you apart from other mixologists/chefs?
"Ash Standards" as people around me put it. My passion for hospitality has really pushed me never to compromise on the standard of service that I provide. Everything I do I put my everything into. I am into setting good standards first, then making moola. My client’s needs always come first because at the end of the day without them my brand would not exist. I also like to do something new for each client. Each function I have done is different, I ensure each set up and drinks go with each event or theme. As much I take my work seriously I love to have fun whilst I am at it. I try and make sure that the working environment is good not only for me but for the people that help me too.
What inspires your work and how do you know when what you have made has “that thing”?
Funny thing is I am never sure if my next inventions are good or not. So, I have a team of people I pass some ideas through or show my new work. Their reactions are always crazy and that keeps me going. Now I rarely doubt my work because I now see the gift I have. Be it with Mixology, Events or being in the Kitchen. Some of my work is inspired by the World’s best Mixologists, they have so much skill and use crazy techniques. I spent a lot of time watching and learning how to use new techniques. I am now so comfortable with my skills and what I do I am confident that everything I make has "that thing".
Of every drink/food you have ever made which one is your favourite?
My favourite drink is one that I'm proud of because its one I made from scratch for DJ Noxy which she named Noxy's Paradise. I had always played around and changed other recipes, but I had never made one from scratch. I have since made other drinks from scratch. When it comes to food I really can't pick something I would say I have one favourite thing to make. I just enjoy playing with food and different flavours. However, I cook a lot for my friends and family and they love anything I make though most of their food requests revolve around Mexican influenced food or Soup I make mean soup.
What is the most important thing you consider when creating a drink?
The first thing I ask my clients is what do you like to drink? What flavours are you into? What kind of fruit do you like? What kind of food will be at your event? So basically, the most important thing to consider is my client. However, if it’s a pop up or big events I usually think of the crowd and the kinda drinks that they might like.
If you could give something up for a year what would it be and why?
YouTube documentaries lol! It consumes so much of my time.
What is the one thing you can’t live without?
The internet. I spend so much time on it in the industry so many things change every day. There are new cooking and mixology techniques coming up all the time, I am learning something new nearly every day.
Who in the world would you want to cook/make a drink for?
I cannot decide between Denzel Washington or Idris Elba.
What would you make for them?
I have no idea what I would cook for him, but it will probably be the best meal I've ever made in my life lol!
How would you like to be remembered?
As the woman who lived her best life whilst doing everything she loved despite all the hurdles I've had to overcome. Someone who never gave up on her dreams even though people told her mixology makes no sense in Zimbabwe. I also just want to be remember for impacting people's lives positively. I am always humbled when people tell me they have been watching my journey and see me grow. It really pushes me to do more, to do better and not to give up on my dreams.
What are you most fond of about being Zimbabwean?
Our strength as a nation, we have been through a lot, but we always manage to show up for life. I love how we make the best out of the crazy situations we find ourselves in. We do not pass up on an opportunity to have a good laugh.
How can people get in touch with you?
Facebook: The Mixologist
Phone Number: 0779367826/ 0733367417