Sipho Suntele realised at an early age that he did not want to spend all of his life working for other people. He wanted to have a choice in how he used his time, to be able to make time for his passions without being dependent on the responsibilities placed on him by an employer. He grew up cooking with his mother and from there, his love of food and cooking grew and developed and now he is a private chef with a cookbook in the process of being published and the owner of [email protected], in the process of commercialising the first of their Ebuhlanti Sauces. “The thing I love about food is how it unites people and makes them feel at home, comfortable and welcomed. That is what I strive to do with every meal I create.”
As part of his studies in Hospitality, one of the modules covered dealt with sauce preparation and when he worked at The Casabella Guest House in Bunkers Hill, East London he started to develop his own BBQ sauce. “I wanted an all-rounder sauce and I wasn’t completely satisfied with some of the others on the market. I had to mix various products to get the flavour I was looking for so I decided to make my own. I was fortunate because my employers allowed me to have a lot of freedom in the kitchen which gave me the opportunity to work on my own sauce that I would serve to the guests.” Even with all the freedom he had working at Casabella, he didn’t want to be an employee long-term and while he worked on perfecting the sauce, he also started to compile a collection of his recipes from the dishes he was serving the guests so that he could use them in a cookbook (Cooking Casabella). He chose a selection of his favourite recipes and those inspired by his mom and used those to compile his cookbook. His wish is to make familiar dishes fresh and exciting, to make people fall in love with food and cooking again.
“My desire and goal for the Ebuhlanti Sauces and Cooking Casabella is to impact the people who choose to study at FET colleges, to encourage them to complete their studies there and to motivate them. To have them see that they don’t have to go to a university to achieve big and good things.” He found morale to be low while he was a student and thought it was important that people need to know that FET colleges produce professionals similarly to universities.
His goal for 2019 is to have the cookbook (Cooking Casabella) be published and distributed in bookstores and for the sauce to be properly documented so that it can be made available in retail stores across the country and eventually globally. His desire is to have the Ebuhlanti Sauces brand resonate with people and become a reminder for South Africans, wherever they are, of home and the joy of meeting together with friends and family over a braai and the feelings of comfort people get when they come together.
One of the biggest challenges now that the sauce is complete has been breaking into the bigger retail community. “There are so many barriers that one needs to cross in trying to attain the proper documentation necessary to legitimize the sauce so that it can be welcomed by retailers and made available to consumers.” He is not letting this discourage him thought, he is working on having chutney as his next project, with hopes of also producing a lemon and herb and a spicy/chilli sauce and to eventually make Ebuhlanti sauces organic. In the meantime, you can find him every Saturday at the Hemingways market (across Edgars) selling his BBQ sauce. The BBQ sauce is also available at Mario’s Café in Southernwood, East London or you can contact Sipho by email at [email protected] or you can find him on Facebook under Ebuhlanti Sauces. And if you are looking for a private chef or someone to cater an event for you then Sipho is your guy, he can be reached at [email protected].