Cooking up a storm in IY

Gandhi Bimbo Saliji outside the braai shack.

As you enter Imizamo Yethu, there is a strong smell of braai that cannot be ignored.

A smell that draws you in, right up into Mandela Road and in towards the Hout Bay Take-Aways.

The braai shack is run by Gandhi Bimbo Saliji, who has spent nearly 15 years as a chef at hotels, catering companies and restaurants.

A few months ago, Mr Saliji visited his brother in IY. He says he was blown away with what the area has to offer and he spotted an opportunity.

“In IY, you always see people walking around eating lots of unhealthy foods, fried things and all. I thought I could offer a
food that is cooked in a healthy way and food that would be cost effective for this community, making my business for the people,” he says, while serving somebody their R15 piece of quarter chicken from the braai.

Instead of running an ordinary business, Mr Siliji decided to take it further by training young people in the community to be chefs.

“I have been through training and had the opportunity to work in some really nice kitchens. It
means nothing if I cannot pass down this knowledge to the next generation.”

Every morning, he prepares from as early as 4am, starting off with a traditional “magwinya”, a vetkoek, which is one of his best sellers. He prepares boiled “pap” and braais all the fat off his chicken and meats.

“There are certain fats that are good for our bodies; I try and get rid of all the fats that will lead us to obesity. This kind of
cookingyougetinthese fancy restaurants, but our peoplehavetherightto
access food like this.

“Never mind the small shack, there are big things happening inside here.”

Bathandwa Magubane, from IY, gives the business a five-star rating for the quality of the food and service.

“He is always helping people and most importantly, he
gives people hope. People love his food and people love him. Our community has much to offer, but we have to fight to get the recognition we deserve,” she says.

Asked what her favourite meal is, she laughs: “I love the
chicken here and the way it is prepared. We have our very own tikka chicken here.”

Thando Rasmus walked out of the take-aways smiling.

“His food sometimes sells out very quickly. If you don’t come in time, it will be all gone. It’s not only cheap food, it is really tasty and we love it. I really hope the best for him.”

Mr Siliji hopes to grow his business to other parts of Hout Bay.

“This current location must become a training spot for the youngsters, in order for
them to prepare themselves for this life. Meanwhile, I would like to set up another spot in Hout
Bay somewhere, a bigger location that could become something for these youngsters to work towards,” as he turns the chicken on the grill.

He has created his own mango achar and also bakes muffins, bread, cupcakes, rolls and more.

“I have a skill that I want to share with the world. It takes a
skill to cook and perfect these items and I am not only sharing my skills with the world, I am now sharing my food.”

* The Hout Bay Take-Aways is open six days a week in Mandela Road, Imizamo Yethu. You can contact Mr Siliji at 074 250