Hard work pays off

Ndengese Shabangu has worked hard through the years to open his own restaurant

He is one of the top chefs in the country and worked his way into his current position by washing dishes and mopping floors.

Ndengese says his love for cooking started at a very young age.

“I used to help with preparing meals and would come up with my own recipes, which my family loved.

“After completing matric, I found a job washing dishes at a restaurant.

• Read: Young chef with big dreams

“This was not an ideal job for me but I consoled myself with the fact I was working in the kitchen with some of the best chefs.

“I could not afford to enrol into a culinary college so I decided to learn as much as I could from the head chefs,” he says.

Eventually, Ndengese says, one of the chefs identified his talent and often allowed him to work by his side.

“I stopped washing dishes and was allowed to prepare meals.

“I was also encouraged to attend workshops and training in the field, courtesy of the restaurant,” he says.

Even though his career was now blossoming, Ndengese didn’t allow his dream to own his own restaurant to fade away.

“Today, eight years later, I am the proud owner of a restaurant and living my dream.

“I have employed seven people from disadvantaged backgrounds and I am looking to absorb more as the business grows,” he says.

• Also read: WATCH: Pro chefs visit KwaThema school

Ndengese says that he is motivating young people not to give up on their dreams.

“It takes sacrifices, hard work and dedication to achieve your dreams.

“I have my own restaurant today because I didn’t give up when people thought I was only a dreamer.

“I believed in myself and kept pushing, even when I was washing dishes and the future looked bleak,” he says.

Doreen Mokgolo

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