From Mthatha to Texas: Chef Mabija is cooking up a storm in the US

30 January 2018 - 14:33
By Kgaugelo Masweneng
Mthatha-born Wandile Mabija in Austin, Texas
Image: SUPPLIED Wandile Mabija Mthatha-born Wandile Mabija in Austin, Texas

A young man from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape is making his mark as a chef in one of the plushest hotels in Texas in the USA.

The 24-year-old Wandile Mabija who graduated from the Capsicum Culinary Studio‚ was excited to go overseas for the first‚ at the same time‚ sad to leave friends and family behind.

"When I first arrived in Austin [state capital of Texas]‚ it was a bit challenging since I knew nothing about the place and how to go around. I had to learn which bus to take to get to work. I had to also search for places to buy good food for my flat. To be honest it was an exciting yet challenging experience. It was my first time out of South Africa‚ so this trip was everything I dreamt of‚" said Mabija.

His dream to venture into the international community was made possible through the help of a travelling agency.

"It was tough to leave my family behind - I have two siblings - Thando and Siphesihle - who both live in Mthatha‚ and both studying in Port Elizabeth‚ as well as my dad Mxolisi and my mother Lindelwa. But it was an opportunity too good to pass up‚" said Mabija.

Working at the Fairmont Austin Hotel in Austin cemented his passion for cooking.

"Cooking has always been my first passion. It was something I really loved and wanted to be involved with in some way. My mother really pushed me and supported me to follow my culinary calling. I decided to go to one of the open days at the Capsicum Port Elizabeth campus and I fell in love with the school. That’s where my journey began‚" Mabija said.

Like many young people‚ one of his dreams is to travel the world and marvel at its beauty.