Spring is often associated with newness, freshness and cleanliness. It’s like a time to start all over again. For most people it’s a good time to put behind the memories of a harsh cold winter season.
This Spring season you can spring it up by trying out more healthier, lighter and creative recipes from Life on a salad cookbook. A cookbook authored by a young Motswana woman and features Botswana staple foods like mosutlhane, letlhodi, black eyed beans and samp. Sunday Standard newspaper caught up with 29-year-old Ompelege Moreosele, famously known as Chef Cathy to check progress on her salad cookbook that she launched in December last year.
The young woman from Kalamare village in Central Botswana continues to grow in leaps and bounds and gaining international recognition and awards. Her recent award is the African Authors Award, under category of cookbook.
African authors award promotes and encourages African authors to write about their food and culture, they honor and award all books that they believe promote Africa .
Chef Cathy says she wrote this cookbook because she wanted Batswana to realize that salads are more healthier, convenient and a cheaper choice but also packed with flavor.
She says she draws inspiration from renowned South African celebrity chef, Siba Mtongana, whom she competed with at Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, “she taught me a lot and motivated me.” She adds.
Cathy admits that publishing a book is very costly and that she planned everything and saved money because she knew it was expensive to author a recipe book and so she saved her school allowance and money she made from her catering jobs.
She financed everything from writing, photography, recipe testing, printing, marketing and book launch.
She says internationally the book has found a market and has been very profitable, selling very well in France and Italy. But the same cannot be said about her local sales.
“Most Batswana don’t read or buy books more especially cook books, even government does not buy locally authored books. There is a lot of competition from international books.” She says.
The chef confesses that it is not easy to do business in Botswana and that Covid-19 has made it even worse because of the lack of buying power due to a lesser population and high unemployment rates.
Her biggest clientele is the international market, international museums, food brands and locally Botswana Agricultural Marketing Board (BAMB).
She says Batswana are not buying in large numbers. “Even if you do monthly specials, market and advertise only few numbers will buy.”
Cathy shares that she sold less than 500 copies locally ever since she published the book last year, but sold over 3500 copies outside the country including at international school libraries. She however states her disappointment that in Botswana none of the libraries or schools have bought her book as yet.
She is even considering to stop printing the book locally and only offer it in e-copies for the local market.
She continues to say the process of putting together a cookbook is one that demands time and patience because sometimes one has to redo a recipe because the taste is not the way you had imagined, some foods or ingredients are not picture perfect. “You will find yourself repeating the same dish for more than a week until you master it.”
She adds that ingredients are very costly and that sometimes you will realize that some of the ingredients you want to include in your recipes are out of season or there is no local supplier for that particular produce which forces one to improvise.
Her book was locally published by a young Motswana woman, Thuto Joy Modibedi of Transilience Book Publishing & Printing House.
On the pipeline for Chef Cathy is a food Magazine launch which she says she will be focusing more on.
“You can expect a food Magazine launch soon, a cooking studio and a restaurant, Lebele restaurant which will be operating from Cape Town, CBD.” She adds.
Cathy however notes she has not invested a lot into marketing her book on social media and admits she does not have a lot of following regarding her work and somehow she still manages to receive a lot of international recognition and clients, something which she says she can only acknowledge to God.
Given another chance to choose, she says she would do it all over again because writing and developing recipes is her strength and she does not wish there is anything she could have done differently because of the positive feedback she keeps receiving both locally and internationally.
Life on a salad cookbook is currently on special until September 30th. You can order your copy on Facebook: Home-life with Chef Cathy
Instagram & Twitter: Ompelege Moreosele
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