How food should make you feel: Jozi cook redefines catering

Mpho Masango of Plump Kitchen creates pop-up culinary experiences in people's homes, writes Christa Dee

28 June 2017 - 11:45 By Christa Dee
Mpho Masango channels her passion for good food and caring for people into creating pop-up culinary experiences at people's homes.
Mpho Masango channels her passion for good food and caring for people into creating pop-up culinary experiences at people's homes.
Image: Supplied

I had a chat with the founder of Plump Kitchen, Mpho Masango, about her passionfor food and rethinking dining experiences.

Masango started Plump Kitchen as a way to channel her love for good food and caring for people.

In between giggles, she revealed her sneaky attempts to avoid making dinners at home when she was younger, but she "kind of fell into the cooking thing" during her university years in Grahamstown.

Her interest in food grew to more than just a love for great-tasting food, but experimenting with what she could make.

She recalls during her second year a fancy restaurant opening in Grahamstown which appeared slightly out of place.

She began to waitress there, and before long became assistant manager. Befriending the chef, she watched him cook and soon became known among her friends as the go-to person for delicious meals.

After spending some time in London after varsity she returned to her home, Johannesburg. Moving into Maboneng, she worked with the guys from The Bioscope to start the restaurant attached to it, Chalkboard.

In 2012 Masango turned dabbling with making food for friends into her new baby, Plump Kitchen.

Expressing her hatred for the word "catering" because of its association with white tents and flavourless food, Masango's Plump Kitchen is an offering of good food made with love.

"It matters to me that people understand that what they put into their bodies is really what comes out. If you are not taking in all the goodness you are supposed to take in, you are not optimising your own body. This affects your body and mind. The most immediate impact is on how you feel," says Masango.



With an emphasis on the way food makes you feel, Masango tries to make every Plump Kitchen experience feel homely - through the food, the energy, the attitude.

Stemming from this, she explains that her pop-up culinary experiences will always be hosted at someone's home. "[It is] important to make you feel like what you are having and experiencing can be made at home."

Adding to the sometimes limited eating options in Johannesburg, her pop-ups create the feeling of visiting a friend while offering a party for your taste buds.

Plump Kitchen's food is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the tongue.
Plump Kitchen's food is as pleasing to the eye as it is to the tongue.
Image: Supplied

She sees her pop-ups as her playground. "[I] get to go completely crazy and imagine 'what if I could do this for people?' and try to pull it off.

"I'm not trying to build a food-making machine," says Masango. Working with suppliers who source their produce from small-scale organic farmers is tied to her appreciation for eating well.

She has declared 2017 a year of knowledge to contribute to her attitude towards rethinking dining experiences and creating a well-rounded understanding of food for all the food services Plump Kitchen offers.

She is determined to be behind a mindset change and assist people in training their palates to crave the delicious and the healthy. With plans for a food truck and packaged meals, best you keep your eye on Plump Kitchen. - bubblegumclub.co.za

 • This article was originally published in The Times.

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