For most people, a job and a passion aren’t synonymous. For 34-year-old former flight attendant Tyeya Ngxola, turning her passion into her career meant pushing herself out of her comfort zone by quitting her job, packing up her life, moving countries, and forging a new path with a set of knives, an apron, and a white chef’s jacket in hand.
“It was both so terrifying and exciting. It was terrifying because at my age, people are well established in their careers, or at least well on their way to that, and there I was starting again,” she says.
“It was also exciting because of the prospect of starting something new, something that involves my passion and my creativity, with the potential of so much growth.”
Ngxola was driven by the urge to learn the science behind cooking and what it takes to thrive in a professional kitchen. She went to study at the Prue Leith Chef’s Academy — one of the best cooking schools in South Africa — and it didn’t stop there.
She then continued her studies at the best culinary school in Italy — Alma — and worked at La Fiorida, a Michelin-starred restaurant in Morbegno near Lake Como, under the tutelage of some of the best chefs and wine connoisseurs in the country.