Meet Premier Hotel The Winkler’s powerhouse pastry chef

During his time as junior pastry chef at Premier Hotel The Winkler, his hard work and attention to excellence have not gone unnoticed by senior staff and managers.

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The 27-year-old has not had an easy time of it, having to drop out of his BCom accounting degree after his first year due to lack of funding. It was when he was granted a learnership through the South African Chef Association and sponsored by the Department of Tourism that his career in cooking began.

He is grateful to the woman, Mabel Nkosi, who brought him up when his mother moved to Johannesburg when he was just 11.

“We lived in Swalala, I was so young when my mom left. I was raised by our neighbour. She taught me how to behave as a man, to be patient and not rush. She taught me the difference between right and wrong,” Maluka says.

He adds that all these values help him in the kitchen every day.

“She played a very important role in my life and is my inspiration to grow and do better,” Maluka says with a thin smile.

He is not much of a “smiler” but he certainly a star in the pastry kitchen. His favourite dessert to prepare is crème caramel because he says it is easy to make and very popular with a lot of people. He also loves to make tarte tatin, a tricky French dessert prepared with apples, pears or other fruit.

Funnily enough, Maluka does not have much of a sweet tooth. He believes it is important to work in all departments in the kitchen to become a well-rounded chef.

He so enjoys working in the hotel kitchen because he gets to cook and bake for people from all around the world. Approximately 60 per cent of Premier Hotel The Winkler’s guests are internationals.

“We learn about people from other countries and what food they like to eat. We make pumpkin pie for the North Americans and chicken feet for Chinese guests. There is even crocodile stir-fry. We have options for vegetarians and a great children’s menu too,” Maluka explains.

Name: Blessing Maluka
Profession: Junior pastry chef at Premier Hotel The Winkler
Age: 27
Family: Wife Innocentia and one-year old son Mbusisi
Favourite dessert to prepare: Crème caramel
Favourite meal to cook and eat: Chicken penne alfredo
Recent achievements: Placed third at the Chaine des Rotisseurs Lowveld finals
Expertise: Qualification in professional cookery (City & Guilds)
Hobbies: Playing soccer and listening to house music.


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