• Mo Malele

The stories we tell - We are storytellers

This poem was specially written for the Prue Leith Culinary Institute re-launch event held on 12 February 2020. It brings to life the storytelling artistry of food. This is where word porn meets food porn!


We imagine narratives in our sleep

We tell tales on turning tables as we dish up experiences that will show you the world

Have your eyes popping

your mouth watering

and your Instagram followers pepper green with envy


We are storytellers

We are writers of history

And creators of our destiny

The kitchen is our studio

The plate is our canvas

Your palate is our census

Feel free to dig in and taste the narrative

Our dishes don’t stand for censorship

So anyone is welcome to enjoy it,

If you wish, feel free to add to it


We are storytellers

We use different colours and textures

to capture the vanilla essence of our architecture on a human level

Then throw in a bit of cumin so your taste buds can revel

We use shapes and sizes to chronical the lives we have lived in the past

The lives we are living in the present

And the lives we will be living in the future


We are creators

We are comfort makers

We are the softness of forgiveness

We are the melts in your mouth tenderness of love

We are the mix masala of a potjie

The homeliness of a chicken briyani

We are the friendliness of jollof rice

We are the safety of a homemade stew

The universality of a plate of fries

We are the blood passion of red wine

We are advocates of dinning fine

Enjoying time with friends, family and making new connections

We are the enthusiasm of a Saturday afternoon braai

And the hungover brunch that comes with it on Sunday morning


We are storytellers

We are the truth of segregation

And the hope of liberation

The community of globalisation

The melting 3-foot pot of culture and life

We are the one love of dinner parties between friends, family and strangers

We are Christmas, thanksgiving, Shabbat, traditional ceremonies and so much more

We are tears, laughter, joy and sadness

We are time spent apart

And moments together shared

We are breaking bread

We are the thread that binds society

The spread of cultural communality

We are a waterfall of adventures

A tornado of tales

Told on the turning tables of our gas cookers, pots, pans and woks


We are storytellers

The kitchen is our studio

The plate is our canvas

Your palate is our census

Please feel free to dig in and taste the narrative

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