Silu Mhlanga, brains behind fast-rising Mavuso Cakes
By Simbarashe Musaki
INDEED, good chefs are difficult to find and chefs have brands associated with them.
Famous chefs like Zimbabwe’s Silu Mhlanga, the Mavuso Cakes director are influential and popular not only because of their unique and innovative cooking or baking techniques, but for their capacity to create successful brands.
Mhlanga, a female celebrity chef, who is popular like movie stars and popular sport icons has managed to build a name and reputation for herself despite having received no culinary training at all.
The Harare-based 40-years old chef has had a baking passion since childhood. She started baking at the age of 12-years and she was known for her baking affection at her former schools, Nkulumane Primary, Mpopoma High, as well as at tertiary colleges pursuing Advanced Diploma in ICT, BSc Hons in Information Systems at Speciss College and Women’s University, respectively.
She commercialized her talent in 2017 after selling her first cake and from there onwards she did not look back.
Permanently employed in the private sector, Mhlanga, who does not subscribe to cockroach eye’s view saved her salary and bought baking equipment in quest of fulfilling her dream of owning a cake-baking company.
“I have always been a curious child, growing up, and I would be there and watching carefully when my granny was baking Christmas cakes in the three-legged pot. When my turn finally came, I put a twist to granny’s recipe. I started baking professionally four years back and I funded the baking business from my salary savings,” she said.
Inspired by Majelitta ‘The Cake Guru’, Buddy ‘Cake Boss’ and Moira Chirara, Mhlanga who specializes in wedding and birthday cakes, started marketing her products on her social media accounts and her colourful platforms are a ‘foodie heaven’, with mouthwatering food shots.
Since baking good food is not one of the easiest jobs, but actually one of the most creative jobs in the world, she has been trying new recipes such as blue velvet and blueberry as well as using vanilla cake, as the base recipe, as per request of new flavours from her customers.
True essence of beauty and brains, she has opened a one-stop high-quality baking supplies shop in Kwekwe and she also offers baking as well as cake decorating lessons.
Mhlanga is known to have trained other successful chefs in the country.
Her advice and mentorship is a priceless gift to everyone she meets, despite that, she almost lost hope of venturing into the baking business after getting negatives from other business pioneers back then.
“I love trying out new things and the inspiration comes from customers who believe so much in my products and their request for more flavours. I also opened a baking ingredient shop in Kwekwe,” she said.
In demonstrating her social obligation and satisfying a Christian version surrounding donations that a hand which gives more shall receive more than a hand that does not give at all, she occasionally donates her products to children’s homes, churches and friends.
The sky is the limit; her dream is to see Mavuso Cakes growing to become the biggest baking company locally with branches all over the country.