Pastry chef Motheba Makhetha: a rising star with sweet success


motheba makhetha

Motheba Makhetha, a rising star in the South African culinary scene, is more than just a pastry chef. She’s an artist transforming desserts into unforgettable experiences. Her recent win of the Eat Out Cacao Barry Dessert Award and an inspiring trip to the Cacao Barry® Or Noirtm studio in France has propelled her into the spotlight.

Pushing boundaries

Motheba isn’t afraid to experiment. Her Instagram showcases her playful spirit, with dishes like mushroom panna cotta defying expectations. “Comfort and surprise” are her guiding principles, whether crafting a perfect dessert at home or dazzling diners in a restaurant setting. Motheba’s love for sweets stems from childhood memories of her grandmother’s kitchen magic. It’s a legacy she carries with pride: “Her genes are embedded in me,” she says.

Seasonal produce is her muse. “Beautiful ingredients spark inspiration,” she explains. This philosophy translates to her respect for classic desserts, where she adds a unique touch while maintaining their essence. “I try to stay true to myself,” she says. While embracing trends like those on Instagram and TikTok, she prioritises authenticity. The opportunity to taste a variety of desserts and confections in France allowed Motheba to see the  beauty of “subtlety in sweetness,” leading her to craft smaller, more balanced desserts.

Motheba’s journey began in high school, where baking for classmates was a trademark. “My grandmother’s spirit fuels my passion,” she reveals. Her rise in a male-dominated industry is an inspiration to others. “Women need to stick together and create,” she says, acknowledging the positive shift towards gender equality.

From South Africa to France

Despite international exposure, Motheba remains grounded in her South African roots. Local flavours and techniques seamlessly blend into her creations. The chocolate she made in France was even named ‘Kwena’, meaning ‘crocodile’, and refers to her family totem. Furthermore, the beans for the chocolate originated in Africa – giving an extra special nod to the continent she calls home.

Motheba’s story is an ode to hard work, creativity, and staying true to oneself. It’s a testament to the power of transforming the simple into the extraordinary, one delectable dessert at a time.

Follow Motheba on Instagram @motheba_makhetha for all her exciting updates!

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