I recently posted about this restaurant because my family went to eat there to celebrate my mother’s birthday and they were so pleased with the food I thought it deserved a mention. I contacted the executive chef of Mma Africa and she agreed to answer a few of my questions.
Meet Mma G…
Who is behind Mma Africa and when was Mma Africa established?
Mma Africa…well that is me. Gerda van Graan-Scholey. I have been in the industry for well over 25 years and as a chef I always looking out for new challenges. I am very passionate about food, people and art. So I decided to combine all of that into one concept. A modern, state of the art, beautiful restaurant. The name “Mma Africa”??? Well I have been known in Botswana almost 9 years as “ Mma G” and thought it was apt to call the restaurant Mma Africa. It also symbolizes the woman that prepares and cooks the food in the homes. And it is synonymous with Africa. It has an open kitchen where the public can view the preparation of the dishes and can visually participate with the chefs. A very clean, open and hygienic restaurant. A very unique African Botswana restaurant.
Why did you decide to open in Francistown?
The concept – well, when I returned to Botswana in 2010 I looked at various options for a restaurant in Francistown. I was approached by the owners of the new Loja Mall in regard to opening a restaurant….and voila….this where the whole brain storming, planning and conception started. So yes, I am the “behind” Mma Africa. I wanted to design a restaurant so unique to Francistown and Botswana that will give the local market exposure and experience of an International restaurant. With the building, planning, designing of menus, staff training and all the purchases behind us, we opened our doors on the 27thJuly 2011. And what an opening!!
I have to note: 95% of the restaurant equipment was purchased in Francistown and the rest South Africa and Gaborone. All our plates are the finest china: Maxwell & Williams, the utensils fine-dining exclusivity. I want the public to experience the finest in International & Traditional Cuisine, superb quality food and excellent service. Also, that I am active as Executive Chef with my other chef’s in the kitchen. Not behind closed doors or always on vacation. We are always here for the public, to serve the best in food and service. The training of all staff is hands-on by me, on a daily basis and I have to say that we have the best in Francistown. We are already in the planning stages of franchising to Kasane and Maun in the year 2013.
The decision to open in Francistown was sole based on the fact that all the restaurants are in Gaborone and Francistown seemed to always be the “last thebe thought in the bucket”. I decided that it is about time that Francistown is put on the map. Also there is so much talent in Francistown and I wanted to give them the opportunity to become great chefs and the best waitrons. You see I believe that being a waitron is also a profession, not just a “casual” job.
What have been the major challenges so far?
Major challenges….not many. I am always optimistic!!!! I would say, getting the public to accept this whole new way of restaurant in Francistown. I have been in this industry too long, I know by now what goes and what not. But we have won the public over. After a year, no liquor license yet, but it will be any day now.
Where did you learn your love of cooking?
Grandma….that huge kitchen with the coal stove…at the age of 5. Remembering, that she always allowed me to stir or taste and …of course taste the last bit of the cake mixture in the bowl. She had an enormous vegetable garden and I used to go with her on the daily pickings. She taught me how to see a ripe tomato and taste it. She taught me to smell. She taught me all the basics. And then there was the Sunday lunch…oh my word that was a lot of cooking for a lot of people!!! Still to date, I still use her measurements for catering in large groups and of course quite a few of her recipes.
What is your favorite dish to make?
Favorite dish???………..everything is my favorite. I design recipes, so everything I make is unique.
What other services do you offer e.g cooking classes? event catering? etc
We also offer outside catering for weddings, funerals, company functions and private parties. Once a month there is a “Theme evening” and of course Sushi on order and Spanish Tapas. I would very much like to offer cooking classes, but that is a project still in the making.
There are a few projects we are working on, such as “Chef of the Year” where we want to encourage everyone out there that has a Passion for food to enter this competition. Botswana has untapped local talent and we would like to put them on the fore front to become excellent chef’s and for others to follow.
What can customers look forward to when they come to your restaurant?
Mma Africa is a Restaurant for the people, to enjoy great food with good friends. Our motto for Mma Africa!!!! A fresh selection of Hearty, soul warming foods that will appeal to the eye as well as the palate! New, seasonal menus is offered as a change of pace, to those that want something different. As always, everything on our menus is prepared to order by our highly trained chefs, using only the finest and freshest ingredients available…..
Fruits, Herbs and Vegetables fresh from the local markets
Seafood, the freshest and finest
Always the finest meat from the local producers
All sauces are home-made, using only fresh and the best ingredient
Our food is never frozen or mass produced.
Each dish is made to order.
Visit Mma Africa at LOJA Mall, Somerset East, Francistown, Botswana. Stop by for lunch or dinner and treat yourself to delicious mouth watering food!
Contact them on (+267) 2406276 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and like their Facebook page!