And she will bring all that to the table at this year’s DStv Delicious Food and Music festival.
The Siba’s Table host will be joined by Masterchef SA chef Benny Masekwameng, Jenny Morris and English chef Rachel Khoo.
But cooking in front of critical onlookers and admiring fans doesn’t intimidate Mntongana.
“I’m not nervous at all,” she says. “I love cooking for people. Cooking isn’t just about the food, it’s also about the atmosphere in which it’s made. People always create a great atmosphere.”
Mntongana plans to make a red Thai curry paste with salmon as her interpretation of a great fish dish.
“I chose this dish because it’s simple yet bold because it’s rich with flavour,” she says. But the “star ingredient” as she calls it, is the salmon.
“I love salmon, but I’m always apprehensive about tampering with it too much because it’s such a delicate fish.”
Mntongana also plans to present her trifle. Her take on this traditional South African Christmas dessert doesn’t need to be put it in the fridge to set overnight. Once made, it’s ready to eat.
The key is the absence of jelly. Instead of the usual ingredients, it contains cream cheese, yoghurt, thin slices of a Swiss roll and a berry sauce. Mntongana says she uses ready-made custard. “Nobody has time to make custard anymore, and the store-bought custard is just as good.”
Apart from her approachable personality and interesting take on traditional food, Mntongana hopes to bring an element of simplicity to this year’s festival.
“Sometimes as chefs we tend to over-complicate things,” she notes.