Small town guy cooks up a storm in a Texan hotel


A young man from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape is making his mark as a chef in one of the luxurious    hotels in Texas, US. Wandile Mabija, 24, who graduated from the Capsicum Culinary Studio, was excited to go overseas for the first time, at the same time sad to leave friends and family behind.

“When I first arrived in [Texas state capital] Austin, it was a bit challenging since I knew nothing about the place and how to go around. “I had to learn which bus to take to get to work. To be honest it was an exciting yet challenging experience. It was my first   time out of South   Africa, so this trip was everything I dreamt of,” said Mabija.

His dream to venture into the international community was made possible through the help of a travel agency. “It was tough to leave my family behind. I have two siblings Thando and Siphesihle – who both study in Port Elizabeth, as well as my dad Mxolisi and my mother Lindelwa. “But it was an opportunity too good to pass up.” Working at the Fairmont Austin Hotel cemented his passion for cooking.

“Cooking has always been my first passion. It was something I really loved and wanted to be involved with in some way. My mother really pushed me and supported me to follow my culinary calling.  I decided to go to one of the open days at the Capsicum Port Elizabeth campus and I fell in love with the school. That’s where my journey began.” Like many young people, one of his dreams is to travel the world   and   marvel at