Mbulelo Mpofu, Showbiz Reporter
VICTORIA Falls’ own resident funnyman, Carl Joshua Ncube has spearheaded a drive to promote food tourism in Zimbabwe and through his recipe book Chikafu, the comedian has managed to lure one of the biggest food review shows in the world.
Carl has been there, done that and from a boy who did not have a fixed address, a man who lived in a tent with his wife to a global megastar of comic proportions, he fits the bill of arguably one of the best comedians and celebrity chefs in the precinct.
Comedy Central Africa dubbed him, “The funniest comedian Zimbabwe’s ever produced” and that speaks volumes to the immense contribution he has had on the growing stand-up comedy industry in the country but lately, he has beefed up his culinary self.
The comedian is not new to the big screen, but his culinary skills led to the host of popular gastronomic YouTube channel, Best Ever Food Review Show (BEFRS) paying a courtesy call in January this year.
BEFRS’s host, American filmmaker Will “Sonny Side” Sonbuchnera, and his production crew toured Carl’s residence and parts of the resort city to learn more about Zimbabwe’s food and culture in general and from the tour, an excerpt was to be produced and aired on YouTube.
This was part of a tour to Egypt, Tanzania and Zimbabwe that Sonny Side and his crew would embark on to ascertain how Africans live.
As per promise, two months after the shoot, the trailer of the episode was uploaded to the channel on Tuesday. It laid bare how Zimbabweans live their daily lives, something which intrigued Sonny. Dressed in his trademark headgear, a red bandana, Sonny was in his usual, contagiously jovial self as he was chauffeured and chaperoned around.
Sonny also tried his culinary skills with isitshwala and was taught a little bit of ChiShona as part of his learning in Zimbabwe.
He also got to sample delicacies like izinhlwa.
Narrating his trip, Sonny described Zimbabwe as, “breathtaking” and he did what Zimbabweans do during his tour which started in Harare and culminated in Victoria Falls.
Spearheading the tour was Carl Joshua Ncube who was blown away by the visit and was happy to feature in the video that would take Zimbabwe’s culture and cuisine to another level.
The BEFRS crew which is based in Vietnam jetted into the country in January and visited the comedian at his residence in a village between the Victoria Falls Airport and a town called Ntabayengwe. Together with Sonny and crew, Carl cooked at Mai Garis restaurant at a local growth point called Lupinyu, opposite the airport. From his Chikafu recipe book, Carl cooked a pig’s head that was served with inkobe.
Reflecting on this experience Carl’s manager, his wife Nelsy said: “It was fantastic, Carl really enjoyed it because he’s always been passionate about speaking about the African story. Nothing is more African than our food.
Not just talking about basic things about our food, but showing someone from another country that we actually do have a cuisine.
“That’s one of the things that Carl has been pushing so he had fun showcasing our ingredients and food to someone who’s been travelling around the world featuring different food,” Nelsy said.
She said Sonny was a very interesting person that Carl related well to.
“Carl understood him as he was keen to learn about our cooking.”
The award-winning show which explores many different cuisines around the world was created by Sonny Side and its first episode was uploaded in 2015. Sonny Side is a globetrotter who has eaten in more than 10 countries with Zimbabwe making part of that list as well as he visited Carl last month.
Carl himself is not new to travelling the world too and he has taken Zimbabwean comedy internationally.
His recipe book that was featured on Sonny’s show consists of a century of Zimbabwean traditional recipes as well as 25 cocktail recipes.
Being featured on BEFRS bodes well with Carl as he has been pushing rural tourism in recent history after leaving the hustle and bustle of city life to live a somewhat recluse life, cooking and writing books.
The chef is currently in Bulawayo for three months of what he calls, “Carl’s beef with Bulawayo”.
“I came to Bulawayo to collaborate with one of my biggest sponsors in my career — Carne Casa. The idea is to unlock the tourism potential of the Bulawayo business by making it a tourist attraction.
I hope to work on the systems of the restaurant that stand out from a branding perspective, recipe development, customer experience, lateral integrations and sustainability practices in their procurement that is working with local farmers and really making sure to put Bulawayo first in how we train and develop our staff,” said Ncube.
The trailer of the Zimbabwean food review episode that already has close to half-a-million views was an instant hit with Zimbabweans as a lot reacted to it.
“Finally, Sonny is in my country Zimbabwe. I can’t wait for you to show everyone our beautiful country with its friendly people and cuisine. I have been following your channel for the past three years and I’m a huge fan, I absolutely love it!” said Tapiwa Mukarati on the comments section.
Another fan, Caledon said he is grateful for the recognition.
“As a Zimbabwean, I’m thankful that you’re giving us recognition. I have been watching you for a year now,” said Caledon.
One Tabeth Mutingwende said she was happy to see the showcase of her country.
“Oh wow! I am so glad a You Tuber like Sonny has finally shown my country, Zimbabwe’s diverse food, culture and way of life, village life and all those cool spots with authentic cuisine,” she said. – @eMKlass_49.
Article Source: The Chronicle