Chefs share culinary ‘hand-me-downs’ from their beloved mothers

Butter biscuits. Picture: Supplied

Butter biscuits. Picture: Supplied

Published May 3, 2024


If you are still stumped about what to serve mom for brunch or dinner this Mother's Day weekend, stop stressing and let the pros guide the way.

You may not be able to treat the woman in your life to an over-the-top experience at her favourite restaurant in person, but that does not mean you cannot whip her up a chef-approved meal at home.

We asked four chefs about what their mothers used to cook for them and below us what they had to say.

Banoffee ice cream bars. Picture: Supplied

Banoffee ice cream bars by Zakhele Ndlozi of Sibaya Casino & Entertainment Kingdom.

“Growing up, bananas were a staple in our household. The first time we saw banoffee pie being made on the BBC Food Channel, I was in culinary school.

“Intrigued, I gave it a try, and it instantly became a favourite of my mother's. So, I decided to get creative and turned it into ice cream bars,” said Ndlozi.

Yields: 8


500ml cream

2 tins of condensed milk

2 tsp vanilla essence

1 tin caramel treat

3 bananas

250g coconut biscuits (crushed roughly)

100g almonds (chopped and toasted)

200g milk chocolate (melted)

1 tbsp castor sugar


To create the ice cream, whip cream, condensed milk, and vanilla essence together until soft peaks form.

Pour half the whipped cream into a silicone container, making the first layer.

In a separate bowl, soften the caramel treat and spoon it randomly into the first layer of whipped cream.

Add chopped bananas, crushed biscuits, and chopped almonds, and repeat to make a second layer.

Lastly, take a skewer, make a marble effect, and set it in the freezer overnight.

Pop out the ice cream and slice it into bars using a knife dipped in hot water for ease.

On a plate layer the ice cream bars, drizzle melted chocolate over the top, finish off with crushed biscuits and flaked almonds and brulé banana.

To brulé a banana: Peel, cut it in half sprinkle castor sugar over, and place under the oven grill until caramelised.

Gibanica. Picture: Julija Sapic

Gibanica by Slobodan Stefancic of the Radisson Blu Hotel Sandton.

Stefancic said growing up in Croatia, he has fond memories of his mother making him Gibanica in the summertime.

“My mom would typically make it on a Saturday and serve it with a light side salad. The best part was waking up on Sunday morning, knowing that we could devour any gibanica leftovers for breakfast.

“This is just one of those dishes that takes me back to my childhood, it is the simplicity of the meal that resembles a time when things were easy, laid back, and carefree,” he said.


4 eggs

400ml yoghurt – Greek (double thick natural)

50g chives, finely chopped

100ml olive oil extra virgin

500g chunky cottage cheese

Salt & pepper to taste

50g butter

500g phyllo pastry


Place the eggs in the mixing bowl, and add the yoghurt, finely chopped chives, and 40 ml of olive oil. Whisk until properly mixed.

In the same bowl add the cottage cheese, mix, or fold in with the fork. It needs to have a slightly chunky texture. Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Use a glass or metal baking dish approximately 30 cm x 25 cm and butter it.

Preheat the oven to 180°C

Place one sheet of phyllo pastry in the dish and brush generously with the olive oil, then place another sheet on top.

Pour the cheese filling into the baking dish (1cm thick)

Rip 2-3 sheets of phyllo and scatter on top of the cheese mixture.

Place another sheet of phyllo on top and pour more of the cheese mixture on.

Repeat until the cheese mixture is finished. Top it with ripped phyllo pieces.

Drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown

Remove from the oven, slice into the squares and enjoy. It is delicious hot and cold.

Butter biscuits. Picture: Supplied

Butter biscuits by Sean Granger of Granny Mouse Country House & Spa.

Granger said this recipe has not only been taught to him by his mother but is one that she learned from her mother, his grandmother.

He said this is one recipe that has always been the centre of every family function, from birthdays to weddings and even his school bake day sales.


250g butter (can be substituted with margarine)

1 cup of Icing sugar

½ cup of sunflower or canola oil (other oils not suggested)

1 cup of corn flour or maizena

3 cups of cake or all-purpose flour


Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Add butter and icing sugar to a bowl or mixer and mix until creamy and smooth.

Add in oil and mix until combined.

Mix in corn flour or maizena until well incorporated.

Add in cake or all-purpose flour and mix until a smooth, non-sticky dough is formed.

Roll into small balls, lay out onto a tray with enough space between each ball, and press down lightly with your palm or with a fork.

Bake for 15 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly golden brown.