The quintessence of a“Girl Next Door” – Lorna Maseko has captivated South African audiences with her grace, poise, beauty, style and of course, her impeccable culinary skills. With credits such as “first professional ballet dancer of colour” under her fabulous designer belt, Lorna’s career has gone from strength to strength since she stepped in the entertainment industry.
Ubiquitously known as one of the presenters for the lifestyle television program, Top Billing and a globe trotter of note, we were quite surprised Lorna Maseko could spare a minute to welcome us into her luscious world, following her return from the much buzzed about trip to Seville. Located in the South of Spain, the magical city is packed with a rich history, and boasts a plethora of tourist attractions. From the Giralda tower (which is the third largest in the world), to the palace of the Reales Alcàzares and the magical Barrio of Santa Cruz with its narrow streets; not forgetting the aroma of orange blossoms on every corner. It is little to no wonder why Charles Tanqueray chose to use the same aroma to lend a summer vibrancy to his original recipes which now inspires the latest addition to the Tanqueray family.
We recently caught up with the culinary princess about her life as a globe trotter, career plans and her recent partnership with Tanqueray.
Your career has seen you travel all corners of the world! You’ve been to places we could only dream of visiting. Which of the destinations you have been to would you say has been your favourite and why?
One of the best places I’ve been to is Hong Kong, I absolutely loved it because of its modernised culture, food and I love how the economies of the world meet there. Monaco too, this was a total dream come true, I’ve always wanted to go to Monaco “I mean Life in Monaco”.
You recently came back from the highly acclaimed Taste of London Festival where you showed off your impeccable culinary skills. I am pretty sure that moment alone meant quite a lot for your career. Take us through that experience.
Being invited to the Taste of London was absolutely amazing, it all started at World Restaurant Awards, the team that puts that together also puts Taste of London together, that was just a phenomenal experience for me, my cooking demos were sold out before I even started. One is obviously usually nervous because you don’t know the market or know what the people like or if they will be receptive to whom you are, but they were very receptive of me. I got to meet the iconic Yotam Ottolenghi.
The streets have been talking about your partnership with Tanqueray for some time now. How did the relationship with the premium gin brand come about?
The partnership has been a long time coming, I have been a friend of the brand for a long time, I have loved Tanqueray for the longest time. It is an amazing brand, from the craftsmanship of the gin to the passion and dedication and excellence that they put into the making of this gin.
Have you always been a “Gin lady”?
I have always been a Gin lady, give me T & T any day and I’m good!
And now here we are, back from yet another international trip, this time with Tanqueray ahead of the new Flor de Sevilla variant launch. Can you tell us a bit about your experience in Seville, Spain?
Seville, Spain was absolutely beautiful!! I love Spanish food, their culture, architecture… it’s all just so vibrant. The country is absolutely gorgeous and Seville is so quaint and cultural, it’s got pockets of goodness. The weather was amazing, the people were friendly. We visited a food market and I absolutely lost my mind. Did I mention the food was amazing? Seville was an absolutely spectacular experience.
Bitter sweet Oranges from Seville are the main ingredient for the new Tanqueray variant. What has been the key ingredient to your success?
The key ingredients to my success…I don’t think I have reached success as yet. I still want to achieve so much more. I think it’s about being patient, persevering and never giving up on your dreams! It sounds so cliche but being an entrepreneur, in business, within the entertainment space and media industry as well as being a celebrity chef too, may leave you despondent at times when things don’t happen the way you want them to, but the key is to keep knocking at that door and pushing those boundaries and keep going. I always just say “keep it moving” It is the most important thing to keep doing… that is the key ingredient to anyone’s success.
As a custodian for food and travel, what would you say was the highlight of your trip to Seville?
I’ve been to so many places around the world, but with Seville, I didn’t know what to expect. Hearing that your favourite gin brand is working on a new orange-infused variant, and actually going to the farm where the actual they are farmed was quite the experience. The beautiful thing about travel is that it introduces you to so many new things, it opens your eyes… you come back with your passion ignited. The food we ate was absolutely delectable. I think the highlight is that traveling is an eye-opener and you come back a whole new person, you see things in a different way and are inspired to do things differently when you come back home.
3 items you cannot travel without?
I would say, Corenza C, a back Transact pillow and comfy Tracksuit pants.
You started out in the industry as the first black premier ballet dancer. How has that shaped the trajectory of your career?
I think ballet has definitely carved the way I think and has disciplined the perseverance. Essentially, ballet is an art form where you pursue perfection and perfection is never reached. It has given me the chutzpah to work hard and push boundaries. The discipline, the poise. I think all those beautiful things that I may not have appreciated at that time but I see them later on in the years. If I didn’t have the ballet background I don’t think I would be where I am today; those years really grounded me and shaped the person I am today.
Speaking of your tenure in entertainment, you have been at it for over 10 years. What has been your career highlight so far?
Everything I’m doing currently…to name a few, Taste of London, Taste of Dubai, Eat Forum and being part of the Chef’s Manifesto, my cookbook that’s coming out soon which I’m super stoked about…literarily a few weeks away now!
You have successfully built your brand from the ground up; – Ballet dancer, Television presenter/producer, and Chef. Which of these passion points would you say you are most proud of?
I am proud of all my passion points, I think they all fuel something in me, from pitching in boardrooms, cooking in the kitchen and driving business. It all fuels a part of who I am and feeds everything that I need as a human being.
Being in the entertainment industry for as long as you have, how have you managed to remain relevant, given the imminent rise of influencer marketing?
I think staying relevant is key even without the rise of influencers, I think you have to stay relevant in different phases of your life. It’s about keeping it moving, adapting to current trends, what people out there are doing and adapting differently. Carving out your own path.
What’s next for Lorna?
Being Headline Chef at Appetite Fest, which is one of South Africa’s most sought-after Food festivals with major chefs from around the globe cooking alongside myself. Then I have Delicious Fest with my Tanqueray family as well as my book launch which will be done locally and internationally.
According to the brand, the new Flor de Sevilla variant is made from bitter sweet oranges exclusive to the city of Seville. Newest to the Tanqueray family, Lorna and Blue travelled to the straight to the source to get a first-hand experience of the orange farm these Bitter sweet oranges originate from.
As a platform, it has been an absolute pleasure to follow these two beauties’ experience of the ravishing culture of Seville, painting the streets orange in the most fashionable South African designs. Culture, art and design, Seville has certainly captured our hearts.
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