The people in our lives: James Zvinanamo

Nelson Mandela said: “My country is rich in minerals and gems that lie beneath its soil, but I have always known that its greatest wealth is its people, finer and truer than the purest diamonds.”

The Foodbarn Family is a huge part of what makes this business. We would like to acknowledge these gems and introduce the people that we have grown to love.

If you have been for a meal at our Restaurant, you may have met James Zvinanamo. You certainly can’t miss his incredible smile because its always there. James has been here since 2012 when he was forced to leave Zimbabwe to find a way to support his family.

‘I came here to find a way to escape poverty because I was not able to cope as a farmer in Zim, but instead I found my passion at The Foodbarn. He laughs and says: I left poverty to find poverty”. The 100% passion from our chef, Franck and management, awakened in me a keen interest in food. Franck is my hero, I started working here to make money but instead I found happiness and passion”

James now does a little private chef work for friends and family at weddings and small functions.

‘My dream is to now own a small restaurant in Zim where I supply myself with produce that I grow in a sustainable manor so that I can empower and help my community’

What would you say are your favourite dishes from the Foodbarn?

‘The Prawn Tian is my favourite but I also love the Lamb Rack and most of our fish dishes. The fruit gratins are my favourite desserts’

What foods do you miss from Zimbabwe?

‘I miss the grains that are high in healthy carbs like Rapoko, Sourgum and grains similar to sesame seed’

On any given day, you may find James quietly sitting at the juice bar, reading his bible. James says: ‘My relationship with the higher power is what sustains me and allows me to have a wonderful relationship with my wife and three children. James’s wife is a school teacher in Zimbabwe and his children are with her. ‘It is not easy being away from them”

How do you manage to keep a smile on your face?

‘I smile because I love to work with Franck. I am happy to be here. I want to be like Franck and Lilian is like Nedbank, she makes things happen. ‘

How has it been living amongst South Africans as a Zimbabwean?

‘I see South Africa as the as the next Zimbabwe, politically and economically. There is no “oneness”, no support in black society.’

A true gem indeed, James (affectionately known as Chef Jus amongst his peers), is part of a recipe that works and we are truely proud to call him ‘one of ours’.