Hannetjie Joubert knows everything about beating, whipping, mixing, separating, sprinkling and sieving, and is happiest when she can cook up a storm in the kitchen.

Hannetjie cooks up a storm

“I always say that I was born to cook – I have literally cooked since I was two years old, standing on a Coke crate next to my mother.”

This is what top chef, writer of recipe books and NWU alumna Hannetjie Joubert says.


The wooden crate was stored under the table, because the next time her mother, Cecilia Schutte, cooked, Hannetjie would be back on the crate next to her.


“My dad always said that I would burn myself and that I was making a mess, but my mother allowed it. I am still grateful to her, but when I took something to my dad for him to taste, he always said it tasted good,” she says.


“After 40 years I am still very interested in cooking and I cannot get enough of it, or stop learning new things. Something like this is just a gift from above and I thank Him for this God-given talent.


“I  am a foodie, and will always remain one in my heart, because this is who I am.”The three recipe books that Hannetjie has published show her commitment, passion and love of cooking. They are Braaitreffers, Bottel en gebruik and Só kook mens.


Large oaks from little acorns grow


She matriculated in 1970 at the Potchefstroom Gymnasium, where she was in the hostel, and from 1971 to 1974 she studied home economics at the former Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education. After that she studied at the Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Johannesburg, where she completed the advanced course.


Hannetjie then worked for Woolworths for 10 years and was a technical manager at Pick ’n Pay’s head office in Johannesburg for another 10 years, where she did product development with their food factories across the country. She worked closely with a London-based consulting firm that also consulted for Marks & Spencer.


Expert braai ladies are the best


In 1982, Hannetjie and her mother were the first and only women to become the South African braai champions of the prestigious Kellerprinz braai competition. “That landed us in full colour on the front page of the Rapport newspaper.”


Her next challenge was another outdoor braai contest, the "Tuis-met-mielies-en-vleis" competition of the Maize and Meat boards. Hannetjie won second place for her first attempt, and first place in the following year.


“As a result of these competitions, to this day I still offer braai classes to men. And needless to say my recipe book, Braaitreffers, covers exactly this knowledge and experience.”


Making a difference


“I also still do cooking training. My focus has shifted a bit in the sense that, apart from my usual training, I want to train as many domestic workers as possible, as well as women in squatter camps. I firmly believe in the saying, ‘teach somebody and change a life forever’.”


Hannetjie says she really enjoys doing consulting work for businesses. “I can apply my experience of many years to their businesses. Sometimes I have developed complete menus for them. This work also takes me to places all over the country.”


Cooking power food


In the beginning she cooked more formal, sophisticated dishes, she says, but today the style of her food is more informal and robust. She calls it wholesome cooking – food that looks great and is full of flavour.


Her advice to people who believe they can’t cook is to keep to their own style and cook what works for them. “Do not try and copy others or compare yourself to them. The internet is a vast source of knowledge where you could find a lot of information – use it to your advantage.”


Hannetjie says she still does a lot of research and studies recipes to make mouth-watering baked goods such as cakes, scones, muffins, breads, hot cross buns and even old-fashioned mosbolletjies.


“Therefore I would say that my love lies here – to not only make food, but to eat it too.”

The NWU & U


Please send us your comments, suggestions and any other contributions you would like to make, for instance photographs or news snippets.


We value your opinions and input – after all, the NWU & U belongs to us all.






Next Article

previous article



more info

Cook for later


With the many time demands of modern life and long working hours, there is a great need to prepare affordable food with very little effort. Hannetjie’s cook book, Só kook mens, is based on the principle of “chain cooking”.


This means preparing more food than is needed and then freezing the rest for later use. These meals can then be eaten as is or changed into something totally different.


Various recipes give you the opportunity to create new taste adventures from your day-to-day cooking. The microwave becomes your best friend and the importance of home freezing is emphasised.


NWU & U  |

NWU & U  |