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The sound of vegetables being chopped on the wooden boards and olives sizzling in the pan filled the steamy makeshift kitchen at the mayoral residence in Tshwane on Tuesday, 10 March.

Wearing white aprons, the wives and partners of the golfers taking part in the 2015 Tshwane Open were treated to a cooking masterclass by award-winning celebrity chef Fortunato Mazzone and Top Billing presenter Lorna Maseko-Lukhele.

Joining them were City of Tshwane officials and local business women who also rolled their sleeves to show off their skills in the kitchen. And all for a good cause: the food they prepared was neatly packed into lunch boxes and taken to two orphanages, the Sizane Group and Simunye Disability Centre, in Metsweding.

Mayoral Committee Member for Sports, Recreation, Arts and Culture Nozipho Tyobeka-Makeke said that hosting cooking session as part of the build-up to the Tshwane Open was further to promote both the event and the city while giving back to the community.

"It's so important to be able to help out those in need, and having that community bond is something that the city wants," said Tyobeka-Makeke.

Under the guidance of Mazzone, participants were taught how to cook a simple penne dish with minimal ingredients - broccoli, garlic, anchovies and breadcrumbs.

At the same time, Mazzone emphasised the importance of using fresh ingredients produced locally. "Locally produced food is healthier. The shorter the time between the farm and your table, the less likely it is that nutrients will be lost from fresh food."

Mazzone also demonstrated how to peel garlic cloves quickly by crushing them under a knife.

The cooking session was a whirlwind of activity, with participants variously preparing ingredients, frying and sautéing, accompanied by plenty of light banter and laughter.

The participants were also given a salmone on pancetta recipe to plan and execute within an hour. The best dishes were awarded prizes.

Rhone Roos, one of the golfers' wives, described the session as challenging and entertaining. "It was loads of fun, especially when I discovered that we were cooking for the under-privileged," she said. "The unity, atmosphere and the willingness was quite touching."

The session was hosted by the City of Tshwane, the Tshwane Open and the Food Lovers' Market.

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