DJ cooks up a storm

Milli Bala

She’s popularly known for dishing up smashing deep house jams.

But sassy Khayelitsha deep house DJ Milli Bala, has now decided to give her fans a a taste of her cooking skills, having launched her trendy eatery, Al Dente Osteria in Khayelitsha.

The dreadlocked DJ told Vukani that gigs became scarce as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and she needed something to keep the wolf from the door.

Fully aware that it was a risky decision as most businesses were closing, Milli said she nevertheless took a leap of faith.

“I have always been one who believes that the minute you give in to doubt, that’s the spot of weakness for challenges to get a hold of you.

“I had always been happy with just my music alone which I did for a full 10 years without anything else. So when the food passion kept on knocking, I decided to follow my passion,” she said.

These days Milli enjoys nothing more than waking up every day, putting on an apron and dishing up scrumptious meals to her customers.

She then entertains them by playing some of the deep house jams that she’s popularly known for.

Asked why she decided to name her restaurant Al Dente Osteria, Milli said it is drawn from her love for everything Italian.

“I love Italian flair, and the way they just enjoy food in abundance. I find it particularly beautiful, romantic and warm. So the words Al Dente mean cooked just right, with a crunch to the tooth, which mostly refers to pasta and vegetables. That’s how we cook our food. Osteria is also Italian which means a restaurant or space where people share tables,” she said.

She launched her eatery at a time when Covid-19 hit Mzansi shores and admits it hasn’t been plain sailing.

“Covid-19 has been very difficult, on all of us, most especially in the entertainment and hospitality industry which is where I’m both at. All I can say is that I am alive and the business is carrying on simply from the Creator’s blessings and grace,” she said.

Her business has already suffered a break-in, with some of her valuable possessions taken.

But this won’t deter her, Milli said, and her passion is what got her up during that difficult period.