The 23-year-old cook was taught the ins and outs of being a chef by her mum [Courtesy]

Sarah Sandra has a passion for cooking. But that is not all it is to her. She sees it as a way of keeping her late mother’s legacy alive.

The 23-year-old cook was taught the ins and outs of being a chef by her mum.

Sprinkle in lots of self-taught tricks of the trade and some major talent, and we have this budding chef with an online business with lots of potentials.

 The flavour in the chicken and salad is enhanced [Courtesy]

Q What motivated you to start cooking?

Most of my family members are chefs, including my mum. When she passed on in 2016, I wanted to continue with the legacy. Cooking with her had already given me the passion.

Q Did you always want to be a chef?

Yes. I started cooking when I was in Class Five.

Q What is your favourite dish to prepare?

Top on my list is shawarma, then pilau. I also enjoy making chicken dishes.

Q Your shawarma recipe won on The Standard’s/Eve Woman Eats competition recently. How did you come up with the recipe?

I was eating out at a popular restaurant in town and ordered shawarmas.

I was disappointed by the lack of flavour and general blandness and put myself up to the task of making better ones.

Q What is the difference between your shawarmas and those we commonly find at restaurants?

The flavour in the chicken and salad is enhanced. There is a burst of every flavour involved when you dig into the shawarma.

Q What food do you prepare the most at home?

I do catering services. Most of my clients love when I cook pilau. They say it’s different.

 Chef Sarah Sandra's butternut chapati [Courtesy]

Q What would you say is the secret ingredient in most of your meals?

My hands. And my passion. I say that because you can use the same recipes, but people say it still won’t turn out the way they like it.

Q How do you keep healthy and fit while surrounded by delicious food constantly?

I believe many chefs find their joy in cooking for people rather than for themselves. When you asked about my favourite meal to cook, I answered with what my clients love most, pilau.

Q Tell us about your business. 

I run an online catering business (Sandie Burnie’s Delicacies). I cook for my clients at home and deliver. I also cook in the client’s home when they have an event, party, or just like a good home-cooked meal. 

Q Do you feel like you are making your mum proud?

Yes, I do. I feel like she is there with me. When she died, our family restaurant had to close. But now, I am bringing back everything she worked for and taught me.

Q What are your goals and aspirations for the future?

I want to go back to school and study my passion, being a chef. I also want to open up a physical shop where my clients can come to eat.

Shawarma recipe


5 cups home baking flour


Cardamom powder


2 chicken breasts


Black pepper

Ginger garlic paste

Cumin seeds

5 onions, thinly sliced

5 tomatoes, sliced

1 lettuce, stripped

2 yellow, green and red sweet peppers


Bbq (barbecue) sauce

Dijon mustard



Tandoori masala

WC (Worcestershire) sauce

Cooking oil

Dark soy sauce


For the salad, in a bowl add stripped lettuce, sliced tomatoes, onions, dhania, vinegar, mayonnaise, Dijon mustard, honey, salt and pepper then mix and let it cool. For the shawarma wrap, mix water, sugar and yeast in a bowl then add in the flour, cardamom powder and salt then knead and set aside to rise. Marinate your chicken breasts for at least one hour with tandoori masala, soy sauce, salt and pepper, ginger garlic paste, WC sauce and honey. Now heat your pan and add some oil, then place your chicken breasts and set them aside to cool and retain the juices. Take the dough and make flat bread-like chapatis for the fillings with no oil then set aside and cover. Cut the cooked chicken breasts into strips and add the bbq sauce and honey to a bowl. Take the burrito wrap and fill it with the salad and the chicken strips and then wrap it up and cut it in half for easy consumption. Plate it with potato wedges and a cold drink. Enjoy.
 Butternut chapati, Shawarma [Courtesy]

Butternut Chapati recipe


1kg all-purpose flour

Boiled then mashed butternut

Warm water



Cardamom powder

Cooking oil

2 onions, thinly sliced


Fry the onions in two cups of oil. This is to extract the flavour from the onions. When it is cooled, remove the fried onions (you can use them to make stew). In a bowl mix the dry ingredients then add the mashed butternut and knead till it is evenly mixed. Add warm water sparingly as you knead until all the flour is mixed together then add a quarter cup of oil and knead together till soft. Cover with a sugar bag and set aside. Roll the dough on a flat surface then apply the oil to the dough then roll and fold it. Divide into 10 pieces using a knife. Heat your pan, then roll the pieces round and put them on the heated pan. When cooked turn the other side and apply the oil to the cooked side. Repeat step 7 with the other pieces and put them in a hotpot to retain the heat and to keep it soft.