Freedom’s Kitchin is all about putting a smile on their customers’ faces by offering them delicious food and excellent customer service. The founder and owner, Kagiso Sebediela, has always had a passion for food although his journey hasn’t always been clear from the start. An interview we did with Kagiso has shed some insight on his path to creating a successful food brand and food solutions business.
I started cooking in my early child hood years, peeping from my chair at my mom preparing Sunday lunch. I loved to lick clean the custard pot after it was poured out into a dish to cool. Fast forward to my varsity years where I started cooking and then making dinner for 6 house mates at res was what became a culture, an expensive exercise without contributions at the time. I was completing my degree in Biochemistry and Psychology, but I soon realised that the lab wasn’t where I’d end up. After graduating, I enrolled into HTA, a culinary school run by the former president of The South African Chefs Association, all this on a Tiger Brands ED programme.
While still at varsity, a friend and I sold food to our friends on campus. This was a business we started when one Wednesday we tweeted, asking if people would pay for a plate of food @ R30 or whatever the case was at the time. We got an outstanding response and had to produce about 80 plates of food in a dormitory kitchen with a 2-plate stove and an oven.
Freedom was a name given to me at varsity during our orientation at res, the other guy got the “Long Walk” part of the name and boy aren’t I glad. I created a logo using kitchen utensils from our kitchen and in it I had spelt the word “kitchen” incorrectly with the “e” being replaced with an “I” and when asked about it, I just said it was intentional and that’s how we became known as Freedoms Kitchin.
What do you do?
Our core business is broken into 2 components. We do catering offsite, for all functions, events, birthdays, etc. Then the second part of the business concentrates on canteen solutions, a service we sell to corporates looking for external operators for their office canteen, bistro or café.
We also do cooking classes twice a month, called #MIXMASALA, where we combine a cocktails with cooking. It’s become quite a social event. We have been in partnerships with various alcohol brands that allow us to host these fun, social cooking classes.
Another aspect to the business is providing private chefs to households, for families looking for a well finished meal, either once off or on a contractual basis. We call this the CHEF-IN product.
I have a degree, I could have gone and worked but I didn’t want to work for someone else. I had a job in varsity as well as lectures and had to wake up early which was always a struggle for me. My job was as a behavioral therapist doing one-on-one therapy with children on the autism spectrum. I enjoyed it, but it was very demanding and took a lot from me.
My passion has always been food. Cooking is the only thing I didn’t mind waking up for in the early hours of the morning.
I remember a time when a friend and I had to wake up at 5am to go to down town to procure stock for the Sunday lunches we were preparing, I mean we prepped and cooked from 7am to about 8pm that Sunday. It was exhausting but the satisfaction from that was greater than anything else I had ever done, and I decided that was it.
Recently, I just helped open a restaurant in Lanseria, called Thrive for Good. It is a beautiful location with awesome scenery and the perfect place to host outdoor functions.
I have also started looking to branch out into chef-ware clothing. It is still new although I do wear the merchandise to the classes and on a food series that will be coming out soon.
The food series is called Simmer Thyme. Myself and 94.7’s radio DJ, Mantsoe Pout, interview celebrities or people of interest about their food experience growing up and we try and create their dishes the way the remember them or give them a completely new experience of their beloved ingredients. We have partnered with Eetrite, who provide us with unbelievable cooking equipment. It’s a very exciting little project and it should be coming out on Youtube in a couple of weeks.
You have to eat, you don’t have a choice, but it’s up to you to decide whether what you eat is good or bad.
As I mentioned earlier, I am looking into producing branded chef clothing and Andiswa Mdletye, Creative and Operations Director of eYami Fashion, and we have discussed the possibility of working together. By taking my idea of what chef apparel should look like and combining this with her ability to actually create it, we can collaborate and hopefully, both benefit.
Another Co.Spacer, Arch-Live Architects, have been in talks with us regarding a new concept of dining in a rustic environment like an unfinished house. There are 2 other chefs that were previously in Co.Space who will be assisting us as well. One of them is more focused on deserts and the other is a vegan chef which is pretty great considering the lack of experienced vegan chefs in the industry. The idea still speaks to a level of beauty that can then be expressed through the food as well as the architecture.
Co.Space just made sense at the time. It offered me the opportunity to move into a kitchen unit that was zoned correctly and had the already installed benefits. It is very central to my business base and that made the decision a lot easier. The catering industry is not your normal 9-5 job. So the 24 hour access is a definite added bonus for my business. It was ready and available and fit my business.
Being at Co.Space has allowed me to grow my business and collaborate with other entrepreneurs in the community. Entrepreneurs are like-minded in that they are looking for opportunities to expand and explore and being around other entrepreneurs helps see things from a different perspective.
Advice for other entrepreneurs
Owning your own business isn’t easy. If you do what you love it can make it a lot more manageable to deal with the issues and get through tough times. Prepare yourself for the sacrifice and don’t be scared to ask for advice if you need it. Nothing happens over night. It can be a long journey to success but with commitment and a little perseverance, anything is possible.
If you would like to know more about Kagiso and his self-built Freedoms Kitchin, contact him via:
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