Thabisho Sechogela was one of three winners in the Ladles of Love Realise a Dream youth competition last year.
Since then, the young chef and founder of Kasi Kusine has gone on to cook for the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s family and British entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson.
On Saturday 5 March, Kasi Kusine had its first food tasting experience next to Makers Landing at the V&A Waterfront.
Sechogela says he specialises in modernising local African food.
Since winning the competition Sechogela was offered an incubation at Makers Landing, and after graduating he is now operating his food service from its industrial kitchen.
In an effort to reduce youth unemployment, food security non-profit organisation (NPO) Ladles of Love launched the Realise a Dream (RAD) competition for young food producing entrepreneurs (“Cooking up business opportunities”, People’s Post, 8 June 2021).
The competition aims to help young, experienced local chefs or food artisans who dream of owning or growing their own business by providing training, mentorship and prizes to them.
Sechogela says winning the competition helped saved his business and helped him gain confidence in his brand.
“Being a winner of the RAD competition helped me a lot because I managed to bring my business to where it is at the moment. The competition saved my business from closing down. In the whole of December we catered for the Desmond Tutu family a few days before his funeral and the Richard Branson family as well.”
Danny Diliberto, Ladles of Love founder, said he is proud to see how far Sechogela has come.
“When choosing the winner I knew Thabisho was going to be one of them, with his attitude, his drive and his passion for cooking as well as his passion to bring a fusion of food. So I knew he would go a long way.
“He was struggling with his business at the beginning, holding down two jobs, but now you see he is putting all his focus into it and it’s awesome to see.”
Diliberto said this year the RAD programme and competition will include both food entrepreneurs and agripreneurs with active businesses that have been producing food for 12 months and more.
He said RAD’s aim is to empower everyone who enters. “I am finding with all these guys the biggest challenge is business acumen. They have the passion for what they do, but don’t understand money and how one needs to work with it.
“I think that is why RAD is really important. It gives them more business sense and awareness.”
Alison McCutcheon, marketing director for Ladles of Love, said: “What we want to do with all our finalists this year is to put them through a week of workshops to teach them some of the fundamental things of business, and then the winners will move forward into a mentorship programme.”
V The RAD programme and competition call for entries go live on Friday 18 March at on www.ladlesoflove.org.za