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Food

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For a lot of people, cooking is a chore while for others, it is their love language and a thoughtful expression of their love. For Mozambican entrepreneur, Aasiyah Ravate, cooking is a passion turned business venture. Founder of Home Cooking With Love, every meal she makes are a delicious hit made with lots of love for her customers.

Aasiyah Ravate is a 22-year-old CEO and founder of Home Cooking With Love. She is also a year 4 student of dentistry. She has a great passion for cooking, and during the pandemic she reinvented herself and created her business, Home Cooking With Love. During the past six months, she has been serving her snacks to agencies, banks, and thousands of people in her city.

Aasiyah’s business celebrates the concept of homemade food, which makes people travel for flavors without leaving home and without needing a visa. Her business specializes in traditional Indian food, Italian food, fast food and desserts.

Aasiyah was inspired to start her business by her mother who was both a fighter and a warrior and taught her to fight for her dreams. “I have a passion for cooking. I am still struggling to achieve my dream of opening a restaurant. I was also inspired to start my business to help my mother because she was always a mother and father to me and my brother, she deserves the best.”

On her entrepreneurial journey, Aasiyah confirms that at first it was very difficult, because she had no idea how to own and run a business. Her mother helped her invest, and with time she gained experience. These experiences have in the long run, taught her to be a better entrepreneur.

Her biggest satisfaction as a food entrepreneur is her client’s happiness when they taste her food, and the thoughtful feedback she gets from her customers.

She advises young women to trust in themselves, be faithful, believe in their dreams, and fight for them no matter your age. In her words, “be strong and fight for your business, do not let anyone put you down. Believe in your potential and in the potential of your company. Hear the voice of your heart and make your way from it. I am sure that in the future, you will have the professional satisfaction you deserve!”

 

It is interesting how you can build a business out of the most basic things you do in your personal life. For Kátia, her idea to earn a living by making edible bouquets came when she first made one to encourage her eldest daughter to eat more fruits. And just like most of us, Kátia decided to take a photo of of it before her daughter started eating and shared with her friend who posted the picture on Facebook. People became interested in it and asked who made it and that very day, Kátia got her very first order and customer for her edible bouquets. And like they say, the rest is history.

Kátia Agy, known as a singer and TV presenter, and now, the founder of Food Lounge Mz. Her business is focused on making edible bouquets using fresh fruits and chocolates. For the past 7 years, this business has been the main source of income for Kátia, and now also her three employees.

What inspired Kátia to begin this business was the desire to become independent, and to be able to work from home to be close to her daughters. She was also inspired by the love she has for making, creating and decorating food, especially for being able to transform a plate of fruit or a simple chocolate into something interesting that grabs the attention of those who are going to eat it.

Kátia simple turned her passion into business.

She gets maximum pleasure with each bouquet creation. Indeed, The Food Lounge Mz has found a way to make people eat fruits and chocolates and get maximum pleasure and happiness from doing it. Making a bouquet to be devoured by someone is a huge responsibility and the amazement and satisfaction on the face of the recipients are constant sources of celebration. They simply sell happiness through their explosion and mixture of flavors!

For Kátia, her satisfaction as an entrepreneur comes from having more control of her time, freedom to imagine and create a concept. Also, being able to help her clients get the best gift for their loved ones and lastly, seeing her clients recommend her to other people.

For women who wish to, or are already starting a business, her advice is: Do not stop! Do what you have to do, trembling, afraid, but don’t give up. Cultivate your dreams with the same claw that is characteristic of women in all other aspects of life! Do not listen to those who consider your business without wings to fly, because even the eagle had several falls before it managed to fly high. Remember to pray, believe, work with discipline, stay focused and make it happen. It is in your hands.

For all those cooks who want to bring extra flavour into their meals, mi butter, founded by entrepreneur Vhongani Shumba in South Africa has the answer in a jar.

Vhongani is the founder and CEO of mi butter SA, founded in 2016, a proudly local woman-led company introducing the market to the world of flavoured butters.

She is a marketing and brand manager by day and small business developer by night. Vhongani has brought her company to life by her own hard work and tenacity, and today is involved in the daily operations of the business, providing strategic insights and ensuring that the quality of mi butter meets customers’ expectations.

MI Butter blends butter with herbs, spices, extra virgin oil, roasted garlic and other flavourings.

One of the great things about the butters is that they make your meal preparation easier. The seasoning has already been done for you; it’s all in the butter so you can keep your dishes simple.

Vhongani uses glass bottles that are recyclable to package the products as her own way of assisting in the reduction of SA’s carbon footprint. For every empty mi butter bottle returned, their customers get R2.00 off their next purchase of mi butter.

For Vhongani who describes herself as “an entrepreneur at heart”, her greatest satisfaction as an entrepreneur doesn’t come from the profits generated from the sales of her products but rather, the joy that comes from doing that which makes her happy and doesn’t feel like work. That’s how she explains her feelings when she is blending her butters.

This is why she advises all intending women entrepreneurs to find that which makes them happy because they will sleep less, earn less money, and work very hard. She implores them to have deep love for whatever business they decide to do.

What qualifies you as an entrepreneur is how much solutions you’re willing to deploy to the current existing problems in your immediate environment.
This is what Monica Musonda did with her food company, Java Foods. She realized that in Zambia, people do not eat right and feed well despite how big the agricultural sector of Zambia is. She set out to ensure that her people are able to access nutritional and healthy food through her innovation and processing of healthy plant-based foods.

Monica Musonda is founder and Chief Executive Officer of Java Foods, a Zambian based food processing company. It is committed to providing high quality and nutritious food from local products at affordable prices. Java Foods’ first product was “eeZee Instant Noodles”, which is Zambia’s leading instant noodle brand today. Monica is a dual qualified English solicitor and Zambian advocate. She has held senior positions in private practice with Clifford Chance & Edward Nathan.

She has also worked as in house corporate counsel at International Finance Corporation and for Dangote Group. Her experience working with Aliko Dangote, one of Africa’s most successful entrepreneurs, gave her the impetus to start Java Foods.

Monica founded Java Foods to provide affordable nutrition to the southern African market. Her company seeks to revolutionize the eating habits of the youth market by offering them affordable and nutritious food options made from local products.

Her food company was born out of the need to provide mothers of children under five years of age multiple options of nutritious foods to choose from. Not only that, she also works to make sure they are affordable and available for every one, regardless of their economic differences.

As part of the challenges she has faced as an entrepreneur, she explained in her words, “When you are an entrepreneur, another of the challenges is to keep going when you encounter hurdles and when the going gets tough – it is not easy. At these times, there is a human tendency to want to panic, and as an individual you question whether you can do this, whether you can see the business through to its full potential and to a level that people expect of you. Even when you are growing as a business, there is a fear and a doubt that remains, and you are almost afraid of your own success. In recent times when Zambia was going through its depreciation, I personally experienced doubt in such times, but I felt that despite the challenges, it was too soon to give up. I found great people I could speak with, both men and women, but I found that particularly other women were interesting to engage with in order to get feedback on how they manage to balance the pressures of expanding a business with maintaining their own personal and family lives. Often, I found it so worthwhile to engage with other women and get their insights and hear their own experiences in similar circumstances. The great thing was that I heard from other women entrepreneurs that the experiences I was going through were normal and that despite the challenges, the journey would be worth it and the challenges got over in time. So now as I move forward with the next phase of my own entrepreneurial journey, I am interested to speak to more women who are doing similar things in business, as their insight is really useful. In the past, I have had more male mentors, but now a combination of perspectives is refreshing. Today, I hear from so many other women entrepreneurs that they have gone through similar experiences on their business building journeys and have successfully come out the other side of many challenges – this is always reassuring to hear.”

Best advice?… “Firstly I would say, don’t be afraid to start. I think we find in Africa that women carry so many things, they have so many great ideas, but often are afraid of starting. The point is that you are not going to build a factory on day one, but you can start small with what you can manage – the idea is to just start.

Great meals go beyond having excellent culinary skills or knowing how to mix ingredients or spices to achieve great taste. It involves ensuring the cooking ingredients used are healthy enough for consumption. This is why Adanne Uche, a graduate of Foreign Languages and Literature, started Ady’s Food Mart in 2017 to improve nutrition and help consumers stay healthy and also ensure families and catering companies have healthy options of cooking ingredients to use for their meals.

Adanne was inspired to venture into this line of business when she observed the overwhelming influx of adulterated food ingredients and spices in the market and its effects on the health of its consumers. This is why she saw a need to process and package healthy food ingredients and spices for consumers in Nigeria and Africa, where healthy African dishes are appreciated.

It has been a rollercoaster but something I am confident in saying is that we have scaled to become a household name.

With no previous knowledge in entrepreneurship. Adanne started her first business after the birth of her first daughter, but having no entrepreneurial skills it failed after 2 years. She started another business after a year, it still did not work, that is until she found something she really enjoys doing and that is cooking.
So she decided to cook and do something that could give her joy and at the same time pay her a salary.

Ady’s Food Mart was birthed with a N30,000 loan from her brother. She decided to solve food adulteration problems starting with Palm Oil, then grew to other food ingredients and a world of spices, where they process, package and distribute healthy spices to families in Nigeria.

From her journey and experience, the simple piece of advice she can give to anyone is “Find your passion that can get you paid, study it, look for someone that has done it before you, learn from them, run with it, and be resilient.”

Passion is one of the key ingredients to building any successful business and brand. And, in the world of artisan chocolate making, it is one of the Savanna Premium Chocolate brand’s strongest assets, thanks to founders Chiinga Musonda and Lynn Musonda Phiri.

Chiinga Musonda – Savanna Chocolate

Chiinga has previously worked in banking with JP Morgan Chase and UBS in NYC. Most recently, she worked with the scientific publisher / information services provider Elsevier in The Netherlands. She also has an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BA in Economics and in Computer Science from Smith College in the USA.

Lynn Musonda – Savanna Chocolate

Lynn, the second half of the company, previously worked for the Zambia Telecommunications company. She is currently pursuing an MBA in International Business and has a BA with honors in Business Studies with Marketing from University of Greenwich.

These two sisters have a tracked record of different previous work settings, but nothing beats the passion which drove them to produce chocolates. The pleasure they derived from eating chocolates right from childhood and also the joy on the faces of loved ones when gifted chocolates were enough to fuel their passion and kickstart the journey.

Savanna Chocolate Products


Today, we have Savanna Chocolates because two sisters in love with chocolates decided to recreate the standard in Zambia.

As expected from an Indigenous manufacturing company, the duo absolutely love the support they are getting from the Zambian community. Chiinga and Lynn learned pretty quickly that this is not about them manufacturing chocolate in their beloved country, Zambia but that they are building a Zambian brand and the people want to engage with the brand in help to make it the best it can be.

The invaluable feedback received from their community has helped them improve in packaging designs and even in the chocolate flavors.
The excitement they get when their customers purchase their products and then share their feedback on social media cannot be contained as these positive feedback in turn motivates them to keep improving their products.

Savanna Premium Chocolate
Chocolate letters, a product of Savanna Premium Chocolate

They take pride in the fact that their chocolates are made from carefully selected single origin cocoa beans to preserve the flavors of the country of origin. They are constantly improving on their chocolate making process to ensure that consumers get premium quality chocolates.

What makes their chocolates different from others is that they sell handcrafted chocolates and chocolate products that are made from natural ingredients with no artificial flavors, no artificial colors, and no preservatives.

“Start before you are ready”. If you have a business idea, don’t wait until you feel you are ready. Just start and with every step that you make, it will become clear what you need to do and you will learn what needs to be done. The product or service may not be perfect in the beginning but you can keep improving as you build. By starting you will get invaluable feedback that you need to grow or make adjustments to your idea. The more momentum you build the more you will see your dream become reality,” are their final words to women who have a business idea they’re afraid to launch.

 

Gladys Kgorane is the founder and owner of Caleb’s farm in Potchefstroom, South Africa, a niche agri business that supplies farm fresh products, eggs, free range chickens, sheep packages and pork packages for its customers.

As a family oriented entrepreneur, Gladys is married with three children, she started her farming business on her smallholding back in 2013. Today she has seen it grow substantially from those early days, and now supplies 30 trays of eggs daily to  customers, in addition to a wide range of farm fresh meat and fresh vegetables.

The love of farming and providing farm fresh products inspired her to start Caleb’s farm. Caleb’s Farm, supplies farm fresh products, eggs, free range chickens, sheep packages and pork packages for our customers. They also provide fresh cut processed vegetables which are ready to go into the pot.

As part of their service, they offer a fresh produce supply service for the catering of funerals and weddings, and also for households and companies, starting with 1kg packages through to 10kg packages or larger quantities as required by our customers.

A product of Caleb’s Farm

Her company’s premise is to save customer’s time while still maintaining quality of products.

Gladys’ passion lie on being a solution which is why she launched her farm to solve the problem of unhealthy feeding. In her own words, “My journey has been full of challenges, but the dream has always been to be the solution, and that has been my inspiration. To feed the nation.”

While other people chase after profit as an entrepreneur, Gladys’ most satisfaction as an entrepreneur comes from her being the solution to poor feeding habits in her country. She aspires to expand her farm and go into commercial farming sometime in the future.

Gladys is one resilient and determined woman which is shown in her advice for up and coming women entrepreneurs.
“Start with what you have and know that giving up is not an option,” is Gladys’ piece of counsel to every intending entrepreneur.

 

When it comes to beauty so many believe its all to do with what you slather on your face – like cosmetics and make up products. Well, those could help for the moment but having a flawless beautiful skin and look, goes beyond that, and that’s what the Japanese women are known for. They’ve got an age defying beautiful skin that makes it difficult to tell their age.

Here are some little secrets of theirs:

1. Green tea.

This is a soothing beverage packed with antioxidant, antiinflammatory, this are necessary for a healthy body and skin glow. Green tea protects the skin from harmful UV rays therefore minimizing the appearance of lines and wrinkles. It reactivates dying skin cells, improve skin complexion and fights cancer. This is one of their best secret.

2. Balanced Meal Plan

Their food contain low fatty meat, low sugar, less oils. They’ll rather eat more of fish which contains loads of omega-3 fatty acids, health-promoting, anti-aging molecules. They eat variety of food rich in fibres, vitamins and minerals in high quantities, variety good foods.

3. Rice Water

Rice is a food they consider special. They use the water it was boiled in, simply as a facial wash, or add it to their bath water. It contains the minerals that have left the grains during cooking and it also contains starch, a soothing substance for the skin.

4. Vitamin C.

Japanese women constantly take vitamin C through food, supplements, drinks, fruit and vegetables, and cosmetic products. It breaks down melanin, the natural pigmentation we get in our skin from tanning or aging. It’s the sunny vitamin that brightens and gives you truly natural and glowing skin

5. Healthy Cleanser

They will use mild cleaners. Oils are also part of their cleansing routine because oils dissolve other oils and the “dirt” on your face, as well as the oil secreted by the glands in the skin.

6. Makeup Healthy

When it comes to cosmetics they believe your skin should complement the makeup, and not the makeup hiding it. “We value the beautiful and healthy state of the skin, rather than piling up a lot of makeup on. Sheer and natural foundation is more common than heavy coverage foundation,” said a Japanese beauty blogger.

These are some of their easy tips for anyone to try any where in the world. They still have more.

Note, makeup can weary the skin to age quickly if its on for too long and so, should be washed off before bedtime.

DR. SUNYATTA CREATED CALABASH TEA & TONIC TO REDEFINE WHAT IT MEANS TO HEAL — NATURA

Plant based medicinal healing has long been a tradition throughout the Diaspora, dating back to ancient Africa. However, since then, Black folks have traditionally been left out of the mainstream vegan movement, making the mental depiction of veganism as predominantly (if not exclusively) white.

Dr. Sunyatta’s Calabash Tea & Tonic is redefining what it means to heal — naturally. The vegan entrepreneur is a fifth generation master herbalist, naturopathic doctor and vegan chef whose upbringing impacted the way she views food as nourishment.

Since it’s Shaw location opened near Howard University in 2015, this wellness haven has not only proved to be a staple within the DC community, it’s also been voted the Best Tea Shop every year since in the Washington City Paper’s reader poll.

CREDIT: JAI WILLIAMS

Calabash found so much success healing the local community, that they wanted to do even more to spread its message. This summer Dr. Sunyatta opened the second location — in the Brookland neighborhood — providing over 50 organic tea blends based on her Cuban-Jamaican great-grandmother’s time-tested formulas. Calabash also serves direct trade pour-over coffees, vegetarian vittles, and kombucha.

Here, she speaks with ESSENCE about the healing powers of herbs, and why we need to implement them into our daily lives.

You’re a naturopathic physician and fifth-generation herbalist. Herbs have clearly always had a presence in your life — why was this so important within your family? Was there a tradition that was passed down?

My family is from Jamaica and Cuba. I had the good fortune of knowing my grandparents and great-grandparents who were my master instructors in herbal traditions. For Jamaicans, the continuation of African Maroon and Native American Arawak culture takes great pride in knowing plants on sight… which are healing and which are harmful.

Your philosophy is that “food is medicine.” Why should Black people learn more about the healing powers of herbs? What would you say to someone who doubts their effectiveness? 

Wellness is our birthright. When we go back 2-3 generations we see our grandparents had gardens… growing herbs, fruits and vegetables. Our urbanization has left us without that natural earth connection. We no longer recognize medicinal herbs and flowers even when passing them on the street. Herbal medicine is like electricity… you don’t have to see it or believe in it for its efficacy to shock you.

Do you have a favorite “go-to” herb for its therapeutic value?

Passionflower. The most slept on herb for calming tension and anxiety. Modern people’s nervous systems are taxed beyond belief.

What are some herbs that we should be taking every single day for our overall health?

Maca, Ginger, Turmeric, Hops, Oatstraw, Hibiscus… but here’s the thing my great-grandmother who was the village healer told me, “An herb is only as good as its friends in a formula. A good formula is a like a village; it needs a king, queen, messengers, water-carriers. Everyone works in harmony. A single herb is not as effective. It’s like one hand clapping.”

CREDIT: JAI WILLIAMS

With DC’s economic revitalization (i.e. gentrification) how was it impacted your work, and your clientele?

At Calabash we often have to explain our indigenous traditions in ways we didn’t before. We used to hand someone a tea or tonic and they say, “Wow, that worked so well. Thank you.” Now, we sometimes hear, “Wow, I feel so much better. Probably a placebo effect, huh?” We attribute this to the CVS’ing of America, in general.

You describe yourself as head witch, which for some, can have a negative connotation. What inspired that title?

Well, I am in charge. Seriously though, Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Why should our ancient sciences sit outside of that definition? Magic means transformation and we are proud to be able to offer that to our customers. Any negative connotation deserves to be examined through a decolonized lens.

Calabash has expanded throughout the Washington D.C. area — will we see any locations pop up in other cities?

We are planning to send our best and brightest out to run satellites in ATL, NY, Philly, Chicago, and more. Like our herbalist grandmothers, we are willing to bring our calabashes full of herbs wherever the people need healing.

 

Culled from ESSENCE