By Palesa Mlambo
“A recipe has no soul, you as the cook must bring soul to the recipe” this quote by Thomas Kellar describes principles lived by the 28-year old chef from Kagiso who believes that there is more to food than filling the stomach. It is a lifestyle and a love affair between ingredients and the chef.
Thabo Mokgosi, a founder and manager of Tea Spoon Catering and also the head chef at Tso’s butchery in Kagiso, was an advertising management student but a chef at heart. For him to establish his own catering company, it wasn’t child’s play. He shares his life-changing journey to the kitchen with The Open Journal.
Human beings have been trusted with gifts that need to be shared with the world. The journey of life is about discovering these gifts and finding ways to share them with the rest of the world even though it is not an easy experience. Some people refer to this process of self-discovery as a calling.
Before there could be a rainbow there must be rain, and before success, there must be turbulence. Mokgosi knows the proverb that says “perseverance is stubbornness with a purpose” like the palm of his hands as he had undergone a number of challenges while starting his company.
“I remember my first ever catering job had me working nonstop from Friday at 19:00pm till Saturday at around 16:00pm…and took home only R400 as a profit,” he reminisced his past ordeal.
Despite the fact that he earned a meager wage, he was never disheartened as he put it that he would be “so happy that [he] could deliver [as] people could actually return empty plates and some even asked for [the chef who cooked the food].”
Mokgosi’s love to be a chef grew which led him to enroll in courses that related to cooking at an EFT college. People began to notice his gift and called him more often to cook in societies, and he founded the Tea-Spoon catering.
“My world revolves around everything that’s food!!! I literally dream of food every time I close my eyes,” said Mokgosi.
When Mokgosi’s calling to become a chef got louder, he decided to answer. After having quit four jobs, applying for a cooking course at an EFT college, conducting loads of research, Tea-Spoon catering was birthed, a catering company of “notch” as he would put it. Now he has hired three professional chefs who share the same protocols when it comes to food.
“With the unemployment rate so high in the country, instead of waiting to be hired, why not create your own work and hire others. This also touches on dependency, society cannot be dependent on the state for so long, at times, we need to step out of our comfort zones and do whatever it is we need to do,” he said.
Mokgosi’s Achievements and Endorsement
- Being part of the team that was catering for Mama Nomvula Mokonyane (Minister of Water and Sanitation of South Africa) and her family during their time of loss.
- Cooking their (Tso’s Butchery) dishes for Bonang Matheba and the Metro FM team.
- One of his own creations, at Tso’s Butchery, their beloved Dagwood appeared on the E.news Channel Africa (eNCA)
- Sharing his very own creation, the Tea-Spoon Hawaiian Burger, live on Motsweding FM.
Mokgosi magnets support and inspire a number of people and, this is what he had to say; “Chef Bhekani Vilakazi, Chef Lunga Duma, Chef Bonolo Mogapi, Chef Bonolo Serame and Chef Mamello Lebogo, thank you for showing me that if I’m able to dream it, I’m definitely going to live it, to Sindi Sibisi little did you know that those tickets to the food and wine show would be my ticket to happiness”
It is up to the individual to make sure that they take advantages of the opportunities presented to them. With the right mindset, a lot can be achieved. Before every successful story, there are challenges and hurdles but the secret is to soldier on until the goal is met.