Finding new food experiences is always exciting, and for entrepreneur Noxolo Peter, her passion for one American food speciality led her to creating a new business and brand, one catering to African tastes. Now, her CheesySteaks brand is converting new fans of the traditional Philly CheeseSteak, but with an African twist.
LoA had the pleasure of meeting with founder Noxolo Peter recently at a Lioness Lean In Breakfast event in Johannesburg and learned much more about this ambitious and creative food entrepreneur.
What does your company do?
CheesySteaks is a gourmet food brand that makes Philly cheesesteaks. The cheesesteaks concept is of American origin, but my business, CheesySteaks, has taken a unique and different approach when making the cheesesteaks, infusing them with African flavours.
"The cheesesteaks concept is of American origin, but my business, CheesySteaks, has taken a unique and different approach when making the cheesesteaks, infusing them with African flavours."
What inspired you to start your company?
My talent and love for food, combined with wanting to make a difference. I am a very creative person and I realized that I love playing with my food and coming up with unique, artistic food concepts. So I asked myself the question: "Why not turn it into a business" - and then the rest, as they say, is history. One of the other reasons I got inspired to start my own business was that I strongly want to contribute to the state of the economy in our country, and not just as an entrepreneur but as a woman entrepreneur, as our country needs more of those. I want to be one of the women that challenge the status quo, and not only that, but be able to create employment for other young women and girls as I believe we have great potential as a country to thrive, but we need strong and determined women (and men) to do so.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
We make cheesesteaks that are infused with African flavours and products, and those of other parts of the world too. Our cheesesteaks burst with distinctive flavours, and they not only taste great, but they are also visual works of art of very high quality. It does not stop there, we also provide a great experience when serving them - we create a vibrant atmosphere where you see us dancing and moving around while preparing the cheesesteaks and serving them to you. It’s part of what makes CheesySteaks as a brand unique.
"One of the reasons I got inspired to start my own business was that I strongly want to contribute to the state of the economy in our country, and not just as an entrepreneur but as a woman entrepreneur, as our country needs more of those."
Tell us a little about your team
We are a team of four ladies, and we produce the cheesesteaks, but on a personal level, I handle the administration part of the business.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
I have always dreamt of having my own business, and coming from a business-orientated family made the desire sting a little harder. I then got the privilege to represent South Africa at the Business and Entrepreneurship Envision Global Forum that was held in the USA in 2014 and the quality of the speakers and the interactions we had there inspired me to start my own business. The one thing that ignited my thoughts was the sense of independence and creativity that comes with having your own company and products. I then started having these brilliant ideas but couldn’t pinpoint one that would be viable, so I decided to do what I love doing most - cooking. And not just simple cooking, but making creative food pieces that bring out the artistic nature in me.
"We make cheesesteaks that are infused with African flavours and products, and those of other parts of the world too."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
I want to open my own CheesySteaks food joint where families and friends can come and have delicious cheesesteaks while having great conversations and enjoying wonderful music. I do not only want to create gourmet food in my unique food joint, but I want to sell an experience, an awesome one that is!
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
Independence and not having to follow any rules. I love the fact that I can be as innovative as I want to and stretch my talents to the ultimate point.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?
Starting a business is really not easy, it sometimes feels like a bumpy road. But with passion and hard work you eventually get to the end of the road, and that's where your focus should be! One thing most entrepreneurs do not understand is that you do not get to where you want to be overnight, it takes time, sweat, and sometimes tears to get to where you want to be. The one thing I was told when I began this journey was that "Rome wasn't built in a day" and that quote has stuck with me since. I hope it resonates with you. So yes, go ahead and start-up!
Contact or follow CheesySteaks
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Why LoA loves it….
It is often said that if you want to set up in business, do something you love, and that is something that entrepreneur Noxolo Peter has taken to heart. Her company and brand, CheesySteaks, is the result of her passion for cooking and her fascination with the American classic created in Philadelphia, the cheesesteak. Her unique African take on this classic is the inspiration behind her new food brand that is piquing interest and tastebuds alike. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa