They say food is love, and when prepared by passionate chefs who have a love and respect for the ingredients they use, combined with a creative eye and hand, that love is passed on to the customer. South African chef and entrepreneur, Ntediseng Mwale (Teddy), founder of Excellere Foods, is passion personified in the kitchen.
LoA met with the talented founder Teddy Mwale as she catered for one of the Lioness Lean In Breakfast events in Pretoria, South Africa.
What does your company do?:
At Excellere Foods, we specialise in catering and confectionery.
"I love what I do and I believe people can actually taste as much in my food."
What inspired you to start your company?
I have always loved to cook. The thought of making money and improving my life and the lives of those around me, by doing what I love just inspired me to go for it. I am also about woman empowerment. As a mother of two girls, I wanted them to grow up seeing that a woman is capable and equipped to care for herself and those around her, not just emotionally and physically, but financially too.
Why should anyone use your service or product?
I love what I do and I believe people can actually taste as much in my food. There is cooking, and then there is cooking with love and passion. The difference is in the taste and presentation. I care for my customers' health and well-being. As a result, each time i cook my heart out. That, is one attribute that very few people posses.
"There is cooking, and then there is cooking with love and passion. The difference is in the taste and presentation."
Tell us a little about your team
Well, I am blessed to work with some really talented individuals. Both my chefs have been in the industry for over 10 years and are very strong cooks with a lot of creativity and energy. Added to the team is a vibrant young man who is our baker. And then there is our barman Justice - the calmest, hardworking and talented Justice. These guys have become family to me. I didn't go out looking for male team members but when I found these guys, I knew I had found people that I would work with for years to come. We spend so much time together it feels like we live together. They can definitely handle the pressure and the long hours.
Share a little about your entrepreneurial journey. And, do you come from an entrepreneurial background?
Oh yes, my dad, who is now retired, was an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember. He sold anything and everything - from live chickens, to milk, salt, traditional beer, and eventually he opened his own brick-making company. My sister is also well established in her logistics business. For me, it had to be cooking. From a young age i loved to cook. I even found the way to my now husband's heart through his stomach as they say. The journey as an entrepreneur has been somewhat bumpy yet fulfilling.
"We plan to open a culinary institute to train our youngsters to become chefs. I want to encourage them to travel the world and experience various cuisine, cultures and life outside South Africa."
What are your future plans and aspirations for your company?
We plan to open a culinary institute to train our youngsters to become chefs. I want to encourage them to travel the world and experience various cuisine, cultures and life outside South Africa. We are also in process of commercializing our frozen, healthy dessert which will be exported to various countries. I know that when you mention dessert, everyone thinks of lots of sugar, cream, maybe wheat flour, etc. Well, we are about healthy desserts.
What gives you the most satisfaction being an entrepreneur?
A happy and satisfied customer. This right here says to me, you have done your job and you have done it well. When a customer seeks you out to thank you in person. That, is why I take the long strenuous hours behind the stove. That, and making money, of course.
What's the biggest piece of advice you can give to other women looking to start-up?:
Your business has to be something which is second nature to you. It gives you the tenacity to weather the inevitable storms.
Contact Excellere Foods
Why LoA loves it….
One of the biggest indicators of success in business is having vast amounts of passion for what you do, and the ability to be able to convert that passion into a high quality product that customers want to buy. In the highly competitive world of catering and confectionery production, chef and entrepreneur Teddy Mwale is connecting to a growing and loyal customer base through the amazing food she produces, which appeals to the eye as well as the tastebuds. --- Melanie Hawken, founder and editor-in-chief of Lionesses of Africa