Making culinary art with kapana

Foodie Tabz Iitembu has taken kapana from the open market and turned it into a culinary experience at weddings and other glamorous events.

Iitembu, who operates his culinary business under the name Tabz Kapana, Cocktails and Catering, primarily in the northern regions, provides culinary services at various events.

He says he has catered to over 250 weddings.

Since most people take photos and generally hang around after church because they can’t go to the bride’s house right away, Iitembu says he thought this could be a potential place to serve kapana.

“As an appetiser, folks usually start with kapana and a few beers because it kills time,” Iitembu says.

“It made me think more deeply to come up with this kapana after church business because I could not imagine leaving the church at 12h00 and arriving home at 18h00 or 19h00… the guests would be hungry.”

Local influencer Don Speedy, who got married in the north earlier this month, had the opportunity to use Iitembu’s kapana service, which also combines kapana-paired drinks (cocktails) as part of his service expansion.

Iitembu says he introduced the kapana element to his business during Covid-19.

“I went out and made my kapana stall so I could start selling to make a living and provide for my family,” says Iitembu.

He has since discovered a passion for making kapana.

“What inspired me to do the food business is the passion that I have for food. I enjoy cooking and the food business is a very fast-growing business, especially kapana and burgers, because most people prefer takeaways or a starter before they reach their homes after a long day, to go and cook,” he says.

According to Iitembu, even though the food industry appears simple, they have to deal with issues like suppliers’ delays and time management.

“Sometimes you will also not find some ingredients or maybe you will be given things in the last minutes while people are already about to leave church.

“It’s not easy and we get much pressure from the guests [asking] why we are slow or why we are just getting started but it’s not always our fault,” Iitembu says.

Since training others to work alongside him, clients can now anticipate even better service.

Previously, he could only cater to one client per day but after making adjustments to the business, they can now serve up to three clients a day.

“Clients are now a lot and business is just business, so I have to expand and provide to more clients [rather] than disappoint them,” he says.

He plans to open his own restaurant this year, serving fast food like burgers, pizzas and kapana, as well as cooked meals, he says.

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