Tuk-tuk diaries: A day at the cricket

2015-02-22 14:43

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In the only scene more tense than Helen Mirren’s scowl in the film The Hundred-Foot Journey, the Kadam family, who spent weeks readying their restaurant for its opening night, throw open the gates ... and no one is outside.

They wait and wait, and when someone finally shows up, he asks if they know where the Michelin-starred restaurant is in town.

That scene haunted me as I prepared for the unveiling of Second Breakfast. The only difference was that the awkwardness came not from an empty room but an engine, all revved up with nowhere to go.

In reality, my tuk-tuk did have somewhere to go: Newlands Cricket Ground. The venue is one of the places I consider a second home because in my real job of sports journalism, I spend a lot of time there reporting on matches, attending press conferences and keeping an eye on training sessions.

It seemed a natural place for my new venture, even when I was not sure my tuk-tuk would get there.

Mulligan Coachworks had been delayed by load shedding and its own underestimation of how long it needed to turn a cargo vehicle into a cupcake carriage. Before any of us knew it, midnight was approaching. They worked through the night on New Year’s Day to get her there on time. She arrived as the sun’s first rays splashed on to 2015 skies.

I arrived too, my arms overflowing with cake. My husband, also a cricket journalist, helped and we set up for my first day of doing a different job.

I had a hired hand because I had to split my time between being a scribe and a seller.

I soon found the stress of the second task outweighing that of the first.

I was uncertain because cupcakes are not traditional cricket food.

Spectators are used to boerewors rolls and hotdogs, but I hoped to speak to those who enjoyed something sweet at teatime.

My supplier, Denise’s Delights bakery in Sea Point, had prepared a simple selection of three flavours: vanilla, red velvet and Bar One chocolate. We had stuck to a small number, even though a sellout crowd of more than 20?000 was expected.

We figured not everyone would pass where we were positioned and of those who did, not everyone would want cake. We were just testing the waters.

But the response was not what I expected.

The vanilla cakes were the bestseller. Cricket fans are traditional after all.

Perhaps more heartening than running out of cupcakes shortly before close of play was that people noticed Second Breakfast.

They were surprised by her structure because, for a tuk-tuk, she is tall at 2m high when the box is lifted. They admired her attire – from the intricate patterns on the outside to the inviting wallpaper. They took photographs and asked questions.

When day two dawned, I was more at ease and did not envisage serving to no one. By the end of the match, I had even been adventurous enough to introduce two new flavours in carrot cake and double chocolate.

Second Breakfast debuted at Newlands because it was an environment I was comfortable in and I considered it a safe space to experiment. She is now ready to take on other events. More importantly, I am ready.

I’ve learnt that being a business owner takes more bravery than brains. I hope I am slowly building a bit of both.

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