His introduction to the kitchen was unconventional. His grandmother was trying to keep him out of trouble and kept him close while she put together her meals.
He watched her closely and learned a lot.
Now years later, IT specialist Kabelo Molepo is selling cookies baked from his kitchen.
Originally from Kimberley, Kabelo describes himself as an energetic child and dragging him to the kitchen was his gran’s way of trying to watch his every move.
“I would sit there and watch her mix things and I would peel and ask questions. Then my mom took me to a boarding school just outside Pretoria and there again, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen to get out of trouble.
“This was not really a problem for me because vele food was my favorite thing anyway because I was a chubby kid,” he says.
Throughout his high school years, he learnt about flavours and which ingredients go best with each other and one of his older brothers used to take him into town to try out different foods a different cafes and coffee shops.
“Eventually, it got to a point where I saved up my pocket money to buy some of the ingredients I wanted to try out at home. Even in the smallest of quantities, just so I could taste them and have an idea how to pair them. I read a lot of cookbooks and I was on the internet a lot reading up about food.
“I used to try get alternatives as well because you won’t always find the ingredients in the cookbooks in a black household. Grocery is grocery not something you use to have fun. Then I started trying out Italian herbs and different cheeses with my pocket money.”
His mother moved to the UK to work and asked their Pretoria neighbour to keep an eye on her kids every now and then.
“The lady next door was like our second mother and so one year it was her birthday and I thought it would be a great idea if I baked queens cakes for her. Bad idea. They were so hard and it was a mess. I later realized that there was a science to baking and I love science and chemistry and so over a period of about 10 years I would randomly try out baking different things.”
As an IT specialist he secured a job in retail to be in management, but he was taking strain because he was not living with his family and the management position did not work out the way he expected it to, so he resigned and lived with his family in Johannesburg just before lockdown started last year.
“During lockdown, a couple of friends and I decided on a cook off. We were to prepare a three-course meal with the ingredients we already had in our homes and had R200 each to top on anything.”
He says once the meals were prepared, they dropped it off at each other’s doorsteps and rated the food. Surprisingly, Kabelo lost the challenge and came in fourth place.
“For dessert, I made chocolate chip cookies with a honey and peanut butter reduction. Poppy (his fiancé and business partner) was raving about the cookies even complaining that I had never made them for her before,” he jokes. “The next morning, she woke up saying the cookies were so delicious I should sell them. I spent my last R400 to buy ingredients and I have been baking every day since then,” he says.
Someone ordered the cookies from seeing a post on social media, she loved them so much she borrowed Kabelo a convection oven because he was using a normal oven which required him to bake for three days straight for an order of 1000 cookies. Now with her oven, he only needs seven or eight hours for an order of 1000 cookies.
“We have had requests from other provinces for people to be distributors there for Daddy Bae, but we are not there yet. For now, we are still trying to secure funding for equipment and to rent workspace because now it has been a year since the business started and I have been baking from our kitchen. We are also in talks with a garage and retailer to be a supplier,” he adds.