WATCH | Life throwing you lemons? Make ice cream: Retrenched chef starts business during lockdown

play article
Subscribers can listen to this article
  • Maxine Wiehe, a chef in Johannesburg, decided to make her dream of owning her own ice-cream business a reality after being retrenched.
  • A few months after opening her doors, mmmMoo's Creamery is stocked in seven stores across Gauteng with the 125ml tubs retailing at R35.
  • During the business' busiest time, they were making up to 1 500 units each month. 

When life throws you lemons make ice-cream - that's the motto Maxine Wiehe lives by.

Last year, she found herself between the proverbial rock and a hard place. 

Wiehe lost her job as a chef at a catering company and had to quickly come up with a plan. 

"As soon as the president announced the lockdown, the retrenchments at the company began," she told News24.

FULL SPEECH | Ramaphosa drops alcohol sale ban, opens beaches, changes curfew

The 26-year-old chef started mmmMoo's Creamery because she always had a passion for plated desserts and ice-cream allowed her to explore her creativity. 

"We do different and unique flavours that aren't the run of the mill. We don't do strawberry, chocolate, vanilla. We do tonic bean which is our take on vanilla and a s'mores flavour which is our take on chocolate. I like doing wacky and weird flavours that people might not know," she said.

A sweet tooth

Wiehe's love for desserts and ice-cream soared to new heights when she decided to quit her studies at the University of Pretoria, a year into her nutrition and food science degree.

The chef traded in her textbooks for a tutelage under a head pastry chef at one of Johannesburg's top fine-dining restaurant’s, DW Eleven-13. 

"I decided university was not for me. I loved every second of the work experience. I worked with a great pastry chef, who made me fall in love with pastry. After that, I knew that this is what I wanted to do."

WATCH | First batch of vaccines arrive in SA

Nine months after working at DW Eleven-13, she enrolled at Prue Leith Chefs Academy.

"[It] was the best one-and-a-half years of my life. It was fun, lots of hard work but I loved every second of it," she said.

mmmMoo's Creamery succeeds

Once Wiehe graduated, she returned to DW Eleven-13 and started making a name for herself in the industry.

However, the Covid-19 pandemic forced her to pivot her career aspirations and open up mmmMoo's Creamery. 

In a few months, mmmMoo's has attracted a sizeable clientele. Wiehe was able to stock her products at seven different store across Gauteng.

At her busiest, the chef was making almost 1 500 units of ice-cream each month with the 125ml tubs retailing at R35.

The best-selling flavours were the s'mores and burnt sugar, and choc chunk.

In the long-term, Wiehe would like to stock mmmMoo's Creamery in retailers across the country, but for now she has her eyes on an ice-cream truck.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
Voting Booth
Would you choose to continue working from home after the coronavirus lockdown if given the option?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Yes, it's much better for me
40% - 6681 votes
No ways! I can't wait to get back to the office
12% - 1960 votes
A mixture of both would suit me best
48% - 8023 votes
Brent Crude
All Share
Top 40
Financial 15
Industrial 25
Resource 10
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo