Why Cook: delicious food with modern flair

Why Cook is all about home-style, tasty and delicious cooking that is presented with a modern flair. It was established in 2014 by Mathapelo Montsho and Yolanda Nomoyi, who for years had a passion for all things culinary.

This passion saw them open their black female Level 1 BEE business – and they have been growing ever since. Why Cook provides food catering for events – from large corporate functions to smaller events. The team also offers services and menu options to individuals and families. Breakfasts, lunches and suppers, finger foods on request, and all meals allow for customer specifications and input.

I chatted to the dynamic duo, who told me more about themselves and their business.

What has the journey been like to founding Why Cook?

The journey has been great and rewarding, although it has its fair amount of challenges – and not just with the current COVID-19 pandemic. There are staff, funding challenges and difficulty securing capital to do some new things. It has been rewarding, though, and we really try to look beyond the challenges and find solutions. It has also been incredible having a network of people around us who are always willing to help us along our journey – we are grateful for that.

Where do you draw inspiration for your menu/dishes?

The first foundation is that the food has to be yummy: it must be OH MY GOSH levels of awesome. Us (Yolanda and Mathapelo) being so different is good for clients as we complement each other – for example, Yolanda likes quirky and Thapi likes luxury, Yolanda likes lamb chops and Thapi likes chicken. We check trends: what’s currently out there and then also check how we can do things differently. We always try to stand out; we do a lot of research and spend a great deal of time on social media, including on Pinterest. We cultivate relationships with other chefs and see what they’re doing, and we speak to them. As much as we do look for inspiration elsewhere, we always make sure that we find a way to bring it back to what and who we are as Why Cook.

What does a typical day look like for you?

Thapi’s typical day: get to the office if it’s an office/admin day. I look at our finances, depending on what day it is and look at our sales, see where we are, what we need to do more of to reach our target for the month. Yolanda’s typical day: checks the orders for the day and the next day,to check what is needed (additional items for menus), checks if there is any staff training needs. There are client follow-ups, identifying areas of training for our staff including presentation, health and safety, use of the fire extinguisher/emergency event training. When we have an event, it really is all hands on deck: Yolanda with the staff and Thapi client facing. 

If there’s one ingredient everyone should have in their pantry, what would you say that is?

Everybody must have Aromat and Worcestershire Sauce – they save lives!

Your favourite dishes?

Yolanda – lamb curry; Thapi – chicken pasta

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