Are you a foodie? Do you get excited like a two year old when you see a plate with an extraordinary looking meal? If the answer is Yes, Thabiso Mhlongo is the right person for you to know about.
Here we come across a foodie, music lover, gamer, and dancer but most of all we describe Mhlongo as the expert with exquisite palates for succulent meals. He is the guy who decided to stop letting fear derail him but rather went for it and started his own Pop Up Market; Epicure x Outsauce Pop Up Food Joint. Epicure Bitez is a food business based in Atteridgeville, Pretoria which elevated him to the well deserving title of being a “chef”. The business caters for anyone with exquisite palates for succulent meals and love gourmet meals.
The kitchen is Mhlongo’s comfort space, that’s where he gets to express his love for cooking, play with all kinds of herbs and seasoning, not forgetting tenderising the mouth-watering meat. He did not intend on being in the food industry, he studied Civil Engineering at Tshwane South. In order to qualify for his N6 certificate, he was seeking for an apprenticeship, only to get diverted to food where he worked for a health food franchise.
Mhlongo’s journey was a long one but well worth the wait. He went from job to job, before he could start his joint but its’ that very same process that slowly inspired him to start, even if it took him two years sitting with plans, while working at Kauai Franchise as a barista and chef in one of the stores, not doing anything about the ideas, all in the name of fear but the inspiration that he too can do it on his own one day was too strong to ignore. He says he is still learning in the business, describes it as being under construction with himself while giving people food with love.
“I’ve always challenged myself to be the best at what I do and to follow my dreams. This is what I give to my customers. And I hope to grow my business and love that it is within my community, most important thing is being yourself and being courageous in making sure that this works.”
Taking the bold move to resign in his then call centre job in November 2020 to register his company in December was the best move according to Mhlongo. But with so many food joints still available, the challenge he comes across is keeping up with being few steps ahead, bring extra mouth-watering flavours. He stands out with food presentation, fresh ingredients, great flavour and seasoning and giving customers a fun and relaxed environment. He knows having many joints like his is a struggle for his business but he keeps going on regardless.
“All I can say is starting this business made me realize that it is POSSIBLE regardless of what you are studying, doing or plans that you have. Just START! Quoting Les Brown, he said “Don’t judge the possibilities of what you can do based upon the circumstances, because the circumstance won’t determine who you are. Don’t determine what you are able to do based upon the resources. Don’t determine what’s possible for you based upon where your life is right now, where your life is right now that’s not you. That’s just what it is right now… But the possibilities for you are UNLIMITED!”.”
For more information on Epicure Bitez, check out their social media platforms: Facebook: Epicure Bitez, Instagram: @epicurebitez_