Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

Entertainment

Delu-cious talk

Delving into the kitchen with Chef Delu

He’s the latest social media sensation.

32-year-old Thapelo Delu has captured the imagination of many with his impressive culinary skills.

Going by the name Chef Delu on Facebook, the Somerset East native is a living example of a true street hustler.

From first working as a gardener after completing his secondary education at Francistown Senior School (FSS), Delu worked his way to the top, falling and rising again to carve a pathway in an industry that has taken him from dusty Somerset to the wet and wild Okavango Delta, and back to the concrete streets of Francistown.

Delu is the flavour of the moment and is already fully booked for the months of October and November.

In this interview, the sought after chef chews the fat with Voice reporter, Kabelo Dipholo.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Thank you for honouring our call and agreeing to this impromptu interview.

The pleasure is all mine.

You sent social media into overdrive this past weekend with an imaginative menu and set up. Briefly tell us about Chef Delu.

I’m a Somerset native, born and raised in Francistown.

I did my schooling at Mahube Primary, Donga Junior Secondary School and finally Francistown Senior School, and that’s where I ended my formal education.

My first job after completing at FSS was as a gardener at Adansonia Hotel in 2009.

Even though I worked as a groundsman, I was always fascinated by the kitchen, and used every chance I had to interact with the kitchen staff.

My prayers were answered in 2010 when I was hired by Hungry Lion as a cook.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

I spent three years with the fast food restaurant before joining KFC as a cook and cashier.

An unlikely introduction into the culinary arts!

Yes.

I was later hired by Nandos as a griller, and that is where my eyes were really opened.

Nandos are a very strict restaurant, and I learnt a lot of things about customer service and generally dealing with food.

It’s a pity I only stayed there for nine months, before joining Cresta Marang.

I only lasted six months with the hotel as an opportunity came up for me to work for Wilderness Safaris in the Delta.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

While I acquired new skills in the kitchen I decided to return to Francistown in 2016.

Working in the Delta seems like a great gig for a chef, why did you leave?

I got tired of the bush, and missed my family.

It was on my return that I decided to start my own catering business.

I set up a stall at the bus rank, but I found the going very tough.

I was making huge losses as the market was saturated.

I quit and started making alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails which proved to be a hit.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

I started to have bookings and immediately went on a massive marketing campaign on Facebook.

I remember my first gig was in Nshakazhogwe where I was invited to make cocktails at a birthday party.

You still haven’t told us about how you became the most sought after chef.

I’m getting to that.

An opportunity presented itself; as my cocktail business grew I also marketed my catering business.

My first ever booking was in 2017 for a wedding.

I didn’t know anything about pricing for a wedding and made a huge loss.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

I wasn’t too bitter about it, I was just happy that I received my first booking as a chef.

Things, however, went south from that point on, and I looked for a job and was hired at Ebat in Tatisiding.

I also worked for Delicious Delights until 2018 and had to quit when Covid-19 hit.

It was one of the toughest years of my life.

I had no money, and was making a little through making designer cocktails for clients, but it was not enough.

My biggest break came in January this year, when a wedding I was catering at was beamed on Botswana Television.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

From that interview at Aerodrome, I received a lot of bookings, and just like that my company Peokatlego was back in business.

Well your rise to fame has certainly been swift! Would you say you’re the most sought after chef in Francistown at the moment?

I believe so.

I haven’t had a free weekend in a while, and I’m already fully booked for October, November and about to be fully booked for December.

I have been very busy and currently employ 15 people.

We’re able to service two events in one weekend.

In fact, just this weekend we catered for 900 people in Tatisiding, Borolong and Tsamaya.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

The only challenge I have is that clients wants to see me in person, so this means if possible I’ve to be physically present at all these events.

What other challenges do you face?

The first challenge is transportation.

We’ve just started making money and don’t have a car.

We rent and that has proved problematic.

The target is to get a company car in February next year, a seven-seater would do for now.

This has, however, not deterred us.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

We’re still able to reach any destination and have never disappointed our clients.

So do you have a signature dish?

Yes I do, I call it ‘Blue Ocean’.

It’s a package that includes a cocktail, a burger, two wings, grilled pork and sweetcorn.

Sounds yummy! Do you follow any celebrity chef?

No really I don’t follow anyone.

I do my research online, learn recipes and put my own signature on the dishes.

Cooking has always been a passion for me, probably because I love eating (laughs).

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

I enjoy tasting new dishes and trying new combinations.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I plan to have a restaurant, where I can prepare meals and also serve cocktails.

I’m very good at cocktails and still have a loyal clientele.

Batswana generally don’t RSVP. How do you deal with clients who give you the wrong figures?

It’s a difficult situation to deal with.

You find that you’re booked for 200 people only to arrive at a packed wedding with close to 400.

We know this especially at traditional weddings.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

When you’re not cooking up a storm, how do you relax?

I sleep. Every chance I get, I just sleep.

I’m always tired due to lack of sleep, so whenever I’m free I just sleep.

I also make time for jogging and also go to church.

What advice do you have for young people who currently have catering businesses on the street?

Don’t chase money.

Chase your passion, do your best and the money will follow.

And finally, Thank God It’s Friday. What do you have planned for this weekend?

I’m catering for 400 people at River Deck in Molapo.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

It’s another busy weekend for me!

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You May Also Like

News

WATCH: A murder convict who killed his lover by stabbing her heart, slitting her throat and waiting for hours for her to die before...

News

1 million expired doses get three-month extension At least a million doses of expired Pfizer vaccine will have their shelf lives extended by a...

News

WATCH: Contrary to their contributions to the review of the national constitution, Botswana Federation of Teachers Union (BFTU) has been accused of poor grasp...

News

Three men find themselves in a sticky situation after allegedly breaking into a primary school to steal several bottles of cooking oil. The trio...

Sports

Towards the end of last month, Lebogang Michelle Pitso joined Mexican Girls Football Club (FC), moving a step closer to her dream of one...

Politics

AP dissolves YL Things are falling apart at the Alliance for Progressives’ youth structure, a sorry state that has forced the party to dissolve...

News

Police dismiss muti murder rumours in Goshwe Tutume and Goshwe residents were left perplexed on Friday afternoon when rumours that a Magapatona ward man...

News

Dikgosi call for end to Masisi/Khama ‘cold war’ Tribal leaders in the Maun Administration Authority (MAA) have called on government to work harder to...

International

Zimbabwe used to literally copy and paste South Africa’s policies on Covid-19 and many would joke about it – I understand there was a...

News

Mpho Ollyn’s gift of gardening Two weeks ago, I noticed the mulberry tree outside my bedroom window was fast announcing springtime as it bloomed....

Politics

Wairi licks his wounds after by-election defeat Weeks ahead of the Moselewapula Ward by-elections in Gerald Estate, Francistown, the then Umbrella for Democratic Change...

News

PASSENGER AND DRIVER BITE EACH OTHER ON A ROAD TRIP TO MOLEPOLOLE A trip from Botlhapatlou to Molepolole ended painfully for a driver and...

News

After almost 21 days of searching, Botswana Police and Botswana Defence Force dive teams have retrieved bodies of two fishermen who drowned in Gaborone...

Advertisement
Exit mobile version