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How the pandemic turned a Cape tour guide into a koesister champion

Faieez ’Fuzzy’ Alexander of Fuzzy’s Foods sprinkles his koesisters with coconut. Faieez is one of the graduates of the Makers Landings Food Lab Incubation Programme. Pictures: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Faieez ’Fuzzy’ Alexander of Fuzzy’s Foods sprinkles his koesisters with coconut. Faieez is one of the graduates of the Makers Landings Food Lab Incubation Programme. Pictures: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

Published May 25, 2021

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Cape Town - When the Covid-19 pandemic took away his livelihood as a tour guide back in May 2020, Faieez “Fuzzy” Alexander from Wetton decided to try his hand at making koesisters for sale in an effort to support his family. He had never made them before.

“I had to do something not just to pay my bills but to put food on the table. I started making koesisters on a Sunday in the middle of May and selling them from home and on my first try I sold over 2 000.

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“A few months later, in September, on a whim I entered the Vannie Kaap and KFM Radio’s koesister competition and was crowned the world koesister champion and I have never looked back.”

Alexander, who now has a permanent stand at the V&A Waterfront’s Makers Landing food lab, told his story during the first graduation of food lab’s incubation programme where he was one of eight graduates of a four-month intensive training programme.

The programme, which is a joint initiative of Makers Landing in partnership with the national Treasury’s jobs fund, offers opportunities to qualified start-ups and existing small food businesses that can show that they would benefit significantly from mentorship, training and affordable access to a licensed commercial kitchen space.

According to V&A Waterfront retail sales executive Alex Kabalin, the programme combines online learning, classroom sessions, industry experts and use of the Makers Landing commercial kitchen.

“The focus is on laying solid business foundations, providing entrepreneurs with tools for success, and working purposefully towards their business goals.

“The incubation programme immerses entrepreneurs in an inclusive and innovative space where they will be nurtured by food industry mentors who are influential and successful in their own right.

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“By matching natural creativity and passion for food with knowledge and new skills gained, our food entrepreneurs will be better prepared for success in what is a tough and competitive industry.”

The graduates of the Makers Landings food lab incubation programme. Pictures: Brendan Magaar/African News Agency (ANA)

The other seven graduates included Charmaine Govender-Koen, originally from Durban but now a resident of Somerset West, whose specialities include Indian curries, bunny chows and Indian pickles, and Cikizwa Galela, from Langa, who specialises in traditional South African and Xhosa dishes.

Others were Saa-rah Adams, from Kensington, who produces gourmet frikkadel sandwiches; Zulfa Cassiem, from Milnerton, who makes halaal-certified chocolate-based fudge in a variety of flavours; and Lester Adams and Connor Wolstencroft, who have a food truck in Table View where they serve smoked meat and home-made sauces.

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Finally, there was Jane Nshuti, of Rondebosch, who is focused on vegan South and East African dishes; and Gareth Forbes and Jen Wheatley, from Diep River, who specialise in confectionery and snacks.

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Cape Argus

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Related Topics:

Covid-19

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