Turning Passion into Business

Local Couple Transforming their Talents into Catering Business

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THE small business idea of couple (wife and husband) starting a business could be quite conflicting at times more especially when dealing with money and long term success of a particular business, since not all businesses are fine for couples to venture into.

However, the growing trend of couples start a business together has now become evident and a success story in the country. Nowadays smart local couples have agreed to work together and determined what type of business to start.

As for owners (Mrs Helen Dalo’afu and Mr Eric Dalo’afu) of EJAY kitchen, to prepare a meal together is a bonding activity. Over the years, the couple have ventured into the business to provide catering service trainings. The catering business has provided them the opportunity and chance to showcase their talent and creativity in the aspect of cooking and service delivery.

Today their profitable business ideas have blended well with their lifestyle and passion for cooking, since they started their catering brand business in 2010.

EJAY Kitchen Manager, Mrs Dalo’afu says we came up with the idea of building our own kitchen so that we could provide catering trainings to other interested women in Honiara.

“I was an accountant and my husband was a chef. He taught me a variety of cooking skills and techniques and so I started to put into perfect practise all the knowledge and skills as an aim to achieve our business ideas and goals.

“Our main aim and objective was to build a kitchen with the major focus to educate families especially mothers and young women on the how prepare healthy foods and cook special dishes and in their respective homes,” she expressed.

The catering industry in the Solomon Islands is a small one and to create a catering brand that demands services is definitely not an easy task to accomplished overnight since basic hospitality skills and talented presentation are required to become a successful caterer.

In other words, cooking is said to be a creative, fun and quite a challenging job. It is capital intensive. In fact, you can start a catering business from home but you need capital to initially start off a catering business in the country.

She told Solomon Women that they had encountered several challenges prior to the establishment of their business.

“Lack of fund was one of the major challenge we faced when we started our catering business.

“Another on-going challenge after the establishment of the business the total absenteeism of trainees. For instance, to get everything prepared for a particular session and nobody turned up. This has caused a lot of financial inconvenience in terms of budget.

“However, behind such problematic scenarios our passionate heart is to disclose our talented knowledge and skills to other potential women so that they too can be able to have the equal benefits we possessed in the art of catering.

“I believe more women in the country are very talented and can improve their knowledge and skills through the trainings we deliver to them,” she added.

The EJAY kitchen is a renowned local kitchen in Honiara and is situated at Lau Valley community. It has often offered numerous catering services and has provided a lot of training workshop for participants who have strong desire to venture into food services business.

Mrs Dalo’afu said the greatest feeling of accomplishment was to sense of gratitude received from the local women that attended our catering training workshop.

“Most women that attended my trainings are house wives and many of them had learned so much from EJAY kitchen. I believe food plays a big sense of connection and unity at home because when you know how to cook different types of special dishes it improves your family meals and more especially the healthy wellbeing of your family,” she added.

Meanwhile, she encouraged all women in the country to always prepare healthy and balanced meal for their respective family.

“To achieve a business or to be able to possessed great cooking talent, knowledge and skills is not that easy but it comes with passion and personal commitment.

“You might not be a chef, but as you learn more skills it improves your ideas on how to be creative in using your own talents,” Mrs Dalo’afu said.

The exhibiting of the variety of cooked dishes at a recent catering workshop