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Kemigisha earns off passion for cooking

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Perhaps your heritage gives your recipes an edge, or you are reinventing recipes your grandmother used to make, but now with a twist. Maybe you have discovered a niche and are working on recipes with dietary restrictions. Whatever it is, you may have thought about the possibility of starting your own food business. Many people love the thought of doing something they enjoy and can earn a living from it. This was the case with Marklyn Kemigisha “Bambino”, who shares her experience with Pauline Akello.

When you interact with Kemigisha, the first remarkable traits you recognize are her sociability and remarkable cheer. I bet, you can even taste it in her meals.

She is a foodie who has turned her love for food into a flourishing enterprise.

Kemigisha’s passion was nurtured by her mother who loved cooking and ‘everything food’.

While pursuing a masters degree in Business Administration in Malaysia in 2018, Kemigisha prepared a meal which her roommate said “Tasted like pepper.”

“I was flailed. I mean, I had put effort into the process and just like that, it was not good. Turns out I still had a lot to master,” she says.

Kemigisha says when her roommate served her a meal of gari and fish, its great aroma and taste were undeniable.

That was when she allowed herself to push her dream of making delicious and delightful experiences with each meal.

Kemigisha prepares a wide variety of food which she serves her customers daily. (Photo/Courtesy)

Her mother’s pots
When she returned to Uganda in 2019, her mother’s kitchen became her personal space.

She went on experimenting by widening her cooking skills. She created an online restaurant, The Food Place. She operated on ‘order-and-deliver’ basis.

Her mother encouraged her to move out of home and become more independent and experience the actual business side of what she was doing.

When she moved out of home in 2019, she opened another business, The Salad Bar because of her craving for more variety in plant and animal-based combinations.

The Food Place and The Salad Bar, now located in Bugolobi market, have revolving menus.

Kemigisha deliberately changes up the food so that it breaks the monotony and creates an interest in people exploring new ways of enjoying food.

Everyday, she lets her clients know what is available for the day and they make orders.

A plate of service
Right from the start, Kemigisha purposed to serve quality food; from the ingredients to the serving.

Hygiene, quick delivery, variety, and, of course, a burst of flavours, are her specialty and strength.

Kemigisha does it all: family meal prepping, food delivery, catering (large and small gatherings), and even serves as personal chef.

“My deepest hope is that people will begin to enjoy the food in this country.

“There is little appreciation of what God has given us and I want to take people on a food destination, to savour and to share,” she explains.

The most startling observation Kemigisha has had is: much as Uganda is blessed with a wide variety of food and fruits, there is very little uptake in homes and restaurants.

“Disappointingly, our menus are monotonous and identical,” Kemigisha says.

A meal from Kemigisha’s kitchen.

Wading through waves
With a good experience in business, Kemigisha will tell you challenges do exist; the first being the unpredictable market of raw materials.

She says prices keep fluctuating, making it subtle to strike a balance between a stable price for a meal and the cost of production.

“Some customers will not understand that the market is volatile and trying to give them the best service and remaining in business is not easy,” Kemigisha says.

The lack of appreciation of what goes into the preparation is also clear.

Customers often have preconceived ideas about prices and thus, make demands without considering the value of a good meal.

There are also partners in delivering the orders. Kemigisha says finding a reliable, consistent delivery person is not a guarantee because many are unpredictable, yet customers expect delivery to be a timely service.

Future plan
Kemigisha says she is going to carry her passion for food to any place God takes her and help people appreciate the gift we have been given.

The dream of opening large food malls is on the table. In the next few years, Kemigisha hopes this will be a norm with her as the head of the tables serving others through the power of food.

Also, she hopes to have her business grow and become an inheritance for her children.

“I want to see more locally grown enterprises come up and last generations for our descendants to govern and preserve, just as the Word of God tells us to do,” she says.

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