PROUD BUT NOT arrogant this is how one would describe the effervescent Sithembiso Ndashe, better known to you and I, as Ndash- the revolutionarist who had a nerve to commercial mogudu (tripe).
He afforded this lowly newsman a brief audience at his ‘meet and greet’ type set-up at the swanky hotel in Bryanston, on Thursday evening.
But who cares when a man who owns Ndash Food and a risk taker, extends an invite to a dinner to sample his delicious African cuisine, washed down by fine wine and gin?
Born, bred in the far flung Komatipoort (Nelspruit -MP) but became a resident of eThekweni to pursue his Marketing degree at the Durban University of Technology, Chef Ndashe talks smart, tough but a charmer of note-when he likes.
He took us pace by plate as he and team fed us three contemporary course meal, only to wrap it up with a desert made of tiny fat cakes and yummy crème.
And he kept focusing on everyone to ascertain they dug in, so did I obstinately…
As part of revolutionarising the African cuisine and mzansi food experience, he partnered with Philip Morris South Africa, to demonstrate, to members of the press, how challenging conventions can impact industry through their latest Iqos brand.
“I haven’t slept for days and neither am I complaining,” he said unapologetically.
“ For me Ndash is about lifestyle, great people, great company and tonight this is what the revolution is about- seeing both black and white -all sampling the food of thought on the same table, under one roof.
“My intention is to break boundaries without compromising on quality and provide par excellence service,” continued Ndash, the man who took a risk by quitting his job as a marketer to establish a brand in 2013.
“Who knew today I will be all over the news, after six odd years, doing what is close to this fragile heart of mine?” he asked with conviction.
He tells further that, the idea of Ndash Food was conceived as part of a South African culture that takes place every Monday called “Mogodu Mondays”. Due to the fact that in the suburbs of Jozi it was hard to get a great South African meal, this idea was born with the 1st PoP Up kitchen in Midrand where an event was hosted.
Also I was getting tired of traversing between Jozi to Komatipoort for mogodu and other African prepared food, so an abundance of ideas led to this formation, says the father of one, who’s also an affluent biker.
“I enjoy being a risk taker because it prepares you for any eventualities- be it raking in money or not” he says.
My dream (to borrow from pres Cyril Ramaphosa) is to own a franchise that would be a legacy for my kid and family and Ndash Food will realize that dream owing to hard work and the kind of clientele developed, he quipped with a daring smile.
“We developed this experience with Ndashe to better explain how Philip Morris is challenging old conventions with new products, such as is heated tobacco product IQOS” says, Thabang Sekaja, spokesperson for Philip Morris.
“IQOS heats tobacco instead of burning it. This results in a product that is a better alternative for adult smokers who would otherwise continue to use cigarettes.”
“We’re continuously challenging conventions by offering adult smokers who would otherwise continue to use cigarettes a better alternative, by heating instead of burning tobacco.”
“Through innovation and technology, we’re able to offer a better alternative that emits 95% less harmful chemicals compared to cigarettes, through products that don’t produce smoke” Sekaja, said.
“Our vision as a company is to create a future free of smoke.”
For Ndash its all about hard-work and break-even, though he did not want to dwell much on that subject suffice to point out “its not about money- but the dream I envision my broer”.
Currently he has employed two young unemployed guys (including his brother) from Komatipoort, as part of his mandate to bolster and empower youth from his place.
Image SLM (Engaging with guests such as Masego from PowerFM, Ndash presented a three-course contemporary meal at an intimate media gathering held at the Dikalo Highston, Bryanston).