Fauzea Katende, the feisty, beautiful-eyed lady has reawakened Kamwokya’s sleepy Kanjokya street, with an irresistible offer.
Nothing exotic, nothing fancy, but every bit meant to excite the taste buds. She runs Feedrite restaurant. Lunch breaks this side of Wandegeya have always been hectic. What with having to run the gauntlet of more than an hour’s gruelling lunch-time traffic jams, in the sweltering sun, across the other side of Wandegeya, to Bakuli or Najjanankumbi. This, just in order to find that one place that offers outstanding local cuisine.
This is the kind that you find at 2K restaurant in Bakuli that titillates the taste buds as the day’s aroma wafts out to meet you. This kind of cuisine is treasured so much so that many diners drive from as far off as Kiwatule and Ntinda all the way to Bakuli, or Ssebankyaya’s restaurant in Wandegeya whenever the traffic jam is tight.
On the occasions she helped her in-laws at 2K restaurant, Katende interacted with diners who expressed their frustration with the hectic traffic, but to them the food here was well worth the hassle.
“I used to import home textiles such as bed sheets, towels and rugs from Turkey. I was looking for something else to do when I thought of opening another branch of 2K. So, my husband and I decided to start a restaurant,” Katende says.
“I had three children in a space of three years so, I felt it was unfair to keep taking maternity and sick leave. I took a break to enjoy motherhood. I raised my children, set up a good foundation for them and I can now go back to work,” she adds.
Katende realised that the side of town along Kira road, all the way to the suburbs of Kiwatule, Najjeera, Naalya, Ntinda and Namugongo, did not have a place for diners to enjoy good traditional food. So she settled for Kanjokya Street, and on March 5, 2013, the doors of Feedrite restaurant in Kamwokya were opened.
Their specialty is local Buganda cuisine, where they serve traditional luwombo (sauce wrapped in banana leaves and steamed). She says her mother-in-law was very pivotal in starting the business, as she offered some of the cooks from 2K restaurant. She also camped at Feedrite for some time to teach Fauzea and her team how to prepare the food and run the business.
Fingers in charcoal:
One lunch-time visit to Feedrite will tell you Fauzea got her business choices right. Everyone seems to make a beeline, from the businessmen cruising in their sleek rides to the ID-slinging ‘corporates’, politicians and foreigners. Many of her customers are surprised to see a young woman like her running a traditional food joint.
They believe women of her age and class should be running coffee shops or exotic food joints, not digging their fingers into charcoal, banana leaves and hot saucepans. But it is her drive and love for what she does that has kept customers returning every time. Marketing of the restaurant was done by word of mouth, where one satisfied customer spread the word and the clientele grew from one diner to the current crowds.
“We created a website and Facebook page for people to leave us their reviews, comments and suggestions,” she says.
Fauzea’s philosophy is about treating ingredients delicately and with respect, never compromising on quality, which her customers are now used to. So, each dish, each luwombo and each serving must taste as great as the last one, if not even better.
“You have to be passionate about what you do if you want your business to thrive. I must go to the kitchen every day and cook some of the dishes, even if I have chefs. We must get it right every day. I am always looking for ways to ensure customer satisfaction,” Fauzea, who has Feedrite open from Monday to Saturday, says.
Fauzea went to Nabisunsa Girls School for her O-level, Kawempe Muslim SS for A-level and graduated from Makerere University with a bachelor of arts in Organisational Studies in 2006.
Lunch extra hot:
Her day starts at 5am when she readies the children for school. She’s at Owino market by 6am to do the restaurant’s fresh foods purchases and back at the restaurant by 7am. She picks the children from school at 4pm and heads back home for a well-deserved rest.
“This restaurant has taught me a lot about people, their different characters and about human resource management. If I was given the chance to choose a business again, this would be it. I have been able to keep the restaurant running for over a year without any hitches,” Katende says.
Yet no matter what they are cooking, there’s a purity that runs through each course. That doesn’t mean that the preparations are simple. Anyone who knows and loves food will appreciate the paradox: what seems most simple is often the most difficult to pull off.
She hardly plays to the old adage ‘If it’s too hot, get out of the kitchen.’ Lunch hour is extra hot.
While the most popular serving on the menu is the chicken pilau, all the other dishes compete fairly. Fauzea’s menu has delicacies such as chicken, beef, fish and groundnuts luwombo and pilau. There are also accompaniments such as matooke, rice, sweet potatoes, chapatti and vegetables.
Within one year, the business has risen to such heights that on some days the food runs out by 3pm. Patrons from other regions of Uganda are already requesting her to add dishes from their areas to the menu. Her goal in life is to open up many more restaurants like Feedrite.
Source : The Observer