South African YouTuber and now TV and radio presenter and actor, Moshe Ndiki became a social media sensation through his funny commentary on YouTube. He later secured TV and radio presenting gigs as well as an acting gig on the beloved telenovela, The Queen. Throughout his journey, food has been a constant feature in his success. In fact, Moshe says his mother has always been his greatest inspiration for his love of cooking. It was in 2015 when he introduced us to Moshe’s Kitchen and years later manifested the launch of new products under the name. Almost seven years later, he has produced a range of spices for “the everyday South African”. We caught up with him to find out more about the journey of bringing this product to life.
Why did you choose spices as your next venture since starting Moshe’s Kitchen?
Because spices are so versatile and there’s so much adventure in blending and mixing them. I’ve also always had a passion for cooking, it’s my love language. I love cooking for those dear to me, my family [and] my friends. Another reason I chose spices is because people don’t realise how unhealthy some spices are so I figured that if I was going to do spices, let me do it properly and in a healthy way.
The range has been five years in the making. Why did it take that long and what kind of preparation did that process entail?
Money. I’ve invested so much into this — literally all of my life savings. It took a while because I needed to get everything right in terms of how it looks, the messaging I want it to send, how it tastes, the texture of the spices, how it is made and where it comes from, etc. And also just discovering a lot of things along the way, like barcodes — you actually buy barcodes and they are logged into a system. There’s a lot and I was researching and doing everything on the job; from knowing how I wanted my spices to be made, to [figuring out] how to get them certified, that it needs SABS approval — it was a whole lot.
Your spices are Kosher, Halaal, MSG-free and vegan friendly. What does this mean and why was it an important part of the range?
It actually goes back to my pricing. I don’t feel like we should be paying for good food with our health. I wanted to make it MSG-free and vegan friendly so that everyone, even low-income earners, the lower LSM, the everyday working people, don’t struggle with spices when they are dieting or eating healthier. So I wanted to cater to everyone but especially low-income earners because they deserve a shot at eating healthy food.
How are your spices different from other brands?
Well … they’re mine [Laughs]. Secondly, they are very healthy, they are made from a place of love and not just for making money, they really do cater and care for the health of the consumer.
What was the most challenging part during the process of bring your product(s) to life?
Everything else is okay but I think this is most difficult part for me — getting them out there, getting them to reach the consumer, struggling to get retailers and to get [them] on shelves. It’s a whole lot of work and a whole lot of effort but I’m trying. It’s just the end part, getting it to the consumer.
You’ve been running your brand as a personal business. Is this business different from your personal brand?
It’s not so different from my personal brand because I enjoy and love cooking. It’s not like I came across a spice range that already existed and just put my name on it. No, I am fully self-funded and it’s an expression and an extension of myself and my brand.
You’ve said your mom has been your biggest influence in the kitchen. How involved was she in the process?
She was definitely [involved], hectically, especially when it came to the chicken spice because my chicken spice is different in that it’s not only chicken spice, it’s 90% chicken spice, 5% garlic and 5% herbs. Even the texture and colour says it all, so she was very involved in that and making sure that I stick to what I want my dream and my end product to be like.
How much are your spices and what informed your pricing choices?
My prices are very financially friendly and it was literally for the people I’m targeting; the everyday South African, the low-income working South African. Everyone deserves to afford to eat healthily so why not start with spices? Because everything is spiking up, I mean food is very expensive, meat is very expensive but if someone makes isishebo with just tomato, pap and gravy, spice up your tomato gravy to give it flavour and to mask the fact there is no meat.
Where can people buy your product(s)?
They are available online and on posters on my socials.
So far we know of one restaurant that uses your range, is there a plan in place to include other businesses or are you open to being approached?
I am very much open to being approached. We’ve also added another restaurant, Cotton Lounge in Bryanston, they also use my spices. I’m working on it and other places.
Who is this product for?
The product is for every South African. The everyday South African that wakes up and wants to make a better choice for themselves and their families, the everyday South African that works hard, the South African that is a housewife, a mom, a boss mom, a single mom that gets someone who will cook for their kids, a single dad who is working and trying to take care of their kids in terms of [feeding them] nutritional food, it is for anyone out there that wants to make a better lifestyle choice when it comes to food.
Instagram: @moshes_kitchen / @MosheNdiki
Facebook: Moshe Ndiki