I never knew how it would end. But I knew how I wanted to start.
Having recently moved back to Mombasa, and tired of having been "employed" for so many years, I consider myself a stubborn go-getter. It was for this reason, and the lurking ambition to expose my passion and creativity, that I decided to start my own business - food business. Since the age of 9, I started baking at home. Cakes and cookies were my strengths, but I would always watch my mother cook - and God only knows how much her food was (and still is) loved by many.
Cooking, as you've probably heard many times - is a stress reliever. For me however, it is the ability to combine different flavors, textures, colors, and fragrances, that makes it one of the most enticing things to do. You can jump from American flavors to British classics, Asian experiences to Indian delicacies, African scents to Arabian exotics in the comfort of just one place - your kitchen. And as long as you have everything you need, that kitchen becomes your world.
Having lived in different cities my whole life, it gave me a much needed experience to play with different ideas, combine different flavors, and more importantly, introduce innovative (at least to Mombasa), products. I always wanted to open a restaurant, but I noticed that while Mombasa did lack specialty restaurants at large, it somehow managed to cater for specific culinary influences - seafood, Asian, Indian, African, European, etc. In the past, I was always fascinated with quirky boutique cafe's in the US, especially in Pennsylvania where I lived for almost a year, and a place I visited most often when I was elsewhere. There was one particular cafe in Kutztown which fascinated me - a small, dainty and completely unpretentious cafe on main street that had aromatic coffee, steaming hot chocolate, and baked goods. The ambiance would take you back a good few decades, and that's what I loved about it - its rustic edge gave it the flair and fascination that consumed my subconscious.
Back in Mombasa 6 years later, I always had it in the back of my mind, that if it weren't a restaurant, I would open an edgy, well themed cafe - but I never had an exact image in my mind. All I saw were tables and chairs filled with customers who enjoyed what I had to offer - and everything else, I believed, would fall into place.
And so, it started with 3 cupcake flavors. The 2 most often baked - vanilla and chocolate, and something entirely new - the cinnamon muffin cake. Chocolate and vanilla were a staple; and while they were nothing unique or innovative, the cakes I made were entirely different in one respect - full of flavor, very moist, and a step up to the standard versions we saw time and again. At least that's what my customers said. And that, opened up a door I never imagined.