I arrived a few minutes early for my interview with the amazingly thoughtful 31-year-old Brechy Kiki of Brechy’s Kitchen Catering at the Yaya Centre, exactly two weeks since she cooked for a special guest in the country, football legend, Ronaldinho.
We met and sat down for our interview at the Java Restaurant over a cup of coffee. She looked a little bit slimmer than I had seen from her Facebook images, both on her Brechy Kiki personal account and Brechy’s Kitchen and Catering account. She broke into a free-spirited smile that is the trademark for her social media accounts.
Brechy exudes confidence and a pure spirit of a fighter, an awesome story teller whose laughter will easily put you at ease and dispel the tension. However, behind Brechy’s smile is a heartrending story that reveals the pureness of the strength of a woman.
Who is Brechy Kiki?
Brechy is a 31-year-old first born child in a family of five and a graduate in ticketing and tourism. She loves cooking and playing around with recipes since she had to prepare meals for her siblings and help her other in the kitchen. “I cook for my consolation, comfort, to complete me, anytime is cooking time because that is just what I love doing,” Brechy informs me obviously quite passionate of her craft.
How Did You Begin Brechy’s Kitchen and Catering?
“My passion started in 2013 when my then boyfriend kept on coming over to my place to eat saying the food I made was irresistible, I had plucked recipes from magazines, stapled them together and used them to practice my cooking,” Kiki says adding that watching him clear his plate made the cook worth.
“I would cook whatever he asked for, he was my number one fan and his positive comments made me want to cook more and more,” Kiki adds with a bright face.
Kiki offered to cook for her friend’s birthday after being unemployed for close to 5 years. During the period, she would visit the Gikomba market to select and buy a few Mitumba clothes for resale. She also made Sim Sim balls to hawk and sustain not just herself but also her siblings in support of her mother.
Kiki’s father had passed away while she was in class seven and as a firstborn a heavy burden to support her mother and siblings lay on her shoulders. This pushed her to work hard and try out different ventures as she struggled to raise school fees for her and her siblings.
In 2016, Brechy Kiki had made her name in the social media World where she had ventured in cooking groups like ‘Lets Cook Kenyan Meals’ and ‘Ideas on Cooking Recipes’. It is in these pages where qualified caterers, such as Pamela Oduor and Naomi Nyasuba, spotted her talent and challenged her to break out of her cocoon.
A lifetime changing opportunity came to her on 20th December 2016 when Carol Githinji, then a human resource officer with DHL Company, called her requesting for a quotation of 350 people who were to be hosted for an end of year party.
“The numbers in the quotation went past 1.5 million shillings! I panicked and thought I would lose the chance as to me, it was too high! I however called Carol hoping to go through the quotation and deduct some of the items to bring the cost down,” Kiki says adding that to her surprise, Carol only asked her to proceed and send her the Menu.
The event which was with help from Naomi Nyasuba was a huge success and that earned her referral clients that founded her business, Brechy’s Kitchen and Catering Company Limited.
What Challenges have you had to Deal with in your Entrepreneurial Journey?
“Numbers can be terrifying especially if one is not used to them which could lead to under delivering,” Kiki says adding that the industry also has a challenge with fluctuating prices.
“Customers especially those that require our services during weddings request for quotations as early as a year before the wedding which is very difficult because we are not able to tell the price at which ingredients will sell at,” Kiki explains.
“Getting a Food License is no walk in the park especially since a case in Karen where food was contaminated leading to deaths, it is expensive and hectic especially because the same charges that are applied to ‘big’ established hotels are also applied to us,” Kiki laments.
Transport according to the young social entrepreneur is also a challenge for small and middle caterers as buying a car is quite expensive yet food needs to be transported to different venues in a hygienic manner.
Where Does Brechy Kiki Draw Her Motivation?
“There is nothing as fulfilling as watching somebody enjoy a meal you put in effort to prepare. Such people, who are my clients, really give me the zeal to kick off that blanket and get my cookware ready,” Kiki says with a wide smile.
“I lost my mother in October to cervical cancer; it was and still is hard because as a firstborn, she was my best friend since when Dad passed away, I felt I had to step in and assist in taking care of our family,” Kiki says adding that she watched her mother go from weighing a 100 kilograms to 35 kilograms at around the time of her death.
Understandably distraught, Kiki opens our eyes to the pain of losing a loved one to cancer as she painstakingly narrated the frustration that comes with being helpless after being handed a late diagnosis.
“Pain and fear can motivate you, I have now chosen to bury my head in work, keep my mind busy so that I can numb the pain, after all, I still have a brother to support through form four next year,” Kiki says exuding an emotional strength that is simply inspiring.
What Advice Would You Offer Kenyans who are unemployed and are Desperately Seeking Employment as an Option?
Do not second-guess yourself or entertain procrastination, do it today and now, you may never know the outcome unless you try.
Love what you do, dream it, live it, wake up to it, respect and guard it! Then life will be fulfilling, it will keep you up when all the reasons need you to be down.