Let’s be honest – cooking is work. But for Tyron Adams food is a labour of love. After being retrenched and facing uncertainty in the hospitality industry in the national lockdown, this determined foodie opened the doors of his own food business in Wellington in the Western Cape.
“I regard my profession as my labour of love,” he says. “We have been busy for a year now. I think we have done quite well for the year we have been open. I started with R1 750, and we have worked our way up to where we turnover more than we could have imagined.”
His business, Kumin & Khords, offers lunch takeaways, catering services and private chef events in the Cape Winelands. “We can give you your burgers with chips or beer battered hakes and tartar sauce, but we can also give you a more fine dining experience. We do takeaways weekly, catering for functions like weddings and parties and then we also host intimate events like brunch experiences where we make five course meals at your home.”
Called to cook
While he always loved cooking, Adams never imagined he would make a living out of food. He was a rugby star at the Huguenot High School and had aspirations of pursuing a career in sports management. “It [food] just worked out for me,” he says.
He studied hospitality at Boland College. After Adams completed his studies, he started his practicals as a junior chef at Grand Dedale in Wellington.
“I worked as breakfast chef for nine months where my tasks included breakfast, lunch, high tea and standing in as head chef occasionally,” he says.
“As a student I think that is what has moulded my type of cooking style. I picked up a lot of experience as I worked directly under the head chef and standing in as head chef, meaning I had to set up, prep and plate my own three course menus which included canapes and amuse-bouche. We had a different menu every day.”
His resume also includes The Valley Restaurant at the Pearl Valley Golf Estate where he took on the role of chef de partie under chef Gerard van Staden.
Building a business to feed his family
He managed to pick up the pieces and later joined on as head chef at Vendome in Paarl. “I worked there as head chef for eight months but because Covid I had to take a lot of salary cuts as well. So I decided that I wanted to quit the industry to be honest, but instead I started my own company.”
His business Kumin & Khords is inspired by his son and his love for music.
“I always wanted to own my own restaurant. I got to combine my two passions both are usually spelt with a C, but I spelt them with a K, my first-born son starts with a K, his name is Keane,” Adams explains. “He has been a big inspiration especially since getting retrenched because of Covid. Having the responsibility of a little human being, I had to do something.”
The power of simple ingredients
Adams regards Gordon Ramsey and his former boss Gerard van Staden as his personal food heroes. “He [van Staden] used to put a lot of pressure on me and gave me a lot of responsibility.”
From all the proteins in our supermarket, he says that lamb is the best. “I think lamb is one of my favourite proteins to work with especially lamb shank, rack of lamb.
“A lot of cooking for me is about elevating simple ingredients. You learn how to cook at home because when you go into the restaurant you have this big pantry with a lot of stuff. But when you go home you open your cupboards and there are baked beans and there is only a packet of sausage, so you need to improvise if you want to have a nice meal. I like working with minimal ingredients.”
To make it in the professional kitchen, takes discipline and consistency. His advice to young chefs is to stick it through if they want to make food a living. “There is a lot of reasons to give up with and uncertainty because of Covid, so you just have got to keep pushing if you really love it.”
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