Through her catering and décor businesses chef Karabo Phiri wants to create job opportunities for more people.
Through her catering and décor businesses chef Karabo Phiri wants to create job opportunities for more people.

Karabo Phiri had a business science degree in hand with plans of becoming an economist, but her love for food and obsession with Asian cuisine redirected her to the culinary world.

“This was all in God’s plan for me,” says Phiri, who is now well on her way to becoming a qualified chef.

Her love for food and cooking started as a young girl when she spent hours watching her mother, Patricia, prepare family meals and desserts. Today the ambitious 24-year-old already owns a catering and décor company with aspirations of hosting cooking classes, opening a coffee shop, and owning a pig farm one day.

RECIPE: Karabo Phiri’s Chicken Necks

“My cooking journey has brought me so much joy and fulfilment and I’ll forever be grateful to God and the amazing support I receive on a daily basis,” she says.

As a child Phiri loved to page through her mom’s recipe books.
As a child Phiri loved to page through her mom’s recipe books.

Her parents’ efforts to make ends meet often meant that they had to work long shifts and away from home. Since Phiri’s mother worked at night and her father, Lucas, had a job in the Northern Cape, she and her two siblings had to move in with their grandparents in Soweto, Gauteng.

When she was 13 years old, she, her older brother, Tshepo, and younger sister, Kelebogile, moved back to Rustenburg in North West to live with their parents again. Here she matriculated in 2012 from Rustenburg Educational College.

“When we moved back in with my parents I used to go through my mom’s recipe books and enjoyed watching her cook and bake. In university I grew closer to my passion and love for cooking, as my interest in food became of more practical use. I made amazing dishes with a student’s budget.”

“Cooking has brought me so much joy and fulfilment,” says Phiri.

Motivated by her passion and a strong support system, Phiri obtained a degree in business science from Monash University in Johannesburg. She is currently working on a culinary qualification from HTA School of Culinary Art.

“I decided to go back to school full-time this year, but when I’m not at school I do catering, private cooking and decor services. I’m the founder of Cooking with Karabo and run a décor services.”

When she first studied Phiri grew closer to her love for cooking, as she learnt how to make practical food on a tight budget.
When she first studied, Phiri grew closer to her love for cooking, as she learnt how to make practical food on a tight budget.

Even though she has assistants who often help with her catering and décor services, Phiri says her goal is to grow her businesses and provide job opportunities for as many people as she can.

She agrees that the culinary industry is quite challenging. The appreciation of happy clients and the end result of what she cooked up makes it all worthwhile, keeping her going.

In the years to come she wants to tick a few boxes, including having a coffee shop, hosting cooking lessons and owning a pig farm. She added, “I’m passionate about the production, art and cooking of food; and because of this I’ve always been interested in farming, especially chickens and pigs to be specific.”

While Phiri is also dreaming about travelling and starting her own family, for now she is only determined to become a qualified chef.