Meet Taku Hove
Taku Hove is a 25-year-old Zimbabwean who specialises in the hospitality industry. He graduated from Africa’s Leading Hotel School; The International Hotel School and has since gone into entrepreneurship namely Picasso Private Chef Food Agency in South Africa as well as Red Poivre Food and Catering in Zimbabwe.
What inspired you to get into hospitality?
Growing up, we left Zimbabwe in 2004 and went on a journey around Southern Africa. We lived in Botswana, Mozambique, South Africa and visited neighbouring countries such as Swaziland, Zambia, Lesotho. We were interacting with people from different cultural backgrounds, languages as well as cuisines and cooking styles. The love for meeting new people and cuisines drove me to study hospitality.
Who are your influences in the hospitality industry?
I’ve always been a huge admirer of people like Neil Anthony, Fred Serieix, Gordon Ramsey and more recently Jason Atherton. I’ve had the privilege to work with some of Africa’s biggest influences in the hospitality industry. Sihle Xiniwe or Picasso as we would call him in the kitchen who also co owns Picasso Private Chef with me. He finished 3rd in Africa in a Junior Chef Competition and has been very instrumental towards my entrepreneurship journey. I was blessed to be influenced by Chef Nti. She’s not only a celebrity chef but is an author, TV host on The Food Network, and entrepreneur. She mentored us and taught us the ropes.
What do you enjoy the most about hosting, also what do you enjoy most about being a chef?
What I enjoy the most about hosting is hearing the different stories, ideologies, and beliefs of the people you are hosting and what I enjoy the most about the kitchen is the stories I get to tell through the food.
Usually when I have been hosting, there are so many influential figures in the room, and they say that knowledge is power. Most of these people are not in my industry but they are at a point in life that I plan on reaching one day. So, hearing what they talk about, what they think about things and how they keep themselves are lessons that I can try applying to my life not only as a businessman but as a man too.
In the kitchen however, as Chef Nti loves to say; “The story is in the food.” You can freely express yourself and your skills to tell a story that is not only heard but tasted. For me, the different cuisines that I’ve had, I like to fuse what I love with what is already there to have my print on what I’m making.
What has been your favourite venue to host, who have been your favourite chefs to work with and why?
My favourite venue to host was the Casa Corona event at Nirox Sculpture Centre in Johannesburg. They fully utilised the entire space of that venue by incorporating Cocktail Tutorials, Silent Concerts, Business and Technology Incubation Sessions and many more. If you would like to see, just check out the video on my Instagram.
In terms of my favourite chefs to work with:
Sihle Xiniwe, Chef Nti and Donald Chipumha. They all have different approaches to the industry, and they all entered the industry in a different way. They all helped me get acquainted with different culinary techniques and views.
How did Picasso Private Chef Food Agency and Red Poivre come to be?
With P.P.C Food Agency, Sihle and I were roommates and attended the International Hotel School (I.H.S) but we did different courses; he did the culinary arts course, and I did the hospitality management course. When he finished, he became a private chef catering for private clients in Johannesburg. He then spoke to me about expanding to tackle hospitality frustrations being faced by private clients and companies in South Africa namely front of house, back of house and recruitment.
It later evolved to also showcase the lovely hospitality establishments across South Africa and after Ivan Sithole and Bradwyn Davids joined the team it expanded again into providing unique hospitality experiences in South Africa. We plan on being a centre for hospitality solutions, information and experiences in South Africa and are sure that once this current pandemic does start to calm down and the industry recovers, we will achieve this mission.
With Red Poivre/R.P the idea came from a school project we did at I.H.S that was propelled by one of my friend’s venture, Ishmael Mushekwi and his business Nutritious Tartar. They do a health-conscious baobab-based drink that they sell at a local market around where I live. I saw an opportunity to add some “colour” to the hospitality industry in this country by bringing a menu that not only looks different (the colour of the buns for our burgers) but tastes different too (using traditional cooking techniques in an updated way).
I was soon joined by my close friends and business partners; Kombo Maenzanise, Pineil Tanyanyiwa, Malcolm Masuku, Tanaka Rashamira, Gabe Bingandadi, Nick Kaseke and Bliss Hari and we want to continue to paint the food industry RED.
What advice would you give someone looking to get into hospitality?
Be sure that this is something you want to do. Be prepared for long hours, occasional rude guests, no weekends and a lot of bureaucracy when you start off. Yes, there are opportunities to travel around the world or owning your own restaurant and all the dreams that are associated with this industry, but they come with patience, perseverance, and tough skin to get past through the tough stage. Learn languages, be it languages from neighbouring countries or international ones like Portuguese, French, Spanish etc. A lot of guests you will get in hotel or restaurant work will be foreign and if you’re lucky enough to speak their language then often the interactions go swimmingly.
What are the 5 most played songs in your playlist right now and why them?
Ride Dolo – What You Wanna Be by Shane Eagle probably the side effects of having a crush or whatever.
Back in Business by Tory Lanez because I’m eager to finish this project the team of Red Poivre and I started recently.
Heat of the Moment by Drake. I think since moving back to Zimbabwe towards the back end of last year, I have learnt a lot about myself and the question in the song “Who am I gonna be when it’s all over?” is a question I’m slowly finding the answer to. I like the reminder of how people today act in the “heat of the moment”.
Papi Chulo by Skepta Ft Octavian just when I’m in that turn up mood.
Love Yourself by XXXtentacion, just that reminder to love myself, take the chances I get and forgive myself for my past and move on to a happy future.
How would you like to be remembered?
I’ve always been a positive person and that’s something I want people to not only remember me for but to learn from. I want to be remembered as someone who tried even though he failed. I know people can look at my life and probably think everything has been rainbows, but they forget that most rainbows come after rain. Just like how the founder of KFC pushed all the way up until he was about 70 and only enjoyed the rewards of his hard work for a few years before he passed, he wouldn’t have gotten there if he gave up when he lost his job or his first wife. If this can be how I am remembered I would be happy with all my current efforts.
Contact info for Taku Hove
Business Line: +263 78 259 4676
Thank you for reading Taku Hove’s interview, be sure to read the many other interviews on the blog.