Mabe wants to be best in business

Prince of burgers wants to be king

Masedi Mabe
Masedi Mabe
Image: Victor Ratshitanga

Masedi Mabe says he wants to be the burger king of Africa.

The 24-year-old chef from Naturena, south of Johannesburg, makes burgers during weekends in a back room of his parents’ home.

He launched his burger business, called bun2belly, in August.

Mabe, who has been making burgers casually since mid-2019, said it was his love of food and working at a hotel that motivated him to produce his own brand of burgers.

“I have always been a lover of beefy foods. Growing up I was actually fat from the junk foods I would consume. I was with this friend right after high school where we had a love for trying out new food. We would hear about a new spot that sells kotas [bunny chow] and on a weekend we would drive there and try them out. We would go to a shisanyama or a new restaurant and try out their food there. Basically, I got my inspiration to make burgers from this experience,” Mabe said.

“The reason I started making my own burgers is because I never really found a burger that was perfect. At the time some were perfect but I believed I could do better. So that’s how everything came about.

“There was a time when I was working in the kitchen at Radisson Blu [Hotel in Sandton, Johannesburg] and that’s where my passion for food skyrocketed. So, I did my time in the kitchen for three months and after that I just started cooking for fun at home for family and making deliveries for free and sometimes for money. I never really thought of it as a business at the time. I was just having fun and showing off my skills. That was in 2019.”

He said it was from his own pocket, good Samaritans in Naturena and his cousin who helped him finance his burger joint.

The burgers are his signature dishes, with a pink sauce flowing from top to bottom.

 “How the pink sauce initially came about is that it was purée initially. Purée is something that you play around with on your plate and paint around your plate. So, I mixed the purée in the burger and mixed my stuff ... and that’s how the sauce came about.

“And this idea of having a seven-coloured burger – you know growing up as black people we have seven colours family meals, so I decided to add more colours into the burger and that’s how bun2belly came about.” 

He gets his burgers and buns from a butchery and bakery in Mondeor.

The young entrepreneur, who has a diploma in hospitality management that he obtained from the International Hotel School in Sandton last year, said he has catered for five children's parties in and around Johannesburg.

He wants to use his business to help finance aviation studies that he wants to take up in future.

Mabe, who is on course to start an internship at a company in the food and beverage industry next month, said he wants to be the best in the business.

“I want to have my own spot or yard and make burgers. I want to cater for all events from weddings to parties to graduation parties. I am trying to push this as much as I can. That’s how passionate I am about it,” he told Sowetan.

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