How it came to be:
After resigning from a full-time position as an SEO copywriter, I turned towards my passion – food. After spending an incredible amount of time looking for the perfect job, I stumbled across a food-related part-time job as a sales person at markets for Oded’s Kitchen on Gumtree, yes… Gumtree. However, my very first encounter with Oded’s Kitchen was actually at a Red Velvet Cupcake Course organised by Hila Jonker, blogger of Add to Taste, as the vanilla pods we used for the course was sponsored by Oded’s Kitchen. Knowing the name and seeing the advertisement, I emailed Lewis to try my luck.
I started working for Oded Schwartz and Lewis Nieburg at the Earth Fair Market at St. Georges Mall every Thursday and spent the rest/most of my time as a freelance copywriter, graphic designer and social media strategist at the same time. After a few weeks, I offered to help out in the kitchen once a week, doing puppy work like peeling garlic, and then moved on to making their weekly canapés.
I started enjoying working for them so much that I had to bring Jean-Eric into the picture. I always knew he loved food and finding creative ways to make wholesome home-cooked meals. Outcome: Jean became Oded’s apprentice after a month of training and honestly, I have never seen him happier.
With Jean in the kitchen, they didn’t need me as much so Lewis created a position for me to organise and advertise Oded’s cooking classes. This position evolved to social media management and PR as I started helping about where I could, rather than simply doing what I was meant to do.
“In search of plenty – A history of Jewish Food” the book launch:
Oded was in the midst of republishing his first food book “In search of plenty – A history of Jewish food” and I offered to organise the book launch, not knowing or having ever done one before. This journey was one of the most impeccable ones I have ever had and Oded’s Kitchen offered me the experience of a lifetime. When would I ever be offered the opportunity to work with someone as legendary as Oded Schwartz, to design an actual book cover and to organise a book launch?
I decided to advertise specifically on social media, the plan was to create a buzz about the launch. Fortunately, Oded is a very well known gentleman and many of his friends, followers and peers were, without a doubt, planning to attend the book launch. We spent a Sunday at Oded’s Kitchen where Jesse Kramer took some photographs for Oded’s book cover. The photographs were so crisp and gorgeous, a downright metaphor of the word ‘plenty’. The printing was done at The Printing Press, in which our go-to-guy, Shane, and his team completed the printing process in a mere four days.
Back in my student years, I worked at the Exclusive Books in Sea Point and met the dear and former manager, Greg, who is now part of the Bay Book Shop team at the Cape Quarter. Greg and the manager, Steve, kindly offered their store as the location for the launch. Linda, from Squashed Tomato, managed to help me out with the beverages and Waterkloof Wines sponsored us 20 bottles out of their Circle of Life range (read more about my experience with Waterkloof here). Then a dear friend I met at the Slow Food Market in Stellenbosch, Eric the YummiChef, offered to sponsor the book launch some of his delicious brownies and macaroons.
We started advertising exactly one month before the actual date. I made the poster and started punting it on Facebook and Twitter. My Twitter friends were so supportive throughout the whole process and helped me out with retweets and advice. A few days before the launch, Oded received a phone call saying that a television crew (Spirit Sister) would like to film the launch and wanted to know if it would be press-friendly. My eyes widened and I couldn’t be happier!
Without a doubt, Oded’s Kitchen catered – Oded came up with a menu, then with Jean and the kitchen staff, the theme-related snacks were made for the book launch.
Here’s the menu:
The night came and the heart-warming thank you from Lewis and Oded was more than rewarding for the work I put in. I have to say, working for the two of them has been an amazing experience to date. There were more people than we expected and all the food we catered – gone, all the brownies and macaroons – gone and all the wine – gone.
Each day, I am grateful for the opportunities they’ve offered me and when I go to bed at night, I am happy, knowing I’ve done a good solid day’s worth of work.
Plenty I’ve learnt, and plenty I will come to accomplish for one of the most transparent and (for lack of a better word) awesome brands – “Oded’s Kitchen”
Photos from the launch will be available on my next post