The two spoke to DESTINY Man about their passion for food and their incredible journey since they were last seen on the show.
Although they were eliminated, Modiselle and Siwundla took the advantage of the exposure and positive reaction they received from fans of the show.
They then started brainstorming how they could combine their talents and their journey began with the idea of starting a YouTube channel and creating interesting and engaging videos about food.
The idea of opening a restaurant in Cape Town’s hottest restaurant road, Bree Street, was intensified when they were asked to cater for a private dinner with some ladies from the USA. It then led to catering for a bigger gig, the rugby 7s with fellow MKR contestant Elizma, and the Hot Skillet was born.
Modiselle and Siwundla always wanted to open the restaurant, but they knew it was the right moment when they received recognition from fans of the show and were repeatedly asked where they could taste their food.
The two say they learnt a lot about the technical side of food and the more refined element of the culinary arts from the TV show.
Both of them have always had entrepreneurial flair. They took their experience as entrepreneurs, what they learnt from the show and their love for food and put it all together.
“The Hot Skillet is a reflection of who we are: genuine, simple and to the point. Not only is it a restaurant trading five days a week, but we also cater for private and public functions,” they say.
According to them, their business gets better every day. In two weeks they have been operating, they have refined their business model to represent what is best for them.
Their venue, being in an art gallery, lends a bright creative atmosphere to the restaurant and allows them to provide a unique culinary offering.
The gallery hosts different events, from musical performances to dance expos. The duo make sure that in between, they’ve got the good music going to maintain that energy.
The other element that sets them apart is their price range, as eating in the city centre can be quite costly. With an average of around R75 for mains, they offer good food at reasonable prices and make sure that their customers leave full and happy with uncomplicated, good food, from all-day breakfasts to lunch dishes such as their poached chicken and mayo, croque monsieur and roasted beef short rib and chips.
They say it is always difficult at the beginning of any entrepreneurial venture, but they have made the sacrifices to make it happen.
Having been entrepreneurs for some years now, they had the benefit of being able to apply what they learnt over the years to this venture.
Siwundla, a former Lions rugby player, started his own marketing and communications company, So Treal, in 2014 and has been part of this adventure for the past four years.
“I’ve always loved food. My parents both loved food and they passed that on to me. Sundays were particularly special for me, as it was about food and family and that has always stuck with me,” he says.
He says it has always been his dream to own a restaurant. While he was working at Spur, he would sell food at outdoor events and the pressure of selling good food quickly to ensure that everyone leaves happy had always been an adrenalin rush for him.
Modiselle who grew up in Hammanskraal, Gauteng. His father owned a butchery, while his mother was a teacher. He attributes his passion for food to his parents.
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He says food has always been a part of his life and he always knew that his life would head in this direction one day.
“They both taught me about food and that’s where the culinary bug bit. Believe it or not, I was part of a heavy metal band back in the day. I was the guitarist and a screamer. Music has always been in my blood,” he says.
After school, Modiselle ventured away from food while trying to find himself and tinkered in many different fields, from real estate to auditing and tourism.
“My entrepreneurial spirit was awoken and I started a few companies with friends that unfortunately bombed. Much later, I moved to East London with my fiancée and started our own company, working in administration for a property development company. We then left and moved to Cape Town and started our current company, Taliah’s Terrace, which specialises in hospitality and events, media and marketing. One day, I got a phone call from MKR and here I am today,” he says.