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Cooking from the heart earns La Cuccina a top spot in Dishruption Challenge

The team at La Cuccina Restaurant and Deli in Newlands prides themselves on providing simple food that is close to its source – uncomplicated and unspoilt. “Along with a sense of generosity, trust, passion and a love for what we do, this is what drives us to please our guests every time they visit La Cuccina or buy our readymade meals for their homes.”

For head chef Kunjulwa Miselo, it’s the guests that provide the most inspiration. “Seeing the faces of our guests when they take that first bite, knowing that I’ve made sure the food is nothing but perfect when it leaves the kitchen,” Kunjulwa reveals.

And the dish they entered into the McCain Foodservice Solutions’ Dishruption Challenge reflects this desire to please their guests. “We entered our Crack Chicken Burger. It’s a new addition to our menu that has received a great reception from our regulars. This dish represents the freedom to experiment and take a leap of faith.”

Their Crack Chicken Burger led to them being one of the 10 winners in the McCain Foodservices Solutions’ Dishruption Challenge, and the prize money will help them to restock their kitchens with products they haven’t been able to offer for a while because of the intense cash flow problem they have faced. And they have seen the impact of this on the staff. “It’s been a never-ending struggle to be able to look after our staff and the many families who rely on us,” they say about the business challenges faced during COVID. “It’s heartbreaking to see our staff struggle and to know that we just can’t do more for them.”

La Cuccina

The team has been resilient despite the many adversities faced, by focusing on their catering menu and readymade meals. The business strategy has been to constantly adapt and to act on new opportunities, especially when it comes to catering and online sales. “We now have our products in many Spars (in the Western Cape) and Wellness Warehouses (both here and in Gauteng).”

They’ve learnt to not be complacent or to take anything for granted. “One has to keep the standards high, and the service needs to be exceptional. The last few years have made it evident that the industry has changed, and if you aren’t able to change alongside, it’s impossible to keep the doors open.”

To the team, this win demonstrates that the willingness to adapt while maintaining an excellent standard of food and service are notable qualities. “This just proves we are on the right track and that we have not faulted on serving the best dishes we can deliver. It makes us realise we need to stay on top of our game to stay relevant in these tough times.”

Read more about the Dishruption challenge and winners here.

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