Sunday Tribune

Love of food all in the family


TO MISQUOTE a cliché, “the family that cooks together, stays together”. This can be applied to the Joseph family of Merebank.

So says family spokespers­on Viven, who is part of the family that runs the popular catering business KSV Foods.

The business comprises father Lee and his sons Viven and Kumiran. A third son, Sivanesan, died – he too had been part of the business.

The KSV in the company’s name represents the initials of each of the three grandchild­ren.

Of the genesis of the business, Viven says: “It was started informally by my maternal grandfathe­r, Perumal Govender, about 30 years ago.”

He had learned the art of cooking by merely watching the experts and he perfected dishes like breyani. “This knowledge was passed down to my father, Lee, and in turn handed to my two brothers and me. In time we officially registered the business as KSV Foods.”

The three brothers had other career interests before joining the food business: Viven and his younger brother, Kumiran, studied light current electronic engineerin­g, and his late brother Sivanesan studied heavy current electrical engineerin­g.

Viven says: “I went to Joburg for a short while, and when I came back I saw the potential of the business and formalised it by registerin­g it and setting up databases. I also created and modified a menu.

“We needed a name, so we decided to use the initials of my dad’s favourite people – hence KSV. ”

His father, Lee, is the head honcho of the business. He was born and raised in Red Hill, the youngest of six children. After completing school, he became a school secretary at St Mary’s Primary in Merebank.

He subsequent­ly met a young teacher there who he married in 1980 and they settled down in Merebank. He had a succession of jobs until he took up cooking in the late 1990s. After finding his calling, he has not looked back.

Their clients come from all race groups as breyanis and curries are great common denominato­rs.

KSV caters for birthdays, weddings, funerals and just about any event that involves serving food.

Having regular clients, who in turn give word-of-mouth recommenda­tions and steady support, makes advertisin­g campaigns unnecessar­y at this stage. They are constantly busy, as they enjoy good relationsh­ips with their customers.

The clients in turn enjoy good service as well as very accommodat­ing suppliers who are always humble and never rude. Trust between client and supplier is vital, they maintain.

No single event is more memorable than the next, as time and quality go into every assignment. Do they get difficult clients? “People are people, and when it comes to food and catering, everyone wants the best at a good price. We try to give them as much as is humanly possible.

“There is always that one person who thinks he knows it all, but we just go with the flow and get on with the job at hand,” says Viven.

KSV is very community- and charity-conscious. On Fridays, they donate food to a rehabiliat­ion centre in Newlands and on Saturdays they donate to a church in Overport.

Every alternate Friday and Sunday, they donate to St Gabriel’s soup kitchen. Old-age and children’s homes are given substantia­l discounts off their meal prices.

They cite the annual religious Kavady event as their favourite. Viven says that at one such event, they cooked for three temples, which involved the use of 115 degs (giant pots) of breyani.

All in a day’s work for a proud father and his sons.

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