Nelson Mandela Bay Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture sector (NMBEDTA), in partnership with Nelson Mandela Bay Catering Secondary Co-operative, on Thursday hosted a food tasting session to showcase the work of catering companies in the city.
Speaking at the event, Nelson Mandela Bay Economic Development, Tourism and Agriculture Assistant Director of Community Development, Noluvuyo Solwandle, said that the event aims to showcase the work of local caters and its importance into the local economy.
“This will serve as the platform to market local catering companies in Nelson Mandela Bay city especially at this time of the year, now that the December holidays are around the Conner and there will be number of events so catering will be in demand,” she said, adding that the aim is to market them to private sector so that they can continue to sustain their business and also benefit when there’s government catering tenders.
“We believe that the market out there only favours the private companies already exists, we want private sector to give our people a chance and do business and grow our local economy,” said Solwandle.
The idea was meant for all catering companies in the Nelson Mandela Bay, but there were 13 catering companies that were chosen within the co-operatives that have Environmental Health Certificate in order to be compliant.
“Our inspectors go to the places and checked the place and also test the food if it is in a standard where it can be consumed,” she said.
Nelson Mandela Bay Environmental Health inspector, Dirk Steyn, said that they assist people in the food industry and provide training for the stuff and audits of the premises.
“Sometimes it is expensive to get outside consultants to do audits especially when one caters for big companies and government and it is expected for the catering company to provide certificate statin that everything is in order and here in the public health department we do the inspections free so that the small business can save money,” said Steyn.
Zoliswa Phezisa, one of the Nelson Mandela Bay Catering Secondary Co-operative chefs, said that she is more than grateful for the success of the event.
“We are very grateful for this opportunity, it is a great exposure for us, now we are going to be recognised in the industry, and after this even I hope government and private companies can hire us whenever there’s an event so that we can cater for them and grow our businesses,” said Phezisa.