Sidla_La: Passion and Dedication to Serving Quality Food

As with the doors of heaven, so it is in business that many are called, but very few are chosen to pursuit entrepreneurship. Most people like the idea of being a business owner, but seldom do they understand that the road to a successful business is a lonely one, which is fuelled by dedication, passion, and hard work.

For cook and businessman Msizi Ngubo, he realised that he could not depend on his friends and business partners to fulfil his dream of having his own eatery in his neighbourhood, Rabie Ridge that is just outside Tembisa. “When I started, I was working with a team, people I assumed believed in the business and having to change partners was always a challenge as it was not only change of partners but also change of the business as a whole,” Ngubo tells Spot-On.

The 31-year-old started a fast-food business with friends nearly a year ago and despite the business’ success, he was let down by one of his friends and business partners who cared more about reaping the rewards of business than doing the actual work.

The Good Ol’ Days: Msizi Ngubo (in front) with his former business partners at their former restaurant. Photo supplied.

“I took it upon myself assuming the role of being head cook and overseeing all things from stocking to counting profits to cleaning but later it looked as if I’m the worker and he is the owner. Meanwhile I was the one running things with another friend of ours cooking together. But the guy I started with was acting as the boss, so I choose to leave him with the shop and everything else and didn’t even take a cent when I left. Then the other friend and I started this one called Sidla_La but he also got bored of making food and I moved on alone by myself,” Ngubo says.

Sidla_La which can be translated as ‘we eat here’ has been operating since August last year selling wraps, chicken mushroom salad, tacos and dagwoods among other enticing fast-foods. Now know as the Naked Chef, Ngubo’s food has grown in popularity. From last year till just earlier in 2022, Ngubo was a constant feature on Metro FM’s breakfast show with Mo Flava where he showcased his culinary skills to millions of listeners.

Sidla_La Food: A chicken and mushroom salad made by Msizi Ngubo at his eatery. Photo supplied

The business is run online, with customers placing orders as early as four in the morning. “People make orders early, by six in the morning some people will collect their breakfast on their way to work,” says the determined cook. He does admit that having a mobile kitchen in the form of a trailer would greatly help the business.

Ngubo is not a trained chef, as his background is largely in events. “This is not my first business; this is a business that was inspired by other businesses. I used to be an events Concept Designer (normally I’d design an event for friends, or clients and it would always be the food part that people tend to overlook.) So, one day I found myself loving cooking more. And these 10 months have taught me a lot, as a lot has happened from change of location, partners, business name and strategy.”

Boxed and Ready to go: A takeaway prepared for a customer at Sidla_La. Photo supplied

Ngubo believes people should support local businesses in a bid to grow the township economy. “Provided local business sell quality like myself and KFC or McDonald, it is very important to start in the kasi before you move out to other locations or bigger brands like Chicken Licken etc.”