The Ujima Bakehouse on TED
Jastan and Alphonse walked us through their 19-hour process for producing the perfect sourdough bread. We could not have felt more proud of them. The passion and care they demonstrated, their willingness to work through the night to produce fresh bread first thing, their frequent calls to the electricity board to keep the oven on through the night… the list goes on. It was clear to us that the strength and potential of the bakehouse was with these two.
Jastan and Alphonse preparing sourdough hot cross buns for Easter
Working through the night (after several calls to the electricity board)
As we met old and new friends in Nakuru it was great to hear that the bread was a hit. This was usually followed with a question of how they could get hold of it more regularly?
With the Bakehouse being out of town and the market being in town we have a supply-demand issue, plenty of demand but too many challenges to supply. We’d been scoping out potential outlets for a while and nearly invested in an old ice cream shop in town to set it up as a café but it fell through at the last minute, it just seemed like doors kept closing.
In January, on our latest visit back to Kenya, we met a couple who’d moved to Nakuru shortly after we left. They had an amazing vision for setting up a co-working space for businesses and individuals to have access to good internet and opportunities for collaboration. They were also well on the way having secured land in a prime location and half completed renovation work. Turns out they were looking to set up a coffee shop at some point in the future. It was a goosebump moment when everything seemed to align. They were looking for us and we were looking for them.
We agreed to partner and set up the Ujima Bakehouse Café on their co-working site! Now we needed someone who could project manage the set up…
A couple of months earlier, in a taxi to the airport, we headed to Spain, where we would be speaking together at an eye care conference discussing both Peek and the Ujima Bakehouse, we got chatting to John, the driver (and husband of our daughters child-minder). He mentioned his son Dave, a Chef, working for the soil association in Bristol who he thought might be interested in helping us out. A few weeks later we met Dave and amazingly he decided to leave his job, pack his bags (which in fact turned out to be a large Visual Field Analyser, a load of bread bannetons, a bag or his own belongings and a guitar).
Dave has now been in Kenya since February working with Jastan, Alphonse and the Ujima team and is now spearheading the set up of the café.
We are hoping to open very soon with simple sandwiches and provide, premium, locally sourced coffee. Plans are in place to develop a kitchen garden so food can be picked fresh for amazing sourdough sandwiches and toasties, all washed down with a fresh coffee.
Watch this space for further developments….