Keanon Michaels has been cooking since he was nine years old. He opened his own mobile restaurant called Keanon’s Kitchen in 2017.
Keanon always dreamt of becoming a chef. In grade 10 his parents advised him to start job shadowing, which he did at the Cape Sun hotel. He then furthered his studies at Northlink College, Protea Campus in Bellville, completing a N6 Diploma in Catering and Hospitality.
“Laities of today laugh at me because it took me 9 years to become a Sous Chef. The reason why I took so long was to make sure I cover everything, I made sure I perfect my skillset so I could be confident in it,” said Keanon. He says each black button on his chef’s jacket represents 1000 hours of work.
Keanon says learning was difficult because he suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder. This motivated him to give cooking classes at the Mitchell’s Plain School of Skills to other children with learning disabilities. The school’s teaching method includes 75% practical work and 25% theory.
So many highlights, so many more goals
Keanon has worked at several restaurants in and around Cape Town in an effort to gain experience and skills as a chef. He has also had an opportunity to be an in-flight chef at Etihad Airways where he served celebrities like Sir Paul McCartney, Coldplay and The Fast and Furious actress, Michelle Rodriquez.
One of his dreams came true when he was offered his own regular slot on the Expresso Morning Show. He appeared on the show thirty-three times. Keanon has also been on various radio shows like Bush Radio, Heart FM and Goodhope FM to discuss his journey as a chef.
The highlights haven’t stopped, “Recently I had my first appearance in the Pick n Pay Fresh Living magazine,” he says with so much pride.
Keanon’s Kitchen launched in April 2017 with the help of his friend and colleague, Wayne Harris. At the launch, hosted at the Strandfontein Civic Centre, a three-course meal was served to fifty invited guests.
Keanon’s Kitchen is a mobile restaurant. The chef himself cooks for you in the comfort of your own home. He creates a personalised menu according to your budget. 90% of the food is prepared in his kitchen, the rest is presented in your home. Keanon introduces each dish and talks you through it while it’s being served.
The business offering has expanded with a beverage pairing. The pairing has alcoholic or non-alcoholic options. Last year October, Keanon’s Kitchen collaborated with Woodstock Brewery in a successful food and beer pairing.
Keanon’s Kitchen can be found on social media and operates from his hometown, Strandfontein.
He says his favourite dish to prepare is curry, inspired by his mother who, according to him makes the best curry in the world. He even went on to say, “I have tasted curry in Malaysia, Singapore, India and even Thailand, but my mom’s curry is still the best.”
Coming home, giving back
Keanon has travelled all around the world, but his goal has always been to open his own restaurant in Strandfontein where he grew up. He wants to inspire young people. He wants to set an example of positivity and success, especially as a young Coloured man.
Keanon ended the conversation with, “It doesn’t matter whether I am in Sydney, Abu Dhabi or Paris, I am from Strandfontein! People need to be proud of where they come from. Where I come from doesn’t determine my outcome.”