We’re excited to introduce you to incubator program participant Caroline Musitu! Her new business, Taste of Congo, has been a hit at farmers markets in Renton and Federal Way this summer. Visit her at a farmers market, check out Taste of Congo’s catering menu, and read on for our Q & A with Caroline.
Tell us about your business.
My business is a catering food service. I cook African food — Congolese food. I make samosas, rice with vegetables, goat, chicken, salad, French donuts called beignets, and more.
What inspired you to start this business?
I am from Congo, from Kinshasa, a beautiful city where people like to dance and to eat. There’s lots of parties and celebration. When I was young, my mom used to do catering for weddings, parties, and church; I used to help her make things. But when I came here, my Congolese community would just cook food on their own for events. I said, Why not start a business cooking for them? Special events like weddings happen once in your life, and you have to have food that wows!
What makes you different from other catering companies?
I have the only Congolese food business in the area! Once people try Congolese food, they’ll know it’s good. It’s very fresh and healthy, too.
What do you like best about your work?
When my food makes people happy.
What is something people might be surprised to learn about you or your business?
I’ve cooked since I was 10 years old. When people visited, I’d go to the kitchen and cook for them. My siblings don’t like to cook, but I love it. My mom showed me how to cook, but I like to invent new recipes; I don’t like to do the same thing, I want to keep it fresh and different.
What’s your business’ biggest challenge?
I’m learning how the market works, and how to present Congolese food to people who aren’t Congolese.
What services or programs have been helpful?
Ventures and FIN have helped with the business side: the formal lessons, marketing, calculation, prices.
What would you say to other small food business owners thinking of working with FIN?
FIN are good people to work with; they help us small businesses to get started, grow, and even become big businesses.