Today we’d like to introduce you to Abudujannah Soud.
Hi Abudujannah, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
Kafe Mamai is a fusion of African and Caribbean food based on my interpretation of what I have experienced throughout my love for food, work and evolving with time. I keep learning and growing as the idea is to bring an experience to my customers, a friend of mine and I started Love and Joy in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the early 2000s and what we did was flee market on the weekends and gradually graduated to festivals and so forth. Fast forward we went different directions later as he started a restaurant and I opened an eco-lodge with a restaurant back home i.e Lamu island, Kenya. The situation changed again and I came back to help run the restaurant in New Mexico. In 2016 summer, I moved to Salt Lake with the idea to start my own restaurant, unfortunately, the hope and promise of the location did not come through. My disappointment lead me to the doors of spice kitchen through a friend who knew about the program, and the journey started. With the birth of Kafe Mamai, a catering offer started while all along trying to find a location something am still working on, by 2019 the University of Utah was looking for a halal source for their Muslim students and the idea of a food truck was what we came up with to be the best solution to all parties. Ever since we have been working tirelessly to compete and bring the best out of us for the people who take the risk to try what we do. Nothing is easy that is worth something, and I don’t expect it to be that way as I keep challenging myself over and over so hopefully, I can bring out the best of me to the food and the experience. Am grateful for every experience so far good or bad, hard and easy as that is just part of the growth.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Smooth road? Nothing worth anything comes easy and if it does triple check. Learning to navigate a food truck from a restaurant perspective was the hardest for me, from forgetting stuff in the kitchen to forgetting to close the fridge and arriving at the location with nothing to sell as everything fell out and you have a sea of mixed food and sauces. With a new idea how you over prep and finish lunch with only $50 in sales while you have spent thousands. So it’s definitely a journey worth remembering but I keep insisting anything worth something doesn’t come easy.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I grew up around art and a strong sense of culture, with food being the pinnacle or centerpiece so to speak for everything. So making food for me and feeding people is not just about money but more of sharing who I am, where am from, and what I value, sometimes I acknowledge that it might not make sense from a business perspective but the stubbornness of making things right is what I view as my way of success.
We love surprises, fun facts and unexpected stories. Is there something you can share that might surprise us?
Everyone knows me for food but they are usually surprised when they see my art or when I can pick their accents or start speaking their language. Just the other night a basque came to the truck and I remember a few phrases and they were just stunned. For the most part, my ability to communicate with children or animals shocks me.
- Appetizers run from $7
- Sandwiches $10
- Entrees $12
- Desserts $5
- Instagram: @Kafe_mamai
- Facebook: @kafemamai
First three photos by Moisesmollina