Q & A - As featured in the Hillcrest Fever

This week we got to catch up with Karoo Kitchen owner Gary Van den Berg as he launches his second Karoo Kitchen in Hillcrest’s Richdens Village Centre.

Gary we are delighted to have a Karoo Kitchen Butchery & Deli in Hillcrest, can you tell us what made you start the Karoo Kitchen brand?

Our passion for good food ultimately is what drove us to open our first store. After eleven years in the meat wholesale industry we realised that Durban people craved a butchery that offered shoppers a lot more than just quality meat. We wanted to give people a unique shopping experience and it’s for this reason that we decided to open a butchery, deli and kitchen concept store in the heart of Durban North in 2009. Our idea was to have a one-stop shop where you could buy a wide range of traditional and speciality meat products as well as artisanal foods, ready-made meals and various cooking items.

Why the name Karoo Kitchen?

Our famous Karoo Lamb is sourced directly from our own abattoir in the Karoo so it seemed fitting to name the store after our ‘hero product’ and our aim to bring the great Karoo to your kitchen!

So you have had a successful store in Durban North for the last seven years, what made you acquire a second store in Hillcrest?

We have been looking to open another store for a while now but we wanted to ensure we found the right location before rushing into anything. When the shop in Richdens Village Centre came up we definitely felt it was the right place for us. Karoo Kitchen has a number of upper highway customers who travel into Durban just to visit our store so we are delighted to now be able to give them a Karoo Kitchen in the heart of Hillcrest. Our hope is that we now are able to grow our client base and our reach across Durban.

Karoo Kitchen Hillcrest officially opened its doors on Friday 21 October, what can customers expect from this shop?

Ultimately our focus is providing our customers with good quality products. It’s for this reason that we partner with a range of fantastic local suppliers. Our Wagyu and pure breed Angus beef is from Netherwood Farm in the Midlands, we have a range of Sala pork products, a selection of Riversmead Chicken products and of course own Karoo Lamb. We also ensure that our deli shelves are lined with artisanal foods and condiments, some of which are unique to our store. We are proud to stock the award winning Karoo Olives, Rio Largo Olive Oil and a selection of good quality Italian cold meats. I think what makes the store even more special is that we have a coffee shop section where you can enjoy a coffee while you shop or even a meal such as our famous steak roll. At Karoo Kitchen we also have a qualified chef that prepares a variety of pre-cooked meals which give our customers even more option when shopping. We are customer focused and our friendly staff try to ensure that your experience with us is always a good one.

You obviously believe staff are important to the success of your stores?

Yes most definitely, Karoo Kitchen is lucky enough to draw from over 35 years of industry experience amongst our senior staff. At Karoo Kitchen we believe in creating a great working environment for our staff and we motivate them to interact with customers and to really enjoy what they do. It gives me great pleasure to see staff share their knowledge of the origin of our meat products or give customers cooking ideas and tips.

It may be too early to ask but what is next for Karoo Kitchen?

I think at this stage we just want to ensure that the Karoo Kitchen Hillcrest store is a success and that we can become the go to butchery and deli in town. After that we will most likely look at starting something up the North Coast or even in Cape Town or Johannesburg but for now our focus is on making this store is a great place for our customers to visit.

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