The chef at the New Cairo catering company Kozbara is half Italian, so his pasta is al dente. But his specialty is, well, whatever the customer wants.
“We like to customise orders for our clients,” said Kozbara founder Sherif Khalil. “If a client wants sushi, we will make them sushi.”
As an entrepreneur in a rough times, Khalil knows the value of flexibility. When he decided to quit his job as a realtor and go into catering two years ago, he had to sell his house to purchase cooking equipment. He was one of many who chose to strike out on their own after the 25 January Revolution thrust Egypt’s into economic downturn.
“Cooking was something I liked to do,” he said. “At the time it was a big risk.”
For him, the risk paid off. Based in New Cairo’s Fifth Settlement, Kozbara now has two main catering lines, serving corporate and personal events. Personal events include everything from family gatherings to birthdays and weddings, whereas corporate includes company events, dinners or parties.
“If you do something you love, you will manage,” he said.
Kozbara makes international dishes that mainly come from Italian and oriental cuisines, but the company prides itself on customisation. One of the catering company’s most popular options is a pasta station.
The company started with delivery, but switched to catering after a friend asked them to cater a wedding, Khalil said.
“We found it a lot more satisfying,” he said, and it also brought in more money. “So we removed our delivery menu and now focus on catering.”
Clients can either choose from a traditional set menu or work with Khalil and his team on a specific budget, one of the things Khalil says distinguishes Kozbara from other services.
Sometimes, Khalil and his team have to get creative to stay within a client’s budget in order to avoid sacrificing quality.
“We focus on high quality and most importantly value for money,” he said. “It’s always a challenge to do that but that’s our edge.”
“We also help clients with event planning if they need it,” Khalil said.
Whatever the customer wants.