One of the most popular dishes on my menu is Bunnychow with the Mince Beef and Mrs Ball’s filling. Obviously one of the main questions I get asked is “what is bunny chow?” followed by “what is Mrs Ball’s?” We’ll come back to what is Bunnychow another time.
Today I want to focus on Mrs Ball’s.
Mrs Ball’s is a traditional Chutney that is served with most South African dishes, Curries, Borewors, Braai, and anything you fancy really. It can uplift a dish and adds a nice balance particularly with hot food.
I love Mrs Ball’s as an accompaniment to my food and I also love the name as I feel that I am also Mrs Ball’s why???
So many times when I am at an event or food festival individuals have approached me or a member of my team and asked where my husband is? When asked “why?”, it’s because they want to know where the Owner of the business is. The first time this happened, I was shocked and stunned, to be honest appalled that in 2017 (was the first time) people still assume that the Man is the business owner. I don’t think they ever mean to be insulting they just for some reason assume. However, I am always respectfully polite, although silently fuming inside, give a warm smile and feel that I have to educate individuals into understanding that in 2019 – Women are successful, Women are the business owners, Women are able to make high level decisions and Women can take responsibility for earning their own money.
Now don’t get me wrong I am very grateful for all of the support and advice my husband Alex gives me, and he does a lot of the logistical background work, lifting and moving, packing the car, electrics, fetching and carrying so that I can focus on all of the other elements of the business. Also taking on the role at the weekend of Primary Career to the kids whilst I am out trading. Also to ALL of the men I work with on a daily basis in the Street Food world who share their experience and advise me on areas that is not my area of expertise.
Bokkie is my business that was created from my initial concept, I put my heart and sole into it EVERYDAY, I’ve made mistakes and learnt along the way, and will continue to grow and achieve day by day. I started with a camping stove, table, banner, and a favour from a friend to give me a helping hand.
It started as a Side hustle, for over 2 years I was juggling a Full Time stressful Managers position in Finance, a mother to 2 wonderful girls, and a Wife that wanted to spend time with her husband and family but also wanted to grow and develop her business, her passion. I sacrificed a lot, time with my family, sleep, socialising with friends to build my business from my dream and passion. There was many times when I felt like giving up, there have been arguments, a lot of tears and often just that feeling of sheer exhaustion, but I love it!! 2.5 years later we now have 2 units we can trade from, 6 members of fantastic staff, over 20 different dishes, 2 Great Taste awards, and a fairly established brand in the local area. With every intention to keep growing and developing the business and living the dream!!
All these things do not happen over night, you need grit, determination, have no fear of rejection and often just put yourself out there and see what happens. Never move too far from the core values of your business and what you stand for. For me it was always important that the food was homemade, using local produce, artisan breads, authentic recipes and imported spices.
So to all of the Women/Girls out there, go for it!! Get out there and realise your dream, do not let anyone stop you, if it doesn’t work learn from it and try another direction. You can do this!!
To those individuals who want to ask about the Man Behind the business, remember it takes balls, grit and determination don’t underestimate us women – there are more Mrs Ball’s out there than you think!!!