Two months ago, Chunky Kitchen Cafe opened its doors downtown. Located on Pandora Street at Fan Tan Alley, this little cafe boasts quick service, fresh food and affordable prices. With the pandemic still a part of our lives, small businesses, such as Chunky Kitchen Cafe, need our help to stay open and survive the financial difficulties of our present circumstances.
Chunky Kitchen Cafe
Chunky Kitchen Cafe is a new business to downtown Victoria, run by Chef Nicolas “Chunky” Onwaeze. Opened only two months ago, this restaurant takes flavours and dishes from around the world and creates affordable food for everyone to enjoy. The mission statement reads, “We provide access to the privilege of affordable, exquisite meals.”
What is your background?
Chef Chunky has professional culinary training from Iceland, a Bachelor’s Degree (Hons.) in Hospitality Management, and is working on his Master’s Degree in Professional Management. He has lived and worked in twenty-two countries and has used cuisine from all over the world to create his menu.
Chunky Kitchen is also a catering company. They provide catering services for weddings, corporate events, and parties. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, much of their business, for this year, has been cancelled.
What made you want to open your business?
The cafe came into being because of its chef’s passion for bringing food to people. He recalls something his dad told him, “Do what other people don’t do.” He wanted to share his love for cooking with downtown Victoria and believes that good food should be affordable.
What makes your business special?
“I think there are a couple of factors. The first factor is the ability for me to create my international experience from my twenty-something countries, squeeze them into one small menu. We live in a time where people are not privileged to travel, and here I am bringing this cuisine right to your doorstep and all for a very affordable price. I’m giving this to you for you to experience it and you don’t have to go there. For example, one item on my menu is Ratatouille. Ratatouille is French vegan or vegetarian cuisine. It’s high class. It’s for the prestigious French people and I am bringing it right to you. I have something called Scotch Egg. Scotch Egg used to be a snack for the kings and queens of the 18th century. I’m bringing it right fresh to you. This is real Scotch Egg. That is what makes me special. I’m bringing this cuisine for very affordable prices right here downtown Victoria for people to consume at their own pleasure. That is me right there.”
What inspires you?
“I think what inspires me, if you go to my website, I say, my motto of my company, is I believe good food should be affordable to everyone, gourmet food. So I kind of I inspire myself to create this model for people to taste good food. Because we live in a world where most people work a lot, they don’t have the time to cook food. Because most people have two, three jobs and even when they’re not working, they have other obligations. So this is my pact to help alleviate people’s culinary stress or problems. In addition to that, what inspires me is the passion I have of cooking and culinary potential to create my personal satisfaction. I feel the most happy when I satisfy somebody’s culinary need.”
“You know, I think there are personally two answers to that question. The first would be that was the opportunity I had. And the second one would be downtown in every society has always been a huge advantage in the culinary business. I have the opportunity to be downtown plus I know the value of being downtown.”
What advice would you give to others who want to open a restaurant?
“It goes beyond even restaurants. My advice would be, do not allow people to decide your destiny for you. What I am trying to say is I believe people should take a leap of faith. Cause nothing comes easy, right? Failure is a step of success.
And I think so many people told me not to do what I did and I’m happy I did what I did. You know, at the end of the day, people don’t have malicious intention, people just tell you the things because they have doubt in themselves. What they do is they transfer the doubt to you, but it’s only you who can self-convince yourself and it all depends on what you want to do.
Cause if you look at yourself, for example, I will take this question to a field that I do best. A menu. Let’s say I want to write a particular item on my menu. There are a couple of factors I would consider. Do I have the equipment? Do I have the skills? Do I have the time factor? It’s called menu engineering. You look at a couple of factors before you place an item on your menu.
The same thing comes to human life. You look at yourself. You question yourself and say, can I do this or not? Everything depends on you. If you think you cannot do it, then I would suggest not doing it. If a person doesn’t think, he or she, can do it, after you have consciously and critically considered the positivity and negativity, I think the illusion that people should not jump into the philosophy of everything is good, everything is fine. No, you should come to reality, and say, this is this and this is this. You weigh your options. And if a person does that and then the person makes a decision. Then the person should know better what you and I know. So whatever the person comes up with would be the best decision. I just feel that a decision with critical thinking and go for it.”
How to find Chunky Kitchen:
Chunky Kitchen Cafe is located at 101-3 Fan Tan Alley. It can be reached easily from Pandora Street. Check out their website at www.chunkykitchen.com or give them a call at 250-734-1020! They are also on UberEats and SkiptheDishes so you can order delicious cuisine from home!