We cook Italian. We talk Italian. We are Italian!
“There is no love sincerer than the love of food.” –George Bernard Shaw
“I went up to Bryanston to meet Claudia Stella who owns and manages The Italian Job Food Emporium. Offering breakfast and lunch as both sit down or grab-and-go options, The Italian Job is an awesome deli with all Italian cold meats and cheeses as well as Italian supermarket offerings.” –Samantha Gounden
Together with first cousin and business partner, Lorenzo Mottalini, The Italian Job is a home away from home where everyone is welcome, and you immediately become a part of the family. Here’s what Claudia had to say:
Hey Claudia, could you tell us about The Italian Job? How did it all begin? What’s the history behind this amazing place you have?
Hi Sam. Ok, so from the beginning… Let’s start with my cousin Lorenzo. He is a renowned chef. He ran the Palazzo hotel kitchen for 5 years and he’s travelled the world. He also ran a mass kitchen and his own restaurant. Me on the other hand…I was in sales and radio. Very corporate. Then into software. And for years, him and I spoke about starting a business together. Why food? Because our love for food came from our family. We love to cook. We realised that there was a need for a deli-vibe in the area. We wanted premises that wasn’t in a shopping centre. Something pet-friendly and with easy access. A typical Italian feel. A familia. A home away from home.
When we began, we were on our own in the game. But we knew that we’d learn. We had to. We built everything by hand. We made boxes. I made the art on the walls. It’s all very personal in here. The certificates on the wall are my late grandfather’s grade 2 certificates. The encyclopaedias here are what I used to research. The plates on the wall, in the front, are my late mum’s plates. Oh, and that chest over there belongs to my grandparents. They travelled overseas with that chest.
Looking back, and the project we took on, it had felt that we’d taken on a 1000-piece puzzle. But everything fell into place.
I’m the front of house and Lorenzo is the back of house. You will see him around. He is a typical chef…you can’t trust a thin chef haha. Him and I make up the team.
What’s your recipe for success?
Both my cousin and I are from simple backgrounds. We don’t have investors. We’ve literally put our savings into this. We’ve built this business with our own hands and our success lies in the fact that we are extremely hard working. We won’t accept failure. If there is a problem with the food, we are there, immediately, to rectify it. Our success boils down to hard work and constant determination.
“A hard day’s work is success!” –Claudia Stella
Why did you choose iKhokha?
We were on the internet all the time. We researched a lot for card machines for our business. We didn’t feel that other financial institutions would look out for us. In fact, we are still waiting for some to respond to us (not even a lie). When we reached out for recommendations, we found out about iKhokha. We contacted you guys and you were there – the very next day. Literally. I deal with Zobs. Now we have a point of contact and that is very important. I pick up the phone and he is there.
What’s your advice to young business owners who are just starting out?
BE THERE. A lot of restaurants are “manager run.” You need to offer that personal service. You are the face of your business, so you need to be there!
How do people get a hold of you?
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