For years we dreamt about a way of living our passion for food and people.
Making delicious food and meeting interesting people are what make husband-and-wife team Reinée and Deon Brand tick. That, and laughing as much as possible along the way. So, to say that they’ve been living their dream running their own cooking school and catering business from their home for the past almost eight years, is very much spot on. In 2011, Reinée took the plunge and left behind 14 years of owning and running a computer curriculum development and training business to pursue her passion for food full time. She started off small, hosting an intimate cooking class for six in the cosy kitchen of her and Deon’s home in Stellenbosch, where she’d share cooking techniques, recipes and whatever hilarious anecdotes happened to be front of mind while everyone huddled around the kitchen island, wine glass in hand. Soon, word got out about the fun, quirky food-and-wine gatherings and more and more classes were getting booked.
In 2013, Deon joined the business full time (although he’d been doing a stellar job as Reinée’s freelance kitchen assistant and wine-glass filler before then), bringing with him years of experience in the hotel-, restaurant- and product-development industries. As a qualified chef and hotel-school graduate, he went about setting up the catering side of the business, which provides its services to everything from private house parties and weddings to sports events and corporate functions.
Fast forward to the present, and Reinée and Deon’s kitchen has been renovated to accommodate 14 foodies “around the counter” at a time – the classes are that popular. In fact, there’s now an average of 180 people coming for cooking classes each month!
The heart of the operation is still very much unchanged though. For Reinée and Deon, it’s all about sharing their love of cooking and inspiring you to think out of the culinary box, all the while making you feel right at home.
Reinée is the founder and CEO of Tamatiestraat She is mainly in charge of the cooking experiences, finances, creative development and the social presence of the business. Her unofficial title is: The Creative Police Officer! Basically she keeps everyone in line while ensuring the creative machine keeps producing exciting solutions. In 1996 she obtained a teaching degree with music as her chosen specialisation. Due to her interest in IT, she did a post grad diploma in Graphic Design and Multimedia at Hirt & Carter. This sent her career into IT and after teaching computers for a year, she bought and managed the Computers 4 Kids Boland Franchise from 1999-2011. After 12 years she felt she needed a new challenge (and a little bit of self- therapy after 10 year of fertility treatments), sold her IT business, and started to cook with a few girls in their small kitchen once a week. In 2012 their miracle son Ben-Daniël was born and completed the “tomato bunch”! The rest is history. “This venture has brought together so many things that I love: creativity, people, teaching and a passion for food! I am so grateful for the people who shared this journey with us over the years and who have made Tamatiestraat a place of coming together for more than just food. Our kitchen is really the heart of our home where Deon, myself & Ben-Daniël also make the best memories as a family - whether we are cooking for ourselves or friends, shooting an Instagram live or building lego around the counter!”
Deon joined the Naval Force in 1991 and completed his Chef's training as part of his time in Simon's Town. He then went on to obtain his Hotel Management diploma while working and managing a few high end restaurants in Cape Town. From 2001-2012 he worked alongside Marcel van der Merwe at Marcel's Frozen Yoghurt as the Product Developer and Operations Manager. He absolutely loved this season of his career, but decided to leave the company after it was sold to international investors. Their loss was our gain when Deon joined Tamatiestraat in 2012 to address the growing demand for classes and caterings. As the COO, he is in charge of the general day-to-day operations of the business, public relations & suppliers and heads up the Catering department of the business with enthusiasm. His unofficial title is: The Passionate Executer! No task or challenge scares him and he aims to ensure every function is the best possible experience for our clients. “The best part of my job is that I get to play with food and (get paid to!) engage with amazing people. I am truly in my element!”
Wilma has been part of the Tamatiestraat team since 2012. She started out as an incredible nanny to our son Ben-Daniël and a real-life cat whisperer. Since then, she has been trained in-house and promoted to the Tamatiestraat kitchen manager (and our prep queen!). She is an indispensable part of the “behind the scenes” operations: setting up and prepping for the cooking classes, arranging flowers, making coffee, calming nerves and singing in the kitchen; always with a “dis nie ‘n probleem nie” attitude. She is the proud mom of Courtney and 2 boys, and the grandmother of another 2 boys! Rich indeed.
Daughter to Wilma, a mother to 2 boys and officially part of the team since 2017. This one dreams big and knows what she wants! Her humour and honesty keeps us all on our toes and when it comes to making sure everything runs smoothly, I recommend you do not go against her. She has blended into all that we are so quickly that we can not even imagine how we have ever managed without her. She is a typical example of the Afrikaans saying: “Dinamiet kom in klein pakkies!” She loves singing, a spicy chicken burger and gives a mean foot massage.