Business

The Kanalevu Bure Set to Open in Suva Soon

The Kanalevu Bure will open in March at the Fiji Sports Council Complex, Laucala Bay Rd, Suva. Owned and managed by Frank and Vui Saketa, the couple have grown their
28 Feb 2021 15:53
The Kanalevu Bure Set to Open in Suva Soon
The Kanalevu Kitchen owners Vui and Frank Saketa during a recent tasting soiree to introduce The Kanalevu Kitchen signature dishes for The Kanalevu Bure, Suva.

The Kanalevu Bure will open in March at the Fiji Sports Council Complex, Laucala Bay Rd, Suva.

Owned and managed by Frank and Vui Saketa, the couple have grown their business or Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) from strength to strength.

Kanalevu Kitchen’s (KLK) was born from a need that Mrs Saketa had in 2017 to get something more than her routine eight to five job.

Fast forward to 2020, now they are expanding with the assistance of their team.

The couple have been married for 14 years and counting with two children; Makaio, aged 14 and Emily-Charis aged 12.

Mr Saketa hails from Viseisei, Vuda with maternal links to Jioma, Kadavu and Mrs Saketa hails from Lawaki, Nakaseleka, Kadavu with maternal links to Malha’a, Rotuma.

Below is a excerpt of an interview with the couple:

Tell us a bit about Kanalevu and the inspiration behind it?

Frank: Kanalevu Kitchen’s inception was born from a need that Vui had in 2017 to get something more than the routine of an 8-5 job. Vui took the lead full operation of the business in March 2018.

Vui: Initially the decision to leave a full time job was for financial freedom and the ability to control or have control over my schedule. I felt like working an 8-5 job was like a vicious cycle, with a monotonous schedule so I decided to start a business.

It was daunting at first because of the risks associated with giving up a steady income. Food was a natural choice because in my family, there’s always some func­tion and reason for us to gather and fellowship and we were always in the kitchen churning out good food.

I’m the eldest in a family of seven girls, so between my mum and aunt, we were exposed to good soulful cooking, all the time. We were spoilt! We started out taking orders for coconut pies, which have been one of our most sought after Sunday des­serts from family and friends.

And just looking at how much interest there was in just that one product we de­cided to go out on a limb and try providing catering services specifically to corpo­rate organisations. ANZ Bank (my former employer) was the very first corporate organisation that engaged our services and we have never looked back since.

Frank: In June 2020, right in the middle of the pandemic, my position at the bank became redundant and I joined the business full-time. It could have been a scary time.

But Vui had already shown two years before when she left her full time job to start KLK that it does have to be as frightening.

Sure there were challenges but we took them in our stride and got on with the job of being creative, being innovative and finding our place in the market and work­ing hard at it.

A lot of what we do is a labour of love, we enjoy putting a smile on people’s faces and being a small part of meaningful occasions that people celebrate, as well as making connections with customers. That is ultimately what inspires us, that Bula spirit. Bula to us is that spirit, that life and love that flows between people when there is a gathering of families, of teams or as friends. In our Pacific cultures food plays a large part in any meeting of people, so our work has been about sharing that Bula through food.

We understand that you started off with your catering business now you have ex­panded to The Kanalevu Bure. Tell us a bit the concept behind The Kanalevu Bure?

As a catering business we noticed that a lot of the times, our customers or people in general when hosting an event would look for a venue, and then look for a ca­terer to provide their services.

The idea behind The Kanalevu Bure was for us to be able to provide both, a venue as well as in-house catering without us having to deal with the logistics of planning transportation of equipment and food etc.

The Kanalevu Bure is versatile in the sense that we could host a variety of events from intimate dinners, birthdays and weddings to offsite workshops, business meetings, cocktails and even entertainment events like concerts, fashion shows and product launches.

The Laucala Bay area is unique because depending on which part of the sporting calendar we are in, the venue can be very quiet and perfect for corporate events and yet at night turn into quite the social hub.

We have a network of partner SMEs operating in the events and lifestyle sector so there is no shortage of services we can provide from The Kanalevu Bure.

There is a shortage of affordable open air spaces in the Suva area where the at­mosphere is laid back and relaxing and allows customers the space to enjoy good food, music and the space to talanoa and enjoy Bula moments.

Our goal is to create that space at The Kanalevu Bure where people can share Bula through food.

Tell us a bit about the menu offered at the Kanalevu Bure?

We are in the process of finalising our menus for the Bure, but people can expect a good selection of meals that highlight the taste, quality and abundance of local produce. Some of our signature dishes are food innovations that combine popular international cuisine with local twists created by our talented kitchen crew.

There is so much life and health in what we have in our own country and we want to serve that at The Kanalevu Bure.

In the coming weeks, The Kanalevu Bure will churn out good espresso coffee. Thanks to a great partnership with international suppliers we can get in some great coffee beans and the best espresso machines for our Barista who has vast experience. An assortment of popular pastries from our dessert graze tables will accompany our hot beverage selections.

nOur operating days will be 7.30am-3pm Tuesday – Saturday.

In light of COVID-19 what three lessons you’ve learnt as an SME?

A few key things COVID-19 has taught us are to be adaptable, resilient & innova­tive.

The pandemic has also been a blessing in the sense that it’s testing our capabili­ties. We’re thinking outside the box a lot more, and pushing boundaries around innovation and efficiencies as well as identifying opportunities and gaps that we can fill through other business opportunities.

Feedback: maraia.vula@fijisun.com.fj

Note: Photos from Navneet Narayan / www.nstudiosfiji.com



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