A local chef, DJ and radio personality, Lucas Ashipala (28), professionally known as DJ Oros has told Entertainment Now! that he strongly believes the franchising of international food outlets in Namibia is a total rip off.
He has urged local restaurateurs to support homegrown suppliers.
“As a chef, I strongly believe franchising an international outlet into the country is a total rip off because the more franchises we bring here, the more money we are taking out there because there are royalty fees that need to be paid plus tax. Don’t try and franchise from anywhere unless what you are venturing into is a profitable outlet or which is big and needed in the country,” said Ashipala.
He said he is willing to offer assistance to struggling restaurants, which would like to set their outlets up to standards, especially when it comes to menus and prizes.
The Oshakati born entrepreneur wears many hats as a private chef, Buzz-Fi radio personality and being a DJ at popular hangout spots and events across the country.
DJ Oros the chef
Ashipala has credited his Swedish stepfather for introducing him to the kitchen. “My step-father exposed me to cooking around 2005 and after he passed, the cooking continued with a family friend and one of the best chefs in the country Tala Moongo, who continued inspiring me to take cooking seriously,” recalled Ashipala.
An entrepreneur who also saw the potential and faith in Ashipala is Loide Zaaruka, who decided to rope him in when she set up Oshana Mall. “Loide Zaaruka invested in me because of the passion I had and still have for cooking and when she opened Oshana Mall, I got the ropes around that,” mentioned Ashipala.
He has noticed a lack of standard when it comes to local eateries. “If you look at the hotels or restaurants which are owned by internationals compared to local eateries owned by locals, our training is substandard and that should change,” he vehemently stated.
He added: “Local outlets should try by all means to conceptualise into eateries that are more marketable and offer consistent products of quality and availability. Branding should be there at all times, especially on packaging when offering take-aways because that’s what sells.”
He said restaurateurs should try to diversify menus as most of them serve the same food, which doesn’t set them apart. “I can tell you most of the restaurants’ menus serve wings and chips, beefsteak, marathon chicken, prawns and pizza,” he said.
Being a private chef has enabled him to create everlasting ambience and experience to his customers as he has presented them with French and Italian cuisines, to mention a few. “I sell not just the amazing food but the experience, ambience, exquisite type of atmosphere, I did it in the north and it was quite successful,” he informed.
DJ Oros the decks spinner
What made him have an interest in music was because of his twin brother Don Kamati who was largely influenced by their sister Lady May Africa.
“I love blues and jazz. I always felt bad because my brother had a studio. So, I started downloading virtual DJ and playing music and when Don heard, he said this music is so nice, it tastes like Oros and he loved Oros so much, that’s how the name Oros came about. I didn’t like that name but people kept on calling me that so it grew in me,” said Ashipala.
With the urge to pursue music by Simon Andjaba of Oluzizi where it all started, Ashipala has credited DJ Ex (Alex Samuel) and DJ Bonny for pushing him to continue his musical journey.
The external influence from his mother who was in a choir and a songwriter pushed him to continue spinning the decks, although his mother who seems to disapprove the hustle from the beginning spanked him.
“My mom spanked me the African way because she disapproved of me doing that but the passion for music was there because of her and weird enough my mom used to write songs and she was in a choir as well,” he reminisced.
DJ Oros the radio personality
It all started in 2006 with Uitani ChildLine Radio when he got exposed to the airwaves. “We got recruited by the radio as young presenters and that’s the training that got me here, I was trained by DJ Desertstorm (Desiderius Shikoyeni),” recalled Ashipala.
He said: “The best vocal coach to have was Natasha Lamola and we were at the station until we graduated, from there when we turned 18 years old that’s my how foundation started when it comes to radio,” he stated.
Food for thought
“I have wasted a lot of time, I used to get well-paid bookings and I would leave all the money I earned at the venues I performed instead of using it to boost my other crafts because by now I would probably be having some eateries by now,” realised Ashipala.