Everyone in Knysna who has eaten a Wicked Waffle agrees that it’s the best. If you’re new to town, then there’s one of the top 10 things to do in Knysna:) I caught up to owner, and well known local, Gino Adriaensen, who has recently started to franchise his lip-smackingly-good creation.
WM: Like several business people have, you started at a market. Why? And why, specifically, the Friday Night Market at Montessori?
Gino: It’s a nice place to be…and it’s good to support the Montessori School.
WM: Your waffle options are quite unique to South Africa. What are they?
Gino: I do 100%, traditional waffles ( as made in Belgium and Holland).
This makes it unique for South Africa. There are more than 27 different waffles in Belgium and I do just 2 of these so as not too confuse customers too much; the “Brussels waffle” and the “Luikse waffle”. I do a third kind which I call the “Belgian snack waffle” – this one is baked with sugar and vanilla. You can eat it cold or hot. And they last for a month.
WM: How did you decide what recipes to use?
Gino: The recipe came with my original gas waffle machine which was built in 1895. Did you know that South Africa did not even had gasmaschiens at that time [WM - I had no idea].
WM: Our market is flooded with chemical food (even oranges made orange). What are your thoughts on the demands of modern society versus “back-to-basics”?
Gino: Honestly, I don’t try to think about it too much. I just focus on what I do.
WM: But you do go the more traditional and natural route?
Gino: That is the only way I produce my product – with fresh, real food!
WM: It’s a big decision (and requires a lot of confidence) to start a franchise. What prompted you to do so?
Gino: I call my concept a franchise but I wish that there was a better name for it. My dream is to teach South Africans the wonderful taste of real waffles – not the so-called Belgian waffles found in supermarkets (that’s simply abusing a name for the sake of sales).
WM: How has the response been?
Gino: Good. The business is inexpensive and adds a nice, extra income for a family…or even a proper salary for an individual.
WM: Where can the public find you?
Gino: There is a lot of information on my website – www.wickedwaffle.co.za. We even do custom made, wicked waffle concepts. I just give a idea of cost on the website.
WM: Which wicked waffle is your personal favourite and what toppings should accompany it to make your day a happy one?
Gino: I eat 3 Snack Waffles (Luikse Wafels) per weel, often with scrambled egg and bacon – yummy. Or, when rhubarb is in season, I make a rhubarb and strawberry composite and put it on a Brussel’s Waffle with cream.