Interview: Molly from Turambe Shoppe and Calafia Cafe

Molly from Turambe Shoppe

Molly Parker is the brains behind Turambe Shoppe, one of my favourite restaurants in Kigali. She’s also part of the team that runs Calafia Cafe in Gisenyi, another wonderful place! She’s a registered dietician and lover of healthy, fresh food and I’m very thankful for her work on opening these two great places! Read on for more about her food journey in Rwanda. You can learn more about either place on the Turambe Shoppe and Calafia Cafe Facebook pages.

Can you tell us about Turambe Shoppe?

Turambe is a quick, ‘to-go’ style spot where you can come and grab lunch in less than 5 minutes. We stock our fridges daily with fresh salads, soups, dips, smoothies, etc. Just recently, we started opening at 7am, to offer clients a hot cup of coffee, muffins and/or a breakfast burrito. We are open from 7am to 7pm, Monday to Saturday.

You’ve filled a gap in the market by offering healthy meals. Why was this important to you?

As an registered dietician, part of my mission is to better the health of the population I am working in. After being in Rwanda for 9 months, I realised the true lack of healthy, fast food in Kigali. My hope is that Turambe is not only a place you can come to eat something healthy, but that you can learn about healthy food and portions through our menu items, and in the future through more workshops and cooking classes.

What are some of your favourite meals in Kigali, including at Turambe Shoppe?

Favorite meals in Kigali… oh so many! Basically anything on the menu at Poivre Noir could be considered a favorite — but especially their steak with blue cheese sauce. Other favourites include the Greek yogurt with granola at Inzora Cafe, the mixed meat/veggie platter at Habesha Ethiopian Restaurant and the Chicken Reuben sandwich from Iriba Bar at the Marriott.

At Turambe Shoppe, my favourite is a warm bowl of our vegan lentil soup with a cornbread muffin crumbled over the top. It reminds me so much of home! But on hot days, nothing goes down like a Pineapple Kale Smoothie! 🙂

Can you tell us more about Calafia?

Calafia is a California style cafe known for its fun vibes, excellent coffee, sandwiches, tapas, salads and cocktails. Located in Gisenyi, it’s the perfect spot for brunch after a morning on the beach, lunch after the pool or a fun candlelit dinner out with friends or significant other.

What have been some of your favourite aspects of running your businesses?

I’ve always been one to love solving a puzzle or challenge. (Most) everything about running a (restaurant) business is a challenge. Add in a funky food supply chain in Rwanda and you’ve got some really fun challenges! In my opinion, the personal and professional growth that comes from owing a business here in Rwanda is unparalleled to what I would experience back home in the US.

What are some challenges you’ve faced so far?

Food supply chain. Its our desire to use as many locally sourced ingredients as possible, but for some of our items, we need to use imported products, which can be crazy hard to find some times. Customers love consistency, and it pains me when we can’t have a product for a few days because we can’t source an ingredient that is needed.

What does the future have in store for Turambe Shoppe and Calafia?

At Turambe, expect for us to be scheduling more nutrition workshops and classes, which we are really excited about. At Calafia, be looking out for fun events, such as our bonfire nights or movie nights!

(Photo by Callie and Jaison Sterling from Sterling Imageworks)

About Kirsty

A Canadian who left in 2001 to wander around the world in search of sun, beautiful views and goat brochettes. Found Kigali in July 2010 and it seems like the perfect fit. I expect to be here until I get kicked out for defiantly walking on the grass while wearing flip flops.