After only 3 years of passionately cooking and experimenting with flavors and dishes, Merveille Musungay now owns the start-up catering company `Enjoyments´, offering both Danish and African dishes influenced mainly by Congolese cuisine. She explains how food has always been a life-changing passion of hers but that cooking remained out of the limelight until she turned 25.
“I view the enjoyment of food as a really valuable part of my life. So when I moved out and began living alone, I had to take matters into my own hands,” says Merveille Musungay, smiling.
She adds how she believes her 3-year process of developing catering-worthy personal flavoring techniques and cooking skills originated from something simple yet fundamental – her love for food and what it brings.
“What I love about cooking is how it brings people together, how it can lift our mood, and how we enjoy ourselves and each other’s company in its presence.”
Following her heart and with encouragement from her mother, Merveille Musungay took the plunge and joined catering circles. Her flair for food has also helped her through rough times, juggling her master’s studies with her work as an entrepreneurial businesswoman.
“Creating something you love from an existing passion is so rewarding in terms of both your career and personal development,” she exclaims.
A mental breakdown on wheels due to heavy patty demand
But Merveille Musungay’s life as a master’s student and business owner is sometimes hectic. She describes the 6-month start-up period of her business as being among the most stressful challenges she has ever attempted. Driving around with her special take-away deliveries during coronavirus times also added its fair share of exhaustion.
“I remember sitting in my car thinking: ‘This is it, I will go home now and close down my website’. My normal set-up of shopping for groceries, making the food as well as personally delivering the meals became insanely stressful during that period,” she says.
Sometimes you just have to wing it, have some faith, and believe in yourself, your passion and your path
But that busy period fueled the continuously intense interest in Merveille’s catering, and soon her patties were selling like hot cakes.
“My customers seem to have forgotten the other treats on my menu. I rarely receive an order for Danish food, even though many of my customers are Danish. It is really evident that urban Danes are developing a taste for African culture, its colorful cuisine and delicious flavors,” she grins.
She explains that the combination of the two cuisines she offers represents inclusivity as well as a celebration of who she is and her own love of both cultures.
Merveille Musungay describes how, when creating `Enjoyments´, she was unable to see many similarities in the food itself, but saw many in the way the two cultures cherish gatherings, with food sharing the focus.
Her business model is designed to cater for groups of more than five people.
“I wanted to make it possible for people to also use my service for everyday dining with friends, and not just for big annual festive occasions.”
An upcoming Patty-Pølsehorn switch
As a CBS graduate, she explains that the insight she learned from her university courses is now driving her career as an entrepreneur, but she also believes the process of self-establishment and self-realization should come naturally.
Merveille Musungay is now tailoring her studies to serve her business more directly. Rather than seeking insight into the process of creating a start-up, she is now taking electives in marketing law, social media and taxes.
“Choosing for yourself is probably the best advice I can give, together with doing what you cherish, of course. I have always known that I want to build something in my own name, but it hasn’t occurred to me earlier that this would be my career path.”
She explains how she has always followed her own lead. This has included a commitment to finishing a three-year bachelor program in 2 years and her current determination to get her bestselling patties out onto the market for more people to try. She hopes it will spark growing demand resulting in recognition among snack consumers nationwide.
“I hope lots of people will enjoy picking up a patty at the canteen or at their nearby 7-eleven on their way home from school. Just as Danes look forward to an afternoon ‘sausage horn’ snack!” she says, laughing.
With the plan of remaining a solo founder with occasional help for the near future, Merveille Musungay embraces that she often has no clue what she is doing.
“Sometimes you just have to wing it, have some faith, and believe in yourself, your passion and your path,” she says.