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Words: Kit Heathcock Images: Supplied

The JPN Concept Store is a collaboration between three entrepreneurial businesses, Kitchen Samurai for hand-forged chefs’ knives, Waza shop for Japanese daily-use goods and tools, and Setamono Tableware for ceramics. Together they offer a range of quality products sourced directly from Japan. The focus is on products for individuals and businesses alike, with a strong emphasis on individuality, quality and durability. Neil van Rensburg of Kitchen Samurai tells us about opening the new store in Salt River.

How did Kitchen Samurai start?

I have always had a keen interest in Asian, and especially Japanese, food and culture. I was working as a chef and the traditional Japanese hand-crafted knives were hard to find in South Africa. I eventually ordered myself a hand-forged Japanese knife, made by a blacksmith with generations of perfecting the art of knife-making in his family. From this passion for Japanese craftsmanship, beautiful design, and having the sharpest knife you can find, Kitchen Samurai was born.

Why did you choose this area to set up shop?

The development in Salt River that we moved into is brand new, and the area is also still developing. The rental is much more affordable, compared to the CBD for instance. With this being an up-and-coming area, I believe we have a head start getting in first.

How did you find your premises?

Darrin Morrisby from Setamono approached me and Botha Kruger from Waza to open the JPN Concept Store, with the idea of displaying all our different offerings under one roof. We met at the shop when it was merely a shell, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Why are the premises ideally suited to your business?

It is an ideal base to showcase our knives to chefs (which there are many of in Cape Town and surrounds), home cooks, and knife enthusiasts alike.

Who are your neighbours?

We are surrounded by Dando Reserve Coffee shop, Loaves by Madame Baker, Food Jams, Table Seven, a photography studio, and a hot yoga studio, among others.

How many people visit your business each day?

As it’s still a developing area, there aren’t many free-flowing feet yet. We do, however, have customers coming into the shop daily and since the opening mid-October, there has been an increase of visitors week by week. Traffic into the shop has also largely been driven by social media posts, word of mouth and online inquiries, resulting in an actual visit to the shop.

Do you have any expansion plans?

We’re in the process of expanding our knife offering, as well as adding a sharpening service. We would eventually like to have a free-standing Kitchen Samurai store, with different knife displays, sharpening stations, and a knife-testing section.

Do you operate online as well?

We started off as an online shop only and the retail space has really been an exciting expansion thus far.

What’s your most popular item?

Our Masakage range is very popular at the moment. They take a long time to be specially made for us, so they are limited in numbers. Masakage knives are designed by chefs, handmade by master blacksmiths and hand-sharpened to give you the sharpest knife for your kitchen, knives to fall in love with.

Kitchen Samurai
071 318 7793

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