Kizito Wademi is a man of many talents. A seasoned marketing and sales executive turned successful entrepreneur, he is also a Christian minister with a gift for cooking tasty and health-conscious collard greens. KW Collards is the trademark name for a vegetarian- and vegan-friendly collard green product that was created by Wademi in 2009, and since its inception, this unique and flavorful concept has been taking the food industry by storm. One hundred percent free of any animal fat, byproducts, trans-fat, artificial ingredients and artificial preservatives, KW Collards represents a genre of soul food that's as good for the body as it is for the soul. This tasty new product can be found in all Healthy Home stores in Davidson and Charlotte, the Bradford store in Huntersville, as well as the Common Market locations on South Tryon and Commonwealth.
Creative Loafing: What was your inspiration and process in creating KW Collards?
Kizito Wademi: Six years ago, I was a recently divorced bachelor and I had to cook for myself. I devised a way to cook my greens in a way that appeals to me, and I didn't think much about it until almost two years ago when I met my wife Patricia. One day, she tasted my fresh pot of greens and claimed that it was better than her mother's. I ended up cooking a big pot of it for our rehearsal dinner, and people just loved it. That's when we knew the product would sell, and on our honeymoon, we devised a business plan on how could we put this product on the market.
When you think of collard greens, what comes to mind? Was there a specific reason behind the conception of the healthy collard green?
When I think of collard greens, I think of a dish that is very versatile. It can be a side dish or be by itself on a bed of rice with cornbread. There are endless possibilities in the way you can use collard greens. They are also packed with nutrition. When you put meat and animal fat into it, you are neutralizing the nutritional value of the greens. I definitely wanted to create a healthy collard green. For one, I don't eat pork. Where I come from in Kenya, collard greens are a very common staple, but in the U.S., they are usually with meat. I played around with the recipe until I was satisfied with a product that had no animal fat, but had flavor.
Before KW Collards came to be, what was a day in the life of Mr. Kizito Wademi like?
I spent the last 30 years in sales and marketing. Before I came to the USA, I sold pop for Pepsi International. I also worked for two different ad agencies in my country, and I sold computer systems for the hospitality industry. I've been a salesman all my life, and before this product came along, all I did was sell for other people. Now, God has given me my own product to sell.