Cooking up Inspiration: Max Mqadi

Image source:
Image source:


Ever dream of owning your own restaurant? I have! This month’s Cooking up Inspiration Max Mqadi, owner of Durban’s most popular Tavern-style restaurant in Umlazi, turned his vision into a reality… a pretty successful reality at that!


Max’s Lifestyle is a truly South African Tavern restaurant in an upmarket trendy area, where all folk (from near and far) are able to enjoy the traditional “kasie” (ethnic township) culture and feast on a local favourite, shisa nyama (cooked meat) such as homemade boerwors, steamed bread & chakalaka; lamb chops, pap & salsa and chicken wings with hot sauce. “I was inspired by the vision I had for this place and I knew I was not going to give up until it became a reality,” shares Max. Max’s Lifestyle is not only known for the authentic ethnic food, but also for their Sunday Sessions where top DJ’s entertain a varied and appreciative audience with good music and dancing.

Max's Lifestyle Restaurant
Max’s Lifestyle Restaurant
Shisa Nyama
Shisa Nyama


Having started small, Max has had to make major adjustments and evolve with the expansion and popularity of the restaurant. “It hasn’t been an easy journey, but my focus and discipline have really aided in the success story of my business. It all started off small and it was easy to manage, then as it expanded and got more popular, challenges arose, but all were manageable because I knew what I wanted and I was determined to get it,” shares Max.


As the restaurant has grown over the years, so has its influence, “My career highlights have been to see the prosperity of Max’s Lifestyle and to see the change I have inflicted on many people I have come across,” says Max. The future looks even brighter for Max’s, especially with all the business and food industry people who have and continue supporting its growth; “I once met up with Alan Vels to discuss the expansion of Max’s Lifestyle by adding a hotel… Just by talking to someone who has been in the hospitality business for as long as him I was just enlightened by everything we discussed.”


Max Mqadi has a good piece of advice for those brave enough to take the leap of faith and pursue their dreams and visions; “stay focused…it’s not as easy as it looks.” Let’s face it – it isn’t; I agree! It is however, worth it!


Quick Questions:

1. If you’re not working, what do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I watch soccer and I love taking care of our beautiful garden at home
2. What is your favourite meal to cook at home?
I don’t cook
3. What is your favourite kitchen appliance?
The fridge as I have to keep it full (chuckles)
4. What is your motto in the kitchen?
Always leave it how you found it, clean!
5. Who is your chef hero/ business hero?
My business hero is Irvin Khoza
6. Complete this sentence: Food is…
Food is my business