Kathleen_BasilFrom humble beginnings in a Cape Town kitchen sixteen years ago, we are now well on our way to turning Pesto Princess into a world-class company, on one condition:
it must be fun.

We could say a whole lot of heroic stuff about what it means to be world-class, and if you want to know more scroll to the bottom. For now, let’s sum it up in two words:

We care.

We really care, we don’t just pretend to.

We care about everything there is to care about in the realm of business.

Why do we care?

Because we believe that life is too short to eat crap precious… and we want you to make the most of it, by eating delicious, nourishing food that is simple to prepare.


Pesto Princess started out really, really small, from Kathleen’s home kitchen in Observatory, back in 1998. Kathleen wanted to be a professional opera singer (ha-ha), and needed some extra cash to further her singing studies. Music was her first love, yet she had this second passion for food that she was longing to explore. Kathleen cooked up an intriguing array of baked and bottled goods which she sold on Fridays at the local school market.

Kathleen_VesperIt was the pesto sauce that people kept coming back for.

Her domestic worker Jessie Limane * was the first #royallyreluctant staff member who simply did not understand why Kathleen’s focus had shifted from cleaning to cooking. Today we have a fully accredited factory we refer to as the ‘palace’, and continue to produce handmade pesto sauces using the same recipes we created sixteen years ago. Making pesto is labour intensive, so the team is now about 40 strong.

That’s cool though. More jobs.

Pesto Princess was never meant to be a formal business.

‘What I had in my favour was curiosity, passion, love of experimentation, common sense, creativity, love of people and a certain fearlessness that comes from knowing absolutely nothing about what lies ahead.’

Staff_BasilTo cut a long story short, there is no more singing and over 70 tons of pesto is pumped out of the palace each year.

*After about 18 months of leaf-picking and garlic-peeling, Jessie graciously retired to an old-age home in Khayelitsha.


We believe that nothing beats the taste of a comforting, homemade meal. We also know about your to-do list, so we’ve done some of the cooking for you, starting with our pesto sauces.

(You’ll find them in the fridges of major supermarkets and speciality food stores in a corner of the kingdom near you.)


We don’t think of ourselves as a conventional business, but rather a SoulBusiness*.

*Kathleen is still figuring out exactly what she means by this term. She got really excited because she thought that she was the first person to connect these two words. Once she googled it, she realised there are plenty others in the kingdom with similar ideas to keep her in good company.

Until our blog is launched (#royalpatience), follow us on Facebook for revelations on this and other fascinating topics.


  1. Remain true to the original recipes
  2. Work without additives or preservatives
  3. Reduce the impact our business has on the planet and its’ people
  4. Give sustainable farming practises the royal thumbs up
  5. Look for like-minded suppliers to partner with us
  6. Treat all people that cross our path like royalty, and that includes you our customer, you our supplier, and you our staff member.