Hibiscus By Lopè Ariyo

By West Africa Cooks, 26 May, 2017

Lopè Ariyo loves devising innovative African recipes. Lopè a rising star of African food, a healthy-eating advocate, a recent math graduate is also a social media expert, photo and video tech-savvy entrepreneur. All of these skills were required plus passion to win her the top prize in the Red magazine and Harper Collins publishing competition 2016. With imagination and inspiration from your heritage, yes you can turn your African cooking skills into a career and business.

African Food, Recipes

Rising star of African food Lopè Ariyo has taken inspiration from her heritage to create Hibiscus

Lopè looks back to her African culture. As an imaginative cook Lopè uses traditional Nigerian foods as a starting point, experiments with European ingredients and ideas then fusing this together with modern cooking techniques to present new recipes. I have always said there is a demand for African heritage and we are now seeing more talented individuals catering for this. I first came across Lopè online via her cooking video posts. She has a big smile, she is funny and then there is an X factor which draws you in and keeps you watching. I keep a list of African foodies which I added her too then later I invited her along to the event African Cuisine In The Digital World 2015 at WeWork in London which I spoke at and since kept in touch. This was during London's Food Tech Week.

When I was invited onto the panel to find a new writer and talent of African food. I encouraged Lopè to send in her entry. There were some great collections of recipes from the west African group of foodies. However Lope's stood out due to the care in detail for readers new to her food. She made it through to the final round of voting which took place in a top Soho kitchen. She impressed the tasting panel of judges and took the top prize after showcasing her cooking skills in London.

Read How To Win A Cookbook Deal, £10,000 And Recipe Feature In Red

Inside The Cook Book Hibiscus

Deadlines, photo shoots and editing. This is the business of publishing, money and hard work. I am therefore impressed with how an African cook book can be prepare and issued for public sale in a short amount of time. Telling the African story behind your cuisine is a skill in writing, which in this book is positive, clear and light. Lopè starts by giving us an introduction into her background, growing up in London, then boarding school in Lagos, Nigeria. We get to find out which Nigerian food's she focuses on. Which is Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo. These are the largest of the major ethnic groups in Nigeria*. My Store Cupboard is the first section after the introduction which is all about some of the exotic ingredients that you may not know. Highlighted are yam, cassava, scotch bonnet, orka, garden eggs and plantains. These all come under fresh ingredients. Lopè then describes herbs and spices. Here the reader gets to find out what is egusi, hibiscus and baobab plus many more.

Lopè talks to her reader. There are African stories behind her cuisine in the description before each recipe. Here you will find stories about her mother, grandma, Nigerian roots and university. Read recollection of eating pepper soup at a Nigerian restaurant. Of course pictures are included which means we get to see creativity and passion in words and images.

Read Three Reasons Why You Should Document Your Recipes

Lope's Recipes

Find out how to make Egusi Soup, Nigerian Roast Veg, Corn Soup, Bean Fritters, Braided Agege Bread, Lagos Mess and the dessert Hibiscus and Coconut Cake. Here are some recipes for you to try Moin Moin, Seafood Okra, Crab And Yam Pepper Soup and Steamed Jollof Rice of which there are well over one hundred sectioned into the following:

  • Fruit, Vegetables and Tubers
  • Grains and Pulses
  • Fish and Seafood
  • Meat and Poultry
  • Baking and Desserts

Note: Lope's recipes provide alternative or optional ingredients to cater for dietary considerations

Buy the book Hibiscus by Lopè Ariyo – Out June 2017 and write your review

Read Top Ten Tips To Win The Big Book Prize

Support Then Review African Chefs

There are many young people second and third generation African who don’t know how to cook African foods living in the United Kingdom†. Yes it is also hard to find a traditional west African recipe book and or modern African food which will inspire. So we have to support the new breed of African chefs which come along. Lopè has influence and impact with the younger generation growing up. She can later start selling branded kitchen good, aprons, foods from Nigeria and feature in recipe journals. Lopè is one who could tap into this market. This is what makes me excited about her prospects.

What helps sell a book? The cover image, author and reviews. Reviews are an important part of the foodie community. Please take a moment to provide the African chefs with some helpful feedback. It is our responsibility to constantly, ‪aggressively market‬, support and promote African‬ chef's career ‪and their businesses. We can do that using social media††. We need to give feedback on what we love, praise for pushing back the frontier on cooking and if so how they can improve. We need to keep reviewing ‪African cooking,‬ food ‪and drinks only then we will see change which will be economic and long lasting for the African and Caribbean community.

This book is about the recipes which should appeal to a multicultural young audience. In Lopè a first time author the publisher has invested a lot of time and money. I know she will be a big star so I encourage you to buy for yourself and cook her African recipes. If you then like them, buy for the family and friends as presents.

Read Zoe's Ghana Kitchen Cookbook Review

Further Reading

African American culinary identity. The Cooking Gene: A Journey Through African-American Culinary History in the Old South by Michael W Twitty. Also see Cook Book Buys (US)

More Nigerian Foodies and Businesses

Tokunbos Kitchen
Jollof Box
Vegan Nigerian
Onidodo Taste of Africa
Chinny's Kitchen
Chikas Foods
Moyo London
Chukus London
Lerato Loves Food
Suya Spot

West Africa Cooks

*The four main ethnic groups in Nigeria are Hausa-Fulani, (Muslim Hausa and Fulani are the predominant ethnic groups in Nigeria's northern region) Igbo,Yoruba and Ijaw. There are over 521 languages that have been spoken in Nigeria.
†Our children will suffer if we allow them to continue to eat from chicken joints after school or high in fat, salt and sugar convenience foods. We need to teach our young people how to cook and bake healthy African foods economically.
††Social media companies use the action of it's member to rank posts, pages and articles. Influence is the key. The rank order we believe is likes, comments and shares. Liking and loving posts and tweets is nice but retweets, comments and shares are more powerful and better. Please provide feedback online by comments at facebook, twitter, yelp, google, pinterest, trip advisor, meetup and Amazon. Join the African food meetup groups in London or start your own.


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