Nigerian West African Vegan Cooking With Lerato Umah-Shaylor

By West Africa Cooks, 14 February, 2018

Today's dining experience is no longer just about having great food and drink. It's all about creating unique experiences that the modern day foodie can rave about to their followers and friends by documenting on social media accounts like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. It's all about differentiation. The modern day chefs and cooks of the generation now have to be aware of this new reality and give their foodie public what they want. Examples of this markets need being catered for means offering total social meal experiences, special events of celebration and picture perfect artistic food creations. An offering on top of these described may encourage a chef also to introduce free from alcohol, free from dairy and organic if the consumer demands it. It can be said that if you are running an independent food business in today's market it must be imaginative. With this in mind. How many foodies consumers have taken vegan cooking classes in Britain and or in America that has been Nigerian inspired?

West African foods are unknown and not mainstream in western markets. West African foods are however free from and great too. The missing ingredient to it's mass adoption is awareness and presentation. Today young West African food entrepreneurs are changing western perceptions of the cuisine they cook.

Nigerian Vegan Cooking Class

Introducing the world to Nigerian vegan cooking Lerato Umah-Shaylor a passionate talented chef based in London and Sussex takes foodies on a culinary adventure, at her regular monthly cooking classes. The product is an immersion as an experience in cooking Nigerian, West African cuisine, vegan seasonally produced. Aimed at cooking lovers. She shared her secrets to cooking vibrant and sumptuous feasts. It is hands on, you are invited to roll up your sleeves create you own Nigerian inspired meal. There is an emphasis on fun, play time and imagination. It is an educational too.

Read Ataro Foods: Turning African Food Into A Global Power House

Cooking Classes At The London Cooking Project

Classes taking place at the kitchen and dining social enterprise The London Cooking Project in South West London are fun. The following is what happens on a cooking class that I took part in recently.

We received a warm welcome from our waitress and Lerato's assistant Bella at the door who offered us all a *Zobo clementine cocktail. As we waited for other guess to arrive we were treated to some canapés of black eye beans.

Cocktails in hand we start to get to know our fellow cooks. Who were a vegan couple from Germany, a student on a gap year, an older curious Lebanese gentleman and two guest travellers from Hertfordshire. I was therefore impressed that guests make the effort to support. Lerato Umah-Shaylor then gathered us round so that we could hear about her west African cooking journey, the menu, spices and unique west African produce. She was excited to share her recipes and cooking techniques with the group. We heard about where hear family come from and the direction she is going towards. She said this is about discovering new and exciting flavours. Our journey will be fun, entertaining and we will discover lots about west African cuisine you did not know about and this passion will be shared. Everyone should be able to enjoy, regardless of their dietary needs.

Plant-based diets are gaining momentum. There are lots of recipes which West Africans use every day which are vegan and Lerato highlights these and her own creations at her vegan cooking class.

How is Jollof Rice, stuffed in roasted sweet peppers with peas and pomegranates made?

In partners we were then off cooking starting with seasoned jollof rice with peppers. Well this is a twist on the classical Jollof Rice, tasty and colourful it is made by stuffing the cooked rice in roasted peppers, served with sweet garden peas and pomegranates. For the jollof rice, we started by cutting onion, which we added to a pan then added tomatoes chilli, scotch bonnet, ginger, garlic then cooked. Later other spices were later added like paprika coriander and turmeric. Sea salt finally added to taste. This was served stuffed in large peppers covered in olive oil.

Read Pattis Menu by Chef Patti Gyapomaa Sloley

Tasty West African Veganuary Goes Beyond January

West African chefs and cooks are proud to support Veganuary 2019 and more. This annual campaign has become a global movement, encouraging people to try veganism throughout January. West African chefs and cooks are like vegan pioneers they are dedicated to changing public attitudes towards their foods. During our cooking afternoon we spent time talking about where to source quality ingredients from, cooking equipment required for a vegan home kitchen and the experiences of tasting yummy vegan food which are other than European of origin.

We later made Plantain Pie With Chestnut Mushrooms. This recipe include the West African native grains of paradise.

My favourite dish of the afternoon was Aubergine Rolls with Suya Sweet Peppers. It was the suya mix I loved. It is made of garlic, ginger, paprika, toasted peanuts, crushed. I crush the peanuts using a pestle and mortar then added the dry spices to create the suya mix.

Our last recipe before setting the table for serving west African food and tasting was Moin Moin – Steam Baked Black Eyed Beans.

Cooking And Menu Highlights

  • Nuts roasting for suya
  • Aubergine frying for the much loved suya aubergines and sweet pepper rolls with cauliflower crème
  • Out of the oven. Plantain pie with chestnut mushrooms and heritage carrots plus rice
  • Stuffed jollof rice in peppers with pomegranates and green peas
  • African inspired appetizer
  • ‘Moin Moin’ mix. (Steam baked black eyed beans with seasonal vegetables)

Read Modern Nigerian Restaurant Secrets Revealed

On Nigerian Cooking

Today customers want great food, great service and great photos. This event Nigerian vegan cooking classes provides for all three. In regards to the food. It was lovely. The menu allows you the guest to taste, explore and discover different cuisine courses. If you are new to west African cooking there is choice. I had great company. Overall the atmosphere was relaxed.

There are so many exciting new entrepreneurs creating waves in the west African supperclub market but this is from a low base. I would like to see more African and Caribbean taking the steps to creating a legacy. Remember this is about being committed to Africans culture, supporting jobs and generating wealth for the community. If you get it right quickly you will attract investment, supperclubs and cooking classes can turn into restaurants and companies of the future.

Lerato is a passionate talented chef. We say an excellent chef leader. We learned how to prepare a Nigerian vegan meal together under her instruction... I recommend you book a class and or attend her supperclub soon. Truly not to be missed if you are a real foodie. West Africa Cook review

I would like to thank our host chef Lerato. I hope that great tasting Nigerian vegan food can be as great a success.

Please use this link wacooks discount or type wacooks at checkout to get 10% off Lerato's events bookings.

Lerato's logo. Lerato a food writer and dinner party queen.

Read British-Nigerian Entrepreneur Launches Nigerian “Doughnut” Mix

Gifts, Corporate, Private Classes And Group Bookings

The African cooking classes are a special treat and can make for the perfect presents too. You can book a single class for yourself, as a gift for friends, family or for a group. Buy gift vouchers for African cookery classes in London and Sussex.

Follow Lerato Foods

Twitter: @Leratofoods

West Africa Cooks

*Zobo clementine cocktail. A glass of homemade brew of hibiscus flowers, seasonal clementines and prosecco.


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