Real opportunities exist for African entrepreneurs in the food industry, but turning ideas into businesses is hard work requiring detailed planning, motivation and a long term vision. On Sunday 2nd October 2016 I visited the OniDodo autumn Supper Club to see what turning a vision into business venture is all about. Here is the story of the evening and the questions and answer with Dare who is one to pave the way for the next generation.
Autumn Supper Club In Islington
There are so many exciting new entrepreneurs creating waves in the 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 can turn into restaurants and companies of the future. All of this came to my mind on entering the North London venue Angel Islington.
On arrival we were treated to a welcome drink. This is called zobo (hibiscus), one day I shall have the recipe. The room was warmly lit and places were set for about 20 people. Early birds were treated to the canapés, puff puff topped with white chocolate, pan fried beans fritters (akara) and white bait fish. This is a good idea, it made a welcome chain to plantain chips. I sat next to 4 ladies and a guy all Nigerian friends from school. Two guest traveled from out of town Graves End and Hertfordshire. I am therefore impressed that guests make the effort to support.
People love to laugh and the guest there on the night were entertained with comedy by Junior Booker during the first course. In regards to the food. 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. Overall the atmosphere was relaxed. I had great company, the was food lovely. I enjoyed mostly the surprise canapés.
So What Did We Eat?
As is was the day after Nigerian Independence day. host and head chef Dare choose the following menu as they were dishes that Nigerians have when celebrating.
Asun (spicy smoked goat meat)
Charcoal grilled goat meat marinated in a chilli sauce accompanied with toasted agege bread sticks
Mashed yam and spinach in grounded melon seed tomato sauce with beef or assorted meat
A medley of jollof rice and fried rice, plantain and chicken gizzard marinated in tomato sauce, seasonal salad with beef or chicken
Hibiscus cake with sticky toffee sauce and vanilla ice cream
Dare did all the cooking so I am really impressed, in fact I don't know how you can do it all on your own. So we did not see or hear her until the end. To me that is a shame. We all received a parting gift of African sweets.
My comments for all supperclubs are that we should be telling the African story more. We need to be encouraged to attend the next event. We always need to hear where about you come from and direction you are going. We wish to hear you say that we would love all of you to come along for this exciting ride. Our journey will be fun, entertaining and we will discover lots about African cuisine you did not know about and this passion will be shared.
I would like to thank our host Dare. I look forward to coming back again.
Questions And Answers From A Nigerian Entrepreneur
How you got started and future direction and dreams of supperclub. How did it start?
The supper club started as we were unable to find a fine dining Nigerian restaurant in London. We hope to have our own fine dining Nigerian restaurant in the U.K. Growing up in London in a diverse community, there are so many different cuisines available and coming from a Nigerian background we'd like to help put West African meals on the map.
I was impressed with how you did all the cooking yourself. If you can let us know what preparation you do that would be interested too.
Yes we do the cooking ourselves. It's all about time management. We try to prep a day before with the little things like slicing the peppers, cutting the spinach etc so on the day we focus on adding the ingredients together and cooking.
Where are your family from?
Our families are from Nigeria. ONI DODO came from our last name and our love for plantain. Dodo is plantain in Nigerian language Yoruba
What African country do you visit the most and why should other people visit that country?
Nigeria, firstly its the heart of Africa but most importantly the people, food and culture is second to none.
What food do you cook?
We cook a wide range of dishes but we focus on recreating Nigerian food. As much as we love authentic Nigerian meals, being exposed to other cultures and their ingredients, our palette has evolved and we love nothing more than developing new recipes and - taking the tastes we had from our childhood into a new direction.
Where can I find your recipes?
You can find our recipes on our website onidodo.com
How did you perfect the taste of recipes?
We perfect our recipes by making it again and again, tweak few items and remake it, have a tasting session and get constructive feedback. We hope we are able to appeal not just to the wider public but also to the new generation of Africans to experience some of their best-loved meals in a modern and contemporary manner.
What’s your favourite African dish and African drink?
Favourite African dish is Plantain (dodo) and African drink will have to be Chapman.
What sort of obstacles have you come across whilst trying to realise your dream?
Our biggest obstacle is expanding our audience as our mission statement is to appeal to the wider public to experience a taste of west African food in a new dimension.
Do you have a recipe we can share?
1 can of chopped tomato plum or 5 medium size tomatoes
1 red bell pepper
2 scotch bonnet
4 cups rice
1 can of coconut milk
2 cooking spoon of virgin oil
250g prawns (optional)
A handful of bay leaves
1 tsp thyme
4 knorr or maggi cubes
salt to taste
- Blend the tomatoes, shallot, bell pepper and scotch bonnet till smooth
- Heat the oil on medium heat
- Add the blended paste, coconut milk, seasoning cubes, thyme, bay leaf and salt to taste
- In a bowl, wash the rice till the water is clear
- Tip: Add salt to bring out all the starch quickly
- Add the rice to the boiling sauce
- Leave on medium heat
- The sauce will be drying out so stir every few minutes
- When the sauce has dried out and the rice is moist, reduce the heat to low, add the prawns and leave to cook till the rice is soft
- Serve with chicken, fish, gizzard, plantain, salad
So our people not only have to be re-educated to the importance of supporting black business, but the black man himself has to be made aware of the importance of going into business..
Takes inspiration from Malcolm X. With his words in mind attend, support and then give feedback to African and Caribbean foodie events where you can.
West Africa Cooks