How many times have you had an idea and at the same time talk yourself out of it? Worst still, share your idea with friends or families only to be laughed at and ridiculed.
I remember sharing my idea of creative African cooking and the ridicule I got from some family members and friends. It did hurt my feelings and had me second guessing my passion. I tried to brush off their negativity and convince myself I was on the right path. There were days that I doubted myself, especially when I uploaded a picture of my creation and received a few back lash from ‘ purist’ (as I affectionately call😡).
The backlash from a few disgruntled ‘purists’ went as far as describing me as a sellout and not representing the continent in its original form. I realised most people understood my creativity and others were lost, since they could not fit me into a relatable box.
When I started fusing different cultures into West African dishes I quickly realised it was a new ‘thing’ and a section not explored. Understanding the change I was trying to bring to the West African culinary scene helped me deal with some of the backlash.
Living in the diaspora meant you did not have access to some African ingredients, hence improvising and finding substitutes helps one to enjoy their heritage dishes (without compromising on flavour). Example: Spinach is used instead of Kontomire (Cocoyam leaves) for most Kontomire related dishes.
I kept posting pictures (Instagram), recipes (Blog) and halted posting videos on my YouTube channel for 18 months, whilst I tried to build my confidence. (Don’t be surprised).
It was during my picture posting moments, that I got the ‘break’. I posted a Mother’s Day Ghanaian breakfast inspiration photo, by which Tina Atiemo called to say a television station was looking to include a Cookery show to their content. Tina facilitated the conversation and within the same week contracts were signed and I got my own Cookery Show, with ABNTV.
The Cookery show was a boost of confidence especially in my decision of specialised West African recipes. Quickly after that I had the opportunity to talk about my passion and my dream on BBC Africa. It goes to show, the worst thing you could ever do is give up on yourself.
I signed up with John Noel Management and featured as a guest Chef on ITV This Morning a few times, which was an incredible experience.
Every experience made me more resilient and knowledgeable which when combined with my positive outlook to life screams ‘Keep going’.
You will have to come back and read more in another post about my journey so far. I hope this post helps someone out there to not give up on themselves. It’s not easy but it’s in your attitude.❤️