In an interview with Freelanews reporter, VICTOR OJELABI, MealsByAmoke chief chef, Bukoye Fasola, talked about her passion for food, her culinary skills and growing brand.
The MealsbyAmoke was founded in 2019 and ever since, the journey has been good, according to delectable cook. Enjoy.
Kindly describe the catering industry in Nigerian as a chef and an entrepreneur that operates in this sector.
The catering industry is an upcoming industry where a lot of people are beginning to invest money in. Though, our mothers have been cooking in their own ways, but cooking is a little different these days; from kitchen utensils to equipment, seasoning, methods of cooking and the likes.
What challenges do you think militate against catering in Nigeria, using MealsByAmoke as a case study?
Well, I think we have quality control, economic and political instabilities like price control on food items and logistics.
What informed your career into catering and at what point in your life did you realise you were going to do this full time?
I have passion for cooking. I started cooking when I was still in the primary school; I used to enjoy it and I still enjoy it. And then some of my family members, friends and acquaintances instigated my going into catering; they gave positive feedback on my meals. But when my friend decided to be my first client, then the journey into professional catering kicked off fully. This was on January 6, 2019.
What informed the name of your catering brand, MealsByAmoke?
My praise name, which Yoruba people refer to as oruko inagije is Amoke. People seldom called me that so I just fell in love with the name. I decided to give it a try and since then the name stuck. So I decided to coin a business name out of it.
How does COVID-19 pandemic affect your business operation?
Covid 19 has affected everything in the country and in the world. We have price hikes, less patronages but it’s not been so bad.
What stands your catering business apart from the thousand others out there?
MealsbyAmoke is a brand that deals with both local dishes and some international dishes. We try our hands on new things and we continue to learn more. I’m always on the internet surfing for new dishes; how to cook them and learning from people too. As unexpected of a typical Yoruba culture, we offer some soups from other parts of the country also. But above all, we serve traditional cooking but in a modern way.
What operational philosophy, vision and mission drive your catering brand?
The passion to feed Nigeria and beyond. My vision is to make my brand visible to the whole world and also to be known for constant good, healthy and pocket friendly meals. It has always been my mission to prioritise food and make it reasonably affordable. To be able to feed the masses and elite of the society.
MealsByAmoke came into business last year. What has been some of the achievements the young catering brand has had over the past months?
MealsbyAmoke came 3rd place out of the 10 contestants at the Honeywell Competition held at the Lagos Camp of National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Iyana Ipaja, last year during my youth service. MealsbyAmoke incorporation also got a certificate of recognition from NYSC based on this.
What initiatives are we to expect from MealsByAmoke?
Subsequently, we hope to come up with trainings and engaging in some humanitarian services. We would probably be partnering with some brands . We plan to disrupt the industry creatively and do things in an unusual way. MealByAmoke will also be engaging in innovations geared toward encouraging healthy eating.
In five years’ time, what are your projections for your catering brand?
Hmm, in five years, we hope to spread our tentacles far and wide around the country and beyond.
Who is Victoria?
My name is Fasola Bukoye Victoria. I’m the last child of Baba Aladura, Prophet S. A. Olu Fasola (JP) and Mrs. P. B. Fasola. I attended Toria Nursery and Primary School, Herbert Macaulay Road, Yaba. After, I went to Eva Adelaja Girls Grammar School for one year before I completed my secondary school education at Federal College of Education (Technical) Secondary School in 2012. I did my Diploma in Social development and Administration for 2 years then had my B.Sc in Social Work.
Are you married?
I am not married😊