Africa: I Dumped Accounting for Cooking and Discovered My Destiny- Winner Jollof Rice War, Chef Shoyombo Folashade
Chef Folashade is becoming a brand to reckon with in the business of cooking. Having emerged winner of the keenly contested Jollof Rice War 2019 at the 15th AKWAABA event which had over 20 chefs and 5 Countries participating, she was also recognized in the Top 100 Tourism Awards in Abuja.
In this exclusive interview with ATQs Francis Ogwo, she bares it all on her journey into culinary business and her switch from Accounting to Cooking.
ATQ: Pls tell us about your background and growing up:
CHEF FOLASHADE: I am Shoyombo Folashade Oluwatosin popularly known as Chef Shaydee. I am a native of Ifo, Ogun state. I started my education in 1997 at Debby Grace Nursery and Primary School, U-turn Abule-Egba before proceeding for my secondary education at Temidire Comprehensive High school, Abule-egba, Lagos State.
I proceeded to Moshood Abiola Polytechnic where I obtained my Diploma in Accounting before going for my professional certification as a Certified Kitchen Cook at America Hotel and Lodging Institute.
While growing I had wanted to be an economist before different factors of life changed the whole thing(laughs)
ATQ: At what point in your growing up did u discover u could cook?
Chef Folashade:I have been a good cook right from school days, I remember back then when I was always cooking for my colleagues at the hostel because they always wanted me to make their meal.
I developed the skill when I joined Intercontinental Hotel and seeing male chefs cooking different kinds of dishes from all over the world. That inspired me and I challenged myself that if a man can do this I can do better.
ATQ: An accountant turned chef. How did the twist occur in your career?
Chef Folashade: Actually, being an accountant wasn’t my dream I had wanted to an economist. After my diploma I was supposed to be on one year internship before I got the opportunity of working as a chef with Intercontinental hotel lagos(then Lagos Continental Hotel)then I started seeing things from a different perspective and all i wanted was just to cook, grill and roast.
ATQ : Am sure you Memorable outing at AKWAABA 2019.Share with us the experience.
Chef Folashade :(Smiles heartily)Cooking was so rough and tight, I will never forget how I struggled to get my stuffs ready for the cooking because I was part of the last batch.
The interaction between others chefs and seeing different kinds of jollof rice scared me and my heartbeat increased in fact I presented my dish last( laughs)
ATQ: How did it feel announced winner after the competition?
Chef Folashade: Although, I wasn’t there when I was announced .I had to go back to my official duty but when my colleague who was also a participant called my cell phone to break the good news I was super excited because I never saw it coming that was my very first competition and to me it was just a trial.
It serves as an additional value to my career and it inspired me to do more.
ATQ: What do you think about culinary business in Nigeria?
Chef Folashade: The white chefs are mostly recognized and we cook better than they do. I would love us to appreciate this black color and give our black chefs their pride of place in Nigeria’s culinary business
ATQ: How does it feel being recognized in the prestigious Top 100 Tourism Awards
Chef Folashade: Wow! ( Hands covering the face partially )I feel honoured and motivated. Not only just cooking, chefs are now being recognized. Its a good thing for us in this business. I am deeply grateful to ATQ.
ATQ: What’s your advice to aspiring chefs?
Chef Folashade: To all aspiring chefs out there What is worth doing is worth doing best” this use to be my slogan, do not work fast, work smart. Slow and steady wins the race