Semilore Anifowose, a 100 level student of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta (FUNAAB), Ogun State, is a food blogger and a food photographer.
In this interview with Onome Omatsola she speaks about how she turned her passion for food into a money-making venture.
When did you discover your love for food and started seeing it as a vision worthy enough to pursue?
I had always loved cooking since I was in secondary school because I was a food and nutrition student, but what made me to go into food blogging was when I was at home for five months before resuming at the university. My school resumed late and I was tired of staying at home doing nothing. I spent more time on the social media and I got to know many food bloggers, then the interest to be a food blogger set in.
In this food business, where do you see yourself in the next 10 years?
That will be having a cuisine of my own; a place where people come to eat whatever food of their choice and feel comfortable with the environment. It has always been my dream to have a restaurant and I believe God will see me through.
Can you mention some of those you look up to in the food industry and why they inspire you?
Chef Stone, he has the best culinary school in Nigeria; Chef Eros, his restaurant is one of the best in Nigeria. What motivates me the most about them are their hard work and the fact that they are males. I believe I can achieve much more than they do even as a woman. To me, my sex isn’t a barrier at all. They are all chefs and because I plan to be a chef someday, I look up to them as role models and most of the chefs I mentioned are alumni of Reddish Chronicles, the best culinary school in Nigeria owned by Chef Stone.
What were the challenges you experienced since you started?
I would say there really has not been any challenge because I’m around those who support me, so, they keep me moving forward and that’s just enough. My family and friends, most especially my parents, have been a great support for me and they so much believe in me. This has been a great motivation and a push for me.
What is your greatest motivation in life?
That is inspiring other people who are interested in food like me who believe there is nothing impossible for them to do. If food is your passion, then just start whatever line you want to go into. There’s nothing that gives me more joy than seeing people who are interested in food like me become very successful and influential doing what they love to do most.
What is your favourite meal and can you quickly share a quick recipe for making it?
My favourite meal is pasta. It is my favourite food because there is no particular way to make it. You can always play around it. I will be sharing the recipe for stir-fry;
First, cook your pasta for 15 minutes or according to the time written on the pack. Drain it off and rinse with cold water to remove the starch.
In a pan, heat your vegetable oil and saute onion and garlic for about three minutes or translucent, add your veggies (carrot, green pepper), hot dog and stir fry for four minutes.
Add a little bit of soy sauce and seasoning powder and stir-fry for another one minute
Toss in your cooked pasta in the sauce and it is ready.
Apart from food, what are your other pastimes?
I love to swim. I also love to sing, even though I am not good at it.
What is your philosophy about life or your favourite quote?
“The sky is large enough to accommodate every one of us.” Therefore, anyone I am privileged to meet, I try to help them in whatever way I can and pour myself out into them especially when it is in line with food blogging, photography and the likes.
What is your advice for young people like you who find it difficult to discover who they are, or those who have discovered it but cannot go for it because of some limitations or obstacles?
They should take it one-step at a time. If you have not discovered your passion, first talk to God about it. Also, take note of that thing you do with ease without someone telling you to do it before you lay your hands on it. As time goes on, you will discover your passion. To talk about the obstacles, the obstacles can be in any form but I will just talk about the financial aspect. I do tell the students in my photography class that to start food blogging or photography you don’t need a large fund to start. You can save up for it or find a substitute. I started food blogging basically with nothing. With nothing, I mean no props, background and others. I found a substitute that I started with for my first three uploads. All you need to have is a goal. There was a goal I was working with and I can boldly say that was what helped me. If you have a goal, it makes your work easier and it will be the singular thing that drives you.