Recently I was invited to Lagos, Nigeria to teach a Master Class at the GT Bank Food and Drink Fair. I was beyond excited for many reasons – I was headed to Africa for the first time, I would be doing my first live demo and it was before 450 people and I was beyond proud to represent our culture and to take our cuisine across the globe. My husband took a few days off so that I could make the 11 hour trek to Lagos – he was home for 5 days with a 5 year old and a 4 month old. I’m lucky and grateful to have his support otherwise this would not have been possible.
I had a few months to prepare for the demo and to decide what dish to teach. After much deliberation, I settled on Bake and Salt fish, I wanted to showcase a dish that was prepared throughout the Caribbean and just about every country has their own version. With a couple pounds of salt fish packed in my carry on, I trekked to Lagos. GT Bank provided all accommodations and arranged for me to stay at The Wheatbaker on Victoria Island. This boutique hotel was quite comfortable and the staff was amazing, my every want and need was met.
On my first full day, I visited the Culinary Academy where I would do my prep work and meet the students who would assist me on stage. I met with Chef Tiyan Alile who was the owner and instructor of the culinary academy, she graciously invited me to lunch at her restaurant Tarragon that’s attached to the cooking school. I had my first taste of Nigerian goat pepper soup and met Chef Raphael Duntoye and Chef Filippo who were also teaching a Master Class at the Food and Drink Fair. Needless to say we became friends quickly and spent most of my free time with Raphael and Filippo who show me around Lagos and made sure I got my fill of local food.
I presented on the very first day of the fair to a packed class and despite a few onstage hiccups it went well. It was an amazing experience and I got over my fear of speaking before a large group of people. Thanks to this experience I’m now considering teaching a class here in Atlanta, would any of you be willing to attend? Needless to say everyone that sampled the Bake and Saltfish loved it! I was surprised at how many followers I had in Lagos, who knew that this like village girl from West Coast Demerara would be known all the way in Africa? Thank you to GT Bank for an amazing experience and now I will leave you with photos and a video of my performance.