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INTERVIEW: MAKING GOURMET MEALS AFFORDABLE WITH CHEF CUDDLE

Growing up in an unconventional Nigerian family where intercontinental dishes were more or less a daily staple, Chef Cuddle grew her desire to explore her burning food making interest. Otherwise known as Yejide Uthman, meet the trained Chef whose love for homemade gourmet meals has taken her through a journey of leaving satisfactory smiles on her customers’ faces.

Describe the ‘Chef Cuddle’ brand…

It’s a brand born out of the love for gourmet meals. Now, we know most exotic/gourmet meals are pricey, so we carved a niche whereby we make gourmet meals affordable still keeping the standard and using the freshest ingredients made with love.

What made you decide to become a Chef?

From a very young age, I picked up interest in cooking as I grew in a family where my mum cooked meals people only believed should be purchased in restaurants or fast foods.  Meals like pizzas, burgers, scotch eggs, cookies and even all our birthday cakes were baked and decorated by her and she was no caterer.

We would cut out recipes from newspapers and magazines and try them out and I saw myself naturally loving to do these things. The highlight of it all for me was, and still is the glow on people’s faces when they eat my meals. I wasn’t contented with just being your average “Caterer”, I knew I needed to add some professional touch to the whole package.

Are you a self-taught Chef or did you attend culinary school?

I have been self-taught until this year when I attended culinary school. I attended the Reddish Lagos.

What is your favourite dish to prepare?

Honestly,  I don’t have any favourite dish, I love to try out new meals all the time most especially things I have never made, so I can see a middle eastern or Italian dish and boom, I want to try it out and know what it tastes like.

What has been your proudest moment so far?

When I first started out I started by selling just sticky ribs, I must warn you my sticky ribs are A BIG DEAL!!! I had a first-time customer order for 10 rib racks and I realized that I could do that much by myself but the highlight of it all was when he called and was like did I learn to make ribs in Texas? That it tasted just like the ones in Texas and he couldn’t get enough of it, he ordered 36 rib racks the next time… It taught me perseverance, built my confidence and made me know I could do anything I put my mind to but most importantly it taught me to trust in God who is my strength and rock.

What has been your largest catering gig?

This was before I became a “Chef”, I catered for a party for Lagos state government.

How do you describe your style of cooking?

Very continental, mostly with the use of fresh herbs and aromatics to enhance flavours naturally and healthy always with a generous helping of love.

What is your food guilty pleasure?

Anything with meat and cheese, for example, Lasagne, Burger, Pizza.

Every pantry should have?

Fresh herbs and aromatics. They work all the magic in your food.

What are the things you would love to explore as a Chef?

I would love to travel to the Middle East and France, learn their food and work with chefs there.