Nigeria’s biggest food critic was our guest this week on MCZ Exclusive Interview, Opeyemi Famakin has become one of the most famous food critic in the country from his continuous and unwavering review of major/minor food and drink outlet.
In the interview, he spoke on how he delved into food criticism, find out if he’s ever going to quit talking about food and what his thoughts were on the food/hospitality industry in Nigeria.
Kindly introduce yourself to our readers
– I’m Opeyemi Famakin, The Biggest Food Critic In Nigeria
How was growing up like for you?
– I’d say it was regular and random. Nothing too crazy or weird happened. The only thing worthy of note is that i grew up in a household where they didn’t believe that women belonged in the kitchen and where we would go on holidays to different countries just because of the food. The two small acts from my parents(most especially my mum) would contribute to my love of food.
Did you take a professional course (like attend culinary school) before taking up the role of a food critic?
In a culinary school, Nope. Did my mother and grandma teach me how to cook everything they knew, Yes.
What’s the inspiration behind you deciding to delve into reviewing and talking about food?
Food amazes me and I see it as both art and science. I mentioned earlier that my family travelled a lot for food. Everytime we did i’d document my experience and share on social media and give reviews, I didn’t even know that i was being a food critic, all i knew was that i ate awesome food and i wanted to share the information and details with the world.
You usually say, “10/10 is for God, 9/10 is for Me, 8/10 is for the best dish that enters my Mouth” what’s the motive behind this?
That’s something my lecturers use to say in Uni. It’s actually a joke but, well, I’m sticking to the joke.
How does it feel to be a food critic to you and to be a Nigerian?
At first, it felt awesome, now, it feels like actual work because people are now putting responsibility on my head. It has it’s good and bad side. The good side, you get to eat a lot of food. The bad side, food won’t excite you anymore as you’ve literally tasted the best version of all dishes. basically, all food would start tasting like white rice in your mouth because you’ve had better. Truly, ignorance is bliss.
Professionally, if you were not a food critic what will you be doing?
I don’t consider being a Food critic a profession. And I have a 9-5 profession, I work as a Content and Brand strategist in an advertising agency.
Because you review most food items have you at any point developed phobia for not too familiar cuisines?
Nope. The only two things i won’t eat are dog and human flesh.. and cats.. anything else, i’d give it a taste. There’s this pepper icecream i’ve been seeing online, if given a chance i’d definitely try it out.
Asides tasting exquisite dishes and drinks what other things do you do for pleasure?
Watching netflix, Watching cooking competitions and cooking videos, reading about food, writing about food. Hanging out with friends, pretending to jog, yeah, that’s all.
Who are those that inspire you in the food industry?
In Nigeria, Chef Fregs
Abroad, the list is endless. Binging with Babish, Buzzfeeds Andrew and Steve, Mike Chen from Strictly Dumpling and many more.
Enlighten us on the challenges you’ve faced being a food critic?
For now, I don’t think I’ve faced any major challenge in the industry. If my goal was to make money, that would be a challenge, but my goal is to help food brands grow and educate my audience on the best places to eat, and based on that, I have no challenge. Another challenge is everyone seeing this food critic thing as a serious thing, It’s not that deep.
Do you see yourself quitting talking about food?
Lol, never. Only health reasons can make me stop being a foodie.
Amidst all the challenges what keeps you going?
I genuinely have a passion for studying and teaching people about food. I’m obsessed with watching food videos. I also love writing as I’m a trained journalist. With these two combined, i’ll always keep going
Where do you see yourself in the nearest future?
If the juju that ‘Baba’ gave me works, I’d be the biggest food critic in Africa. Then I’d go for another juju renewal and be the biggest food critic in the work.
What’s your perception of the food industry in Nigeria and globally?
In Nigeria, we’re growing. I just wished that chefs would cook more Nigerian dishes and reinvent them rather than cook french and italian dishes and use it to wow the average Nigerian. If we keep cooking other peoples food, The world would only know of jollof rice. I need Nigerian cuisine to be on the world food map and only chefs can make this happen. Shout out to the food vendors though, they are doing well. Oiin.
Connect with Nigeria’s Biggest food critic, Opeyemi Famakin on Instagram , Twitter
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