Chef Gbadamosi Olajide the ‘untamed’ Human is a Nigerian chef who made his debut in the kitchen at age 11. From being the only male student in food & nutrition class in secondary school, to attaining the level of a professional chef, Chef Human isn’t done exuding and sharing his creativity with the world.
Interviews in this dispensation just requires sliding into the DM or taking the bold decision of sending a mail. Interviewing Gbadamosi Olajide aka. Chef Human wasn’t any different, he was down to earth and made the interview process an easy and memorable experience.
He spoke on the speciality to why ‘Wild’ and ‘Human’ is attached to his name and often times the most reckoned with by his food lovers as a nickname. He spoke on humanity and the desire to be the vessel of light in someone else’s darkness. Above all, WildChefHuman spoke about his ‘mother company’ Roux Studios – a restaurant and studio for diverse purposes which he recently started.
CAN OUR READERS MEET YOU?
-I’m Gbadamosi Olajide, many people know me as Human or WildChefHuman
IS THERE A SPECIALITY TO WHY ‘WILD’ & ‘HUMAN’ IS ATTACHED TO YOUR NAME. TELL US WHY YOU’RE CALLED CHEF HUMAN?
-Wild basically means the untamed. Being a person that can’t stay confined in a spot, I chose the name ‘wild’ to identify and remind me of how wild I can be on my creative side.
Human has always being who i am, it’s been my name.
CAN WE KNOW A LITTLE ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND AND HOW THE COOKING JOURNEY STARTED FOR YOU?
-Well, I started cooking at a young age. I was eleven at the time, although i sometimes feel I could have started earlier than that. I have always watched my mom as she cooked. I remember the first time I started was when my mom got home late and she had to fix us dinner. She was tired as expected because Lagos life has always been hectic and she worked her nine to five, but she just had to cook. She rushed to make dinner and it was our favorite Jollof rice. I think she got so tired and slept off in the sitting room after her clean up, and my siblings were dozing off too.
In a short time,. I began to perceive the smell of food almost burning and I attended to it, tasted and added the rest of the ingredients and adjusted it’s seasoning. I remember waking everyone to tell them the meal was ready and I told mom how i finished cooking the food. She liked it and the whole experience made me want to do more and that was how i started, my first cookbooks were given to me by her, I began to fully join the family women in the annual general cooking for family and friends who came to visit in December.
Also I became the only male student in my food & nutrition class during my secondary school years.
I BELIEVE THE WORD ‘HUMAN’ IS QUITE WEIGHTY, WHAT IS YOUR PERCEPTION ABOUT LIFE AND BEINGS IN GENERAL?
-It is weighty, it is a reminder and a reflection of who I am, regardless of my achievements. Firstly, I believe in God and I believe in nature and humanity. I believe in balance and in being true to one’s source. I believe that life is a medium to extend hope, this life I’m living is to give hope to others. It’s really never about myself but the utmost purpose, being the vessel of light in someone else’s darkness.
ASIDES LEARNING AND GATHERING SKILLS IN COOKING AS A CHILD DID YOU ACQUIRE SOME OF THE SKILLS FORMALLY?
-Of course, I did. Although I started off reading and trying out a lot of recipes, that still didn’t cut it for me, I’ve always wanted more, I still want more. I studied and earned my professional certification in Culinary Arts.
HOW HAS LIFE BEEN SINCE YOU LEFT CULINARY SCHOOL?
-I’d like to say that it’s been sweet and beautiful but it may not be true, it’s been really challenging, there’s been times I’d laugh but they don’t last too long, what keeps me going on is my passion and desire to succeed regardless of what comes before me.
WE AT MYCOOKERY ZONE BELIEVE COOKING ISN’T SOMETHING REVOLUTIONARY FOR A GUY BUT WHAT HAS THE PERCEPTION OF PEOPLE BEEN SINCE YOU STARTED PROFESSIONALLY?
-So far, it’s been received well, however, many people still find cooking to be a gender based activity and men shouldn’t be found actively involved in it, even women think like this too. But the good reception is much more than the side talks and that’s where my focus is on.
WHAT DOES YOUR BRAND ROUX STUDIOS STAND FOR?
-Roux Studios is a mother company to many brands to come, it’s more or less the forerunner, Roux Studios is basically a platform to express myself in every way i can and also a platform I hope to share with other creatives like myself in the future. It stands for togetherness and comfort where people can reach and find solace. It’s a restaurant and a Studio for diverse purposes.
HOW DO YOU PERCEIVE THE CULINARY INDUSTRY IN NIGERIA AND AFRICA AS A WHOLE?
-I don’t believe it is where it should be, there’s a long way to go and we’ve barely scratched the surface. It may look like we are getting there but we really haven’t hit a mark on the global premises and to achieve that we must put in work.
HOW WILL YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF COOKING?
-My style is still at a budding phase, I’m yet to reach the fullness of my heart in regards to my approach to food. For now I’ll say it’s a bit eccentric, off the regular and a bit surprising but not entirely strange.
IF WE ARE TO TAKE AWAY FOOD WHAT OTHER THINGS DO YOU DELIGHT AND FIND INTEREST IN?
-I find joy in art, I can’t do without it. Music, fine art, poetry and prose.
WHO ARE THOSE THAT INSPIRE YOU AS A CHEF IN THE INDUSTRY?
-I like the works of the late Julia Child, I’m a big fan of her works, then Augustus Escoffier whose written works i still pay attention to. Tunde Wey, Chef Ramsey, Chef Robert, Bobby Flay and our Nigeria’s very own Chef Stone.
APART FROM ROUX STUDIOS, CAN YOU SHARE YOUR OTHER FUTURE PROJECTS WITH US?
-Well, there are so many other projects and this is just an official break into the industry, I’ll be sharing them with everyone when they are set to be announced.
LOOKING INTO THE FUTURE, WHERE DO YOU SEE YOURSELF, ROUX STUDIOS AND THE CULINARY INDUSTRY AS A BODY IN THE FUTURE?
-Slowly, I’m building a conglomerate and together with other Chefs that I’ll perhaps join forces with, I hope to build a system where the culinary society will if not in my time but over mine, project Chefs in Nigeria as essentials to the government and societal restructuring, also influence the academic system and improve/open doors for career development and growth.
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