MCZ Exclusive Interview With Chef Dumebi and Chef Obubu for Women’s History Month.

The idea of feminism and women taking up spaces didn’t just start today nor neither yesterday. The fight for equality has indeed been in existence for the longest time even if, the Interactive Perspective regard the concept as one of the earliest 20th century theories. Women have been fighting against injustice before it was labelled feminism.

If there’s one thing these women share in common — it is the resilience they’ve displayed overtime in the food, beverage industry and humanity at large.
For Women’s History Month, we feature culinary entrepreneurs Chef Dumebi and Chef Obubu who share a very strong take on food, feminism and have one time or another chosen to challenge the status quo.

In the Exclusive, they tell My Cookery Zone (MCZ), how far they’ve come in life as Women and where they aspire to be in their careers as chef and restaurateur.
Also, demystifying the concept of feminism, the sense of awakening that has befallen us as a people and the essence of women taking up spaces.

Image: Chef Dumebi Agbakoba

Chukwudumebi Agbakoba professionally known as Chef Dumebi (CD), is a chef and restaurateur at Samantha’s Bistro & Grill which is on the mission to serve simple, seasonal and hearty meals. She’s also the curator of Chef Dish Food Festival (a quarterly food festival which aims to promote the bustling food and drink industry of Nigeria.) a food festival she started in 2018.

MCZ: How does it feel to see that the societies perception about women is gradually changing and women are taken up spaces?

CD: It’s great to see changes and the world evolving to allow more women in various industries. Women are amazing beings with the power to change the world and I am glad that I am able to do that in my own little way.

MCZ: For someone who has followed your work over the years. You seem to be more intentional about life and wellness in general. Why?

CD: Intentional living and wellness is at the heart of everything I do simply because I am a very sensitive person to my environment and I find when I am more in tune with my needs and of those around me I excel far more than if I was stressed. I now add Gastro wellness as part of title because it combines the two things I love the most, gastronomy and wellness.

Food is an art and when I am being super intentional I choose to eat good food as that’s what nourishes the body, mind and adding yoga/meditation helps me connect more to the bigger purpose.
This is my philosophy for how I run Samantha’s. I create interesting menus to show people new and exciting ways to eat simple good food.

MCZ: You released your cookbook “Dumebi’s Kitchen” after lockdown last year. Is this your first cookbook and what is the inspiration behind writing?

CD: Dumebi’s Kitchen was inspired by my first unpublished cookbook which I began writing as an expectant mother in 2014. Summing up my recipes and food inspiration in one book is a bit of a challenge. Food is so exciting and there are endless possibilities.

Dumebi’s Kitchen is inspired by my love for travel, culture and West Africa. I am a Sagittarian woman, always seeking adventure and learning about new cultures.

It’s this fire within that informs my choices, how I cook and the type of cuisine I lean towards.
I remember a trip to Cara in Togo with my partner, the most arduous journey but a beautiful culinary adventure. One thing I learnt from this journey is just how much of a plant based diet we rely on as West Africans.

Being a restaurateur and chef has been one of my most rewarding accomplishments. I wear two hats, one as a business owner and the other as a creative. It’s not an easy task, the mind is constantly challenged and torn between business and creativity.

MCZ: As a restaurateur at Samantha’s Bistro, how easy is it running a restaurant and is the environment enabling for female restaurateur to thrive?

CD: There is never an environment that encourages what a person wants to do always. You don’t have to wait for an enabling environment, you simply work around it and let it catch up to you.

MCZ: Are there plans of creating more branches of Samantha’s Bistro or plans to curate another restaurant soon?

CD: Most definitely, my partner and I have plans to expand but not necessarily with the brand name Samantha’s which happens to also be my English name. When Samantha’s was opened, I had mapped out the names for all the brands and restaurants which are influenced by all the cities, cultures I have fallen in love with. My top five being Togolese, French, Nigerian, Italian and Asian.

Christine Obute Otigba Image: Jerrie Rotimi

Christine Obute Otigba professionally known as Chef Obubu (CO), is a private chef who thinks of herself as a Super Hero who uses “her cape as an Apron”. She’s featured on newspaper as food columnist sharing tested and trusted food recipes. Also, as judge on HoneyWell Cook Off reality TV show.

MCZ: You say “I don’t just cook. I create masterpieces” what’s the inspiration?

CO: Every meal I make in itself is unique; they stand out different from the last and the next one because it’s not one size fits all rather it’s appeals to the palate of whoever I’m cooking for.

MCZ: You were a judge on HoneyWell Cook Off Show. Was that your first? And do you plan on having your show in the nearest future?

CO: Yes it was and I enjoyed it! I really would love to work on more projects like that.

MCZ: Outside food or creating “masterpieces” what other things interest chef Obubu?

CO: Business & Money, I like money so much I dream in dollars; even in my dream I’m hustling

MCZ: Conversation around feminism is usually on the rise during Women’s History Month. What’s your take on feminism?

CO: Feminism is why you’re interviewing me today without the women who fought for women to have the right to choose I wonder what my chosen path would’ve been! Imagine not enjoying my amazing dishes because I wasn’t given the freedom to be whoever I want to be?

MCZ: Is the fight for equality for women in the food and beverage industry worth it and how long will it take before women get a fair share in various walks of life?

CO: Every fight for equality is worth it I mean imagine the audacity you must have to think people are not equal to you based on what? Race? Gender? Religion? Clearly ment! It won’t be long and anyone who doesn’t get behind the movement will be left behind with their exaggerated importance they’ve attached to themselves.

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Published by My Cookery Zone

My Cookery Zone is a platform where food lovers can read up on food related articles. This initiative started in 2013, an idea to tell food stories not forgetting the people behind the exquisite cuisine and this hasn't changed. We are determined to keep it as authentic as possible and this has made us emerge best in Food Media. MCZ has survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value what we do here. To help us continue kindly follow the blog, share our content and donate.

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