Being a chef isn’t limited to just cooking in a professional kitchen. To cook is an act of entertaining an audience in this case, food lovers. Feeding others is an act of kindness and love that only comes from within and indeed a thoughtful heart.
Sanni Sheriff, professionally known as, Chef Sanni is a private chef and founder of the Non-Governmental Organization(NGO), Feed The Kids. An initiative that started in 2019, and has reached out to over 50,000 children in three states in Nigeria. Sanni, being someone passionate about SDGs and impacting lives also, runs a Youth empowerment programme, The Entrepreneurs Experience, where young entrepreneurs share their experience and life lessons and as well mentor upcoming entrepreneurs.
Chef Sanni shared with My Cookery Zone, the inspiration behind being passionate about food and catering for others, without the exempt of him sharing the challenges faced with being a chef, running an NGO, current and future plans for Feed The Kids Initiative.
•YOUR CAREER AS CHEF STARTED WHEN?
I started my career professionally as a Chef in 2017 after my training at Culinary Academy Ikoyi.
•WHAT MADE YOU REALLY PASSIONATE ABOUT SDGs?
I’ve always been passionate about community development projects even right from my university days. I started a youth empowerment Programme Programme called The Entrepreneurs Experience which was basically a platform for young emerging entrepreneurs to connect with industry captains or investors.
•WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BEGIN FEED THE KIDS?
Feed the Kids started as a major point of concern for me after seeing the growing number of hungry children in Lagos especially due to the economy downtimes. I started to really get worried about the social Mes ace hunger will cause and I spoke to a few friends about reaching out to poor children weekly and in the past 2 years we have reached out to over 50,000 children and we have been able to set up the organization in 3 states. Lagos, Abuja and Kwara states respectively.
•AS A PRIVATE CHEF, HOW HAS BEING INVOLVED IN FEED THE KIDS IMPACTED YOUR CAREER?
Well to be honest it’s just the feeling of satisfaction seeing poor children being fed and given hope. That alone gives me so much joy and satisfaction.
•HOW CHALLENGING HAS IT BEING SOURCING FOR FUNDS TO CATER FOR THE FEEDING PROGRAM?
Yes! funds has been a major challenge but thanks to God Almighty and our amazing donors and volunteers who are putting so much efforts for us to end hunger in Nigeria. We are looking forward to having more corporate partnerships.
•YOU WERE ONE OF THE HONOREES OF THE FUTURE AWARD ’20, BEATING CORONA HEROES CATEGORY. HOW DOES IT FEEL TO BE NOMINATED AND TAKE US THROUGH HOW THE PANDEMIC AFFECTED YOUR PROGRAM?
When I saw the news online, I was quite surprised because honestly getting awards was never the motive so it felt really great for me after realizing that people know the impact of ending hunger and supporting community development Programmes. I felt fulfilled.
We had so much work to do during the pandemic because of the sky rocketing numbers of hungry families in the 3 states where we operate our feeding programme so we had to source for funds, donation of food items etc to reach out to 1,600 families. We were able to provide over 32,000 meals during the pandemic. Special thanks to all our amazing donors and volunteers.
•WHAT AREAS IN NIGERIA HAVE FEED THE KIDS OUTREACH PROGRAM REACHED AND WHAT OTHER AREA(S) DO YOU SEE THE PROGRAM EXTENDING TO?
Lagos, Abuja and Kwara. We are currently working on establishing community kitchens in poor areas. That’s our current project.
•CAN PEOPLE VOLUNTEER, IF YES. HOW CAN THEY?
Yes we welcome volunteers. They can register on http://www.feedthekids.ng
•LOOKING AFTER OTHERS CAN BE REALLY TASKING AND ALSO BEING AN ENTREPRENEUR, HOW DO YOU LOOK AFTER YOURSELF?
Well it’s a lifetime Job because I have passion for human capital development. Community development program. SDGs etc I always take time out to unwind and also rest.
• WHAT ARE THE PLANS OR PROGRAMS YOU HAVE FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR WHICH YOU’LL LIKE US TO KNOW ABOUT?
We are currently building our pilot community kitchen which will serve as a food hotspot for poor children in poor communities.