Lohi Ogolo: My Nigerian food passion (30 Days, 30 Voices)

When I become passionate about something, I obsess over it.  I spend hours reading about it and do my best in expanding my knowledge on the topic or craft, its history,its current trends and much more.

A few years ago, I was introduced to the online world of blogging. I had come across a humor-lifestyle blog called Naija Fine boy by an anonymous writer and was captivated by how witty the posts where and the sense of community and comradry amongst the bloggers. I decided to venture into being a part of this community and created my first blog.  Although it took me some time to establish the true direction of my own blog, the more I cooked for friends and family, the more they urged me to use my talents for something more than just entertaining guests at home, and encouraged me to share with the world.

Fast forward to 2013 and I am  the creative mind behind Lohi’s Creations an award winning/nominated  Nigerian Food blog, translating my passion into an aspiration of elevating traditional Nigerian cuisine, turning it into a global cuisine of choice , while creating a strong business and brand. Within a year, I was able to put myself on the map worldwide by receiving mentions, one publication at a time: The Wall Street Journal, CNN Travel, Safari travels magazine and many more.

When I become passionate about something, I obsess over it.  I spend hours reading about it and do my best in expanding my knowledge on the topic or craft, its history,its current trends and much more. I became passionate about Nigerian food in the early years of my life in the most basic form: eating it. My mother being from Akwa-ibom state was not a stranger to the stereotype that Akwa-ibom women made the best dishes in Nigeria.  She cooked everything from the most delicate tapiokas, to more complicated and delicious ekpangnkukwo.  Living in Port Harcourt with a father from Edo state made meal times in my house an adventure. Were we going to have Igbo oha soup or Edo peanut soup? Every time we got called to dinner, it was an occasion that always left me happy and content.

After leaving the shores of Nigeria in my early teens, I saw food in a different light. I could go to the mall and buy Chinese food, Korean food, American food and more. To my dismay, there was no Nigerian food at my fingertips at my new destination. Consequently, I explored all forms of cuisine through fine dining and local diners.  I enhanced my palette and introduce my then only Nigerian trained taste buds to other cuisine.  It was — and still is– a wonderful experience, but nothing could take away my first love for the spicy, tangy, sometimes sweet flavors that I was first introduced to as a child andevery time  I got on a plane and went back to the motherland, the first thing I did was eat!

I set out on a journey in 2008 to make the world aware of Nigerian cuisine. How? By creating a premiere Nigerian blog that showcased Nigerian food in its authentic state but with the proper “packaging” i.e.with presentation that rivaled my counterparts in other parts of the world. My logic?  If they saw Nigerian food as more than a mess, then they might be more keen to try it because we eat with our eyes first. So I set out , DSLR in hand , some plates and basic knowledge in food styling garnered from perusing hundreds of food blogs and began Lohi’s Creations.

The world had to know about my first love and how it tastes. They had to understand how a morsel of pounded yam dipped into a bowl of hot egusi tasted like the heavens just opened up and all prayers were answered. How a plate of small chops could turn a dull day into one full of vibrance and energy. How suya, the greatest stick meat on earth, can solve wars (ok maybe I am reaching too far). But yes, the world had to know about the flavors, the spices, the colors, the all-around goodness that is Nigerian food. Just like any great chef is influenced by their background be it Chef Sur Lee of China or Marcus Samuelsson of Ethiopia and the Netherlands,  or Mario Batali of Italy, I am influenced by my native cuisine from the stained palm oil on my fingertips to the smell of iru (locust beans). It is all a part of me and no matter the growth of my palette and my formal education as a chef, Nigerian Cuisine will always be the greatest in the world to me.

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Lohi Ogolo a current student at a culinary institute in Toronto Canada, As a budding Chef, Lohi aims to use modern culinary techniques infused with African flavors to attract the rest of the world to African but in particular Nigerian food. As a culinary enthusiast and owner of her own food inspired business* Lohi’s Creations* she works closely with clients exposing them to a world of food beyond their wildest dreams. Lohi currently works as a private chef catering to events all around North America. She has a growing online presence due to her award winning/nominated blog www.lohiscreations.com where she talks about food, life and love and can also be found on twitter @Lohi_O

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30 Days 30 Voices series is an opportunity for young Nigerians to share their stories and experiences with other young Nigerians, within our borders and beyond, to inspire and motivate them.

 

Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Comments (4)

  1. Intresting.. Not bad

  2. Just read this article and decided to look through her blog and i must say shez got talent

  3. Her cooking is nothing short of pure art i tell ya!

  4. A very nice piece…. She should be called a food tecnologist…

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