“I am a huge fan of inclusivity; I believe African food should be represented and known around the world” – Chef Gabi Odebode, Founder of Afro Meals.
Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, and how you transitioned into the world of food.
My name is Gabi Odebode, I was born and raised in Ghana. I am married to an amazing Nigerian man. I got into the world of food in an unconventional way. My initial goal was to become a doctor. During my master’s program, I started a side hustle where I was catering and making products for people. I continued on this journey and transitioned to learn the art of cooking with the intention to become a chef, make products, teach and cater to people.
What was your defining moment?
The defining moment for me was when Food Network reached out to me to write recipes for them.
What inspired the creation of the ingredients – The Afromeals spices?
My inspiration came from wanting to make African food easier to cook for people. People enjoyed the food I catered for them so much that they wanted to learn how I cook it and they wanted the ingredients that I used to cook the food. So, I came up with pastry mixes and spices.
What is your favorite thing to make?
Jollof Rice. That’s one thing you would catch me making a lot because it is a quick and easy meal to put together especially using our Afromeals Jollof rice seasoning.
What do you consider most challenging on this journey?
I would say finding people to work with is challenging. Finding laborers is challenging.
Where do you envision yourself and your products in 3-5 years from now?
I see the brand expanding and growing outside Cincinnati, Ohio. The brand will expand its scope of teaching, catering, and spreading awareness on easy ways to make African meals.
One fun fact about yourself?
As much as I love the food that I grew up eating – Ghanaian food, I also love trying other cultural cuisines from different countries around the world.
Do you consider yourself still in tune with the African food/chef community or you are a lone ranger?
I am very much in tune with African food as I cook and eat it almost daily. I also try my best to connect with those who are in the African food space, whether they are food bloggers, chefs, caterers, etc. I believe that we can learn from each other. I also believe that working together helps us grow stronger. I have connected with several African food chefs, product makers, caterers, food bloggers, etc. in the diaspora. I am definitely a lover and follower of the community.