When the world thinks of fine-dining, African food is not often at the top of the list of cuisines to be considered, something which Ghana-Born Adwoa Hagan-Mensah wants to change. Since showcasing her talents on BBC2’s The Restaurant with Raymond Blanc in 2012, Adowa has been on a mission to let the world know about the immense potential of West African cuisine in the fine dining space.
Whilst at university, Adwoa found herself struggling financially, so she started her first business cooking and delivering food to fellow students to make ends meet.
Adwoa who spent her formative years in Ghana, Uganda, Kenya and Rwanda, started cooking British favourites and would occasionally throw in some West African staples but soon realised that students from all over the world had a real appetite for the Ghanaian and West African dishes.
This gave her the courage to start London’s first Ghanaian street food stall, Jollof Pot with her husband at Broadway Market in Hackney almost 15 years ago. At the very beginning of the street food revolution in London Jollof Pot was attempting to bring West African food to a mainstream European audience. The stall now named aptly after its popular dish ‘Spinach & Agushi’ has street stands at Portobello Road (Notting Hill), Exmouth Market (Farringdon) and Broadway Market – (Hackney) with many other African supper clubs and food vendors bucking the trend.
From her humble beginnings with the food stall Adwoa, went on to launch what is now a highly successful luxury catering company Eat Jollof London which specialises in corporate events and weddings. By producing luxury catering and fine dining cuisines Eat Jollof is paving the way for West African Food to be given the Michelin star treatment in years to come.
Adwoa has established The Ghana Supper Club based in Kent, an intimate fine dining experience for 12-15 lucky diners book to sit together to sample a 5 course Ghanaian inspired meal.
‘The market for a fine dining offering of contemporary West African cuisine in London is virtually untouched. Yet there are West African socialites and professionals that are screaming out for a high end dining experience that they can take their partners, friends, and associates to, knowing that the standard of food and service will not only match that of some of the best European dining establishments in London, but also exceed them.’ – Adwoa Hagan-Mensah.
Adwoa wants the world to taste African food and for it to be as widely embraced in the same way that other global cuisines have been embraced across the world.
Adwoa’s style of cooking is very much influenced by my mother and her childhood experiences. She discovered the flavours, textures and beautiful smells of West African food from her weekly trips to traditional markets in Ghana. By talking to friendly traders and seeking out the freshest, plumpest produce for the family larder Adwoa soon discovered the power of food as a unifiying force.
Eat Jollof London is a high end professional catering company, which was founded with the aim of pushing West African food forward. One of its main aims is to compete with mainstream Eurocentric catering companies and add a little spice to the industry.