MAD LOVE MONDAY | Blessing Okpala - 511Kitchenamour
My business 511Kitchenamour is a private hosting and city hopping event curating outfit. 511kitchenamour is vested in the creation of unique and healthy recipes, fusing African and north American ingredients to create signature dishes.
The reason for the interest in healthy wholesome fusion meals was as a result of my childhood experiences emanating from observing my mother’s extraordinary culinary skills and her creation of mouth -watering dishes as she constantly hosted friends and family. These experiences left an imprint in my heart that would late become a driving force to start my private hosting event curating outfit.
My inspiration to start my own business came after immigrating to Canada for educational opportunities and I was always in constant search of meals that reminded me of my childhood. Not having too many options or having to pay top dollar which was not readily available for the existing options, I began to conceptualize methods of recreating these African meals in healthier ways than back home (which features a heavily carb focused diet) and by so doing, integrated African and Canadian cultures. In the early Pilot years, of my fusion menu, I hosted private events and cooked for associated, friends and Family. Several successful events and with ChefB gradually becoming a house-hold name, I launched 511kitchenamour with the aim of bringing people of various backgrounds and ethnicities together to enjoy FOOD.
My favorite quote is “Food is symbolic of love when words are inadequate.” -Alan D. Wolfelt”
A personal goal to accomplish is to introduce the vision of 511kitchenamour to various cities in Canada and in time globally through my city hopping pop-up event. I want to change the narrative that a certain type of foods belongs to a specific culture, rather that, food is an important way to unify individuals of different races and background and celebrate the diversity of culture. I hope to accomplish that as I host these pop-up food events.
Being an entrepreneur is the most challenging and the most rewarding journey I have ever embarked upon. Entrepreneurship has presented me with the opportunity to create value with what I do, to work and to develop my passion and while constantly learning how to run a business and connect with other people who are also passionate about growing their business. As an Entrepreneur, I am a Finance Manager, a Sales person, an event planner, a Hostess, an avid network enthusiast and above all, a philanthropist of sorts. I enjoy volunteering and giving back to my community which has been so good to me.
Yes, there were many times where I thought about giving up due to the pressures and challenges of growing a business. I had an event once and by T-2 days, people had not RSVP’d or even bought tickets to the event. Of course, by the day, the event was sold out. This and many other stories of success have helped me stay strong, focused and not looking back. However, I believe the biggest thing that helps me to overcome that feeling of giving up has been my WHY- Why I started 511kitchenamour.
When I remember what 511kitchenamour stands for, I remember the early days under my Mother’s tutelage, my journey to Canada, my first sold out, fully capacity event. When I remember that I have brought Africa to North America through the my Kitchen and I remember the power that the little girl from Lagos, Nigeria has not only in the Kitchen, but in the greater World at large, I remain inspired and know that there is no turning back.
My moment of assurance was when I read up on what YEG BOSS BABES were all about and I spoke to Kayla. I have always believed in the camaraderie of Ladies coming together and the great things we can achieve when we combine our varied skills and talents. Above all, giving back is something very dear to my Heart and I had a greater appreciation for this when I read the YEG BOSS BABES story. 😊
I find Instagram provides a greater interaction, sometimes real-time with people. It is also a source of inspiration sometimes, since being one who easily connects dots, I see ideas on IG sometimes and decide to re-create it to some degree in the Kitchen. Think about seeing someone eating corn in Africa and deciding to grill Watermelon.
I love to dance and travel. I find that dancing helps me unwind and loosen my muscles which sometimes get tense from standing for hours when hosting an event or whipping up the meal of the month in the Kitchen. I enjoy traveling too, as it exposes me to many different culture and people’s way of life, especially their food. Other time, I just curl up under a duvet watching a nice movie with FOOD. My must have moment of the day is the time before bed when I unwind and plan for the next day or projects coming up.
I am looking to learn about the passions, skills, interests and challenges of other YEG BOSS BABES in their various spheres and endeavours of life. I also hope that our interactions will scale to great things that will be experienced and beneficial by and to our great city of Edmonton.
This summer Chef B is launching her first dinner series and the first event of its kind in the beautiful city of Edmonton - "Savory Bites and Jazzy Vibes". In an intimate setting, guests will be serenaded with poetry, Jazz and live music while they savor each carefully selected culturally inspired, healthy option four course menu.
The event will be taking place at the beautiful Café Lavi nestled in the extended wing of the historical Gariepy Mansion on Saturday, 17th August 2019 at 7pm.
More information on the event and menu is available HERE.