My name is Lerato, a southern African name which means, ‘passion’. I was born to forage, cook, eat and share food. As a journalist, food writer, proud cook and TV chef, I am blessed to be able to share this passion with the world.
My cooking is inspired by my family and environment with rich African traditions and a mix of European influences. African food is not as understood and celebrated as other wonderful world cuisines and I am on a mission to change that. My recipes highlight the adaptability of our wonderful spices, fruits and vegetables and how they fit into a healthy wholesome lifestyle.
I am very proud of the cultural melange in my family and in our world and I celebrate this in my cooking. At my pop up and supper clubs events such as African Afternoon Tea and Wild Africa, I re-introduce African food as a multiplicity and diversity of cultures. I also use this opportunity to highlight the hard working farmers who provide foods such as the large amounts of cocoa and cacao in circulation around the world.
In my weekly column in the prestigious national newspaper, The Guardian, I share wonderful experiences and inspirations that lead to my wholesome, healthy and African-inspired recipes. In addition to writing, I am passionate about championing African foods, promoting healthy, seasonal and creative cooking in food talks, demonstrations, radio and television programs.
I may have caught the bug for the camera when my brother and I featured in a Coca Cola advert as children. But it wasn’t until I was running my gourmet food company and pizzeria in Abuja- the capital of Nigeria, that I was approached by a producer to appear in a syndicated food TV show on the major DSTV network which broadcasts across Africa.
The show aired in 2012, celebrating African food and healthy lifestyle, with celebrity guests and members of the public. In 2014, I produced and presented The Bite, on Cool TV, another national station. On the show, I shared easy, creative, healthy and sumptuous recipes celebrating the oneness of food as I found creative ways to bridge the gap between African foods and those of other regions.
The apple did not fall far from the tree in my case, as my mother was a young restaurateur in Nigeria, where she ran a popular restaurant in Lagos in her 20’s. Although I was not encouraged to spend time in the kitchen for fear of accidents – which is rather unusual for an African girl who is taught to cook from a young age, I was quite the rebellious child who turned out to be entirely consumed by the wonders of food; so I disobeyed my mother lots of times and I have the hot oil scars to show for it. Now I cook, share and write about all that I love and learn about food.
One of my most popular recipes is the Plantain Shakshuka, which incorporates plantains, a much-loved West African favourite with a widely popular Levantine/North African dish of poached eggs in tomatoes. I enjoy this dish with wonderful tomatoes from the Isle of Wight when I am in England, and from Jos when I am in Nigeria. These two areas produce some of the best quality of vegetables in the country due to the favourable weather. It is a recipe that can be translated in different ways and that is what I always encourage, making every meal your own.
I love food and with my multicultural family, friends and experiences, I am able to share and enjoy all kinds of food from all over the world. I am passionate about food provenance, organic, seasonal, healthy yet sumptuous food and I always aspire to create the very best with the gifts of nature.
My greatest joy in cooking is in learning and sharing. I hope that through my passion, experiences, discoveries, and recipes, you too will find joy in learning and sharing glorious food.
Let’s get cooking!
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