The interview you are about to read was an exclusive chat and interview with celebrity chef Abiola Akanji popularly known as Chef Stone; the founder of Red dish culinary school in Lagos and Abuja Nigeria. He spoke with MCZ Food Media critically and intensively about
his chef life, and he did shed more light on the 30 Iftar meal ideas that he just concluded, his new show “Keeping up with the chef”, the food industry in Nigeria and many more.
Good morning and thanks for joining MCZ Food Media.
Thank you for having me
We want to congratulate you on the successful conclusion of the 30 Iftar meal ideas.
Thank you very much, I’m glad it reached out to as many people as possible
It is very obvious that you are passionate in making lovely cuisines, what inspired you to start cooking or to go to a chef school?
For me, cooking was something I grew up watching my mother do with so much love
She baked too
It was the complete package and I decided Yes! I have to dabble in this art some day
So here I am.
So where did the name “Stone” come from?
Oh when I was in the University, all my friends used to say I act like i dont have feelings…and then came the name ‘stone’
Sounds weird but COOL
You were one of the chef’s that performed of the chef’s that performed at the GTBank Food Drink Fair 2017, how was the experience like?
Yes I was
It was surreal
My mother came out to watch me
Everybody came out to watch me, I attended some of the other chef master classes
It was a great experience for me.
There was a lot of Good, Good people and an over all nice ambience.
What do you call your own style of preparing food?
Good food *
I like to call it Fast paced fine dining.
Hold on chef Stone you know it’s a good thing to prepare delicious delicacies.
Yes of course it is.
And it’s another nice thing to name every dish, have always wondered how chefs come about naming dishes , what inspired this name?
What inspired ‘fast paced fine dining’ ?
Basically there’s not a lot to that
I don’t like the idea of meals taking so long to make especially our home grown meals
I like a recipe that’s easy and quick to make
It doesn’t necessarily have to be noodles seeing as a lot of people think that’s the only meal that’s quick to prepare.
It can be quick and simultaneously be fine dining also.
That’s it in a nutshell
My style of preparing food is called fast paced fine dining because I like quick meals and fine dining at the same time.
Of cause MCZ Food Media tracked you throughout the ’30 Iftar meal ideas ‘ that recently concluded. What was the inspiration behind the ’30 Iftar meal ideas’ ?
The inspiration behind the 30 first meals was simply the month of Ramadan
I know how hectic it can be having to fast, go to work and then prepare the meal for breaking fast at the end of the day. The racking your brain on what to make everyday can also be a drag So I decided to make things easier for everyone who might be fasting out there and confused about what to make everyday
You know what I’m talking about
The time you spend making decisions about what to cook everyday that isn’t similar to what you had the day before
That’s a lot of work for the brain
So allow chef stone to make things easier for you.
According to you, ” 💯 percent of donations from our proud supporters will go to charity” . with all sincerity at this time of recession, how did your sponsors respond / react when you called on them for the sponsorship?.
Normally I do a lot of give aways on my Snapchat
Social media in general
So the sponsorship wasn’t a big deal to people because there was also no stipulated amount of money It was for charity and it could be any amount of money you can afford to give out
Nothing is ever too small for charity
So recession or no recession, , people have good heart
Most of the time.
Diving into your newly launched cooking show “Keeping up with the chef” what is it all about?.
It’s an exciting new show
Every episode we have a new guest who cooks along with chef stone by just listening to the directions as instructed by Chef Stone
The rule is to not peek and also make sure you follow the instructions well enough to produce the exact same thing I produce
I too will go through the whole process
Cooking, plating, execution, everything.
Fast paced fine dining of course.
What categories or set of people do we expect to see on your cooking show?.
A lot of amateur cooks, that’s for sure
No experts Just people with little to no culinary skills
And just maybe I can make great chef out of you in an episode of being a guest on the show.
Hmmm that’s gonna be nice….
From your own point of view, how do you see the food industry in Nigeria?
I think it’s interesting right now
Compared to what it used to be a few years ago
Now we have more people trying out new things other than what they’re accustomed to Pushing the boundaries in the Culinary world
Be it in the continental recipes, African recipes Even merging different recipes from different cultures together
We are beginning to appreciate fine dining and I’m here loving every minute of it.
How do you see the food industry in Africa and the world at large in years to come?.
It’s going to be massive
I already have a dream of building the largest culinary school in West Africa and if possible, Africa even. A new restaurant is opening every other day of the week
It can only get better at this point and I’m glad people are beginning to cone around to the idea that food can be exciting if you want it to be cooking doesn’t have to be a chore.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to the food industry
Boundaries are being pushed everyday and it’s fulfilling.
Mycookery Zone Mcz:
Where do you see yourself in 5years from now?
I see myself as a widely recognized chef
More widely I hope
And also owning world class culinary schools across Africa
It’s gonna happen, you watch.
What will be your last words on this interview, for people that look up to you and also your food lover’s?
Sleep is for the weak, I always say that
Work hard until you know for sure private here you’ve always wanted to be
And also , do not trust people who do not like food:
Honestly, it has been lovely talking to you Chef Stone. Thanks for your time and we wish you success in all your endeavors?
Thank you too
I also had a great time
It was a pleasure.
Follow him: on Instagram: @uberstigg and Snapchat: chef_stone