It’s official: Chef Winnie Nwania of Zeelicious Foods now has another feat to add to her already extensive list. The Nigerian food entrepreneur, professional chef, and YouTuber is the star of a new cooking show “My Naija Plate,” which will air every Tuesday at 7:30 pm on the DStv channel 173, HONEY TV.
In each 30-minute episode, Chef Winnie will take viewers on a whirlwind exploration of popular Nigerian dishes, from okra soup to Nigeria’s famous jollof rice.
She has amassed a loyal online fan base with her focus on the simplicity of cooking Nigerian dishes, and on how the country’s food culture has influenced the continent and world at large.
She took a break from the kitchen to speak about the much-anticipated cooking show airing and more!
When and how did your food journey begin?
My culinary journey unofficially began when I was 12 years old. I remember making a meal for my family once and immediately falling deeply in love with the kitchen and everything it encompasses. In 2017 I took the bold step of starting to post my recipes on social media. I was tired of seeing the bad rep Nigerian food was getting on the world food map and I made it my mission to change the narrative. I wanted to show people how to make different dishes to help them build up their repertoire of recipes using ingredients that are readily available in Africa. It’s been an amazing experience so far.
What does your collaboration with HONEY TV mean for the Chef Winnie brand?
It certainly is a dream come true for me and it’s getting me one step closer to fulfilling my dream of giving African food a good rep on the world food map. I love what HONEY TV represents. I love how they are showcasing the rich culture of Africa, and now to have me on board on their huge platform to share some authentic Naija recipes is certainly a huge milestone in my career and the fulfilment of my overall purpose.
What’s a common assumption people make about you?
People assume I’m black American, especially when I travel abroad. They are always so surprised when I tell them I am Nigerian.
How do you think Nigerian food culture has influenced the rest of the continent?
Nigeria is abundantly blessed with good food and rich food culture, and most countries in Africa and beyond are now getting in on this goodness! Travelling around the world and seeing Nigerian menus in major restaurants has been the most satisfying and rewarding feeling ever. When I hear foreigners passionately describing the taste and flavours of Nigerian food, it makes me feel proud of our food.
What are five things you can’t live without?
Who’s your top inspiration?
My top inspiration would be my mom! Her love and continuous prayers have kept me going strong. And her strong support throughout this journey of mine has been one of my major sources of strength and inspiration. I love her forever!!
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
This is a big question. I’m not so sure what exactly I see myself doing in ten years, but what I know for sure is that I certainly will continue to add value and stay true to my purpose and the reason I started this journey in the first place. I believe in focusing strongly on what’s in front of me, knowing that the things I do passionately and excellently well now, will determine where exactly I’ll be in ten years. One thing I can say without mincing words is that I’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the culinary industry.
Follow Chef Winnie on Instagram: @zeeliciousfoods. Also, use this hashtag to get more info on her show, #MyNaijaPlate
Photo Credit: zeeliciousfoods