Hashtag African Food 2016

By West Africa Cooks, 30 November, 2016

On Tuesday 29th November 2016 Pop Up Africa and Start Ups for Africa organised an event called #African Food 2016 this took place at FaceBook headquarters in Camden, London. This article is about the night's event and what we can learn to growth the African food market.

This was an amazing event with many African foodies all in one room. The largest gathering together some of the key innovators and influencers on the African food scene in the United Kingdom at that time. It was a great uptake for this event included in on the attendee list were journalists, bloggers, vloggers, foodpreneurs and those with a general interest in African food. Tomi Makanjuola (vegan Nigerian), Bloggers of Colour ‏@bloggersoc Our founder @PhoebeParke; Matthew of Jollof Box; Kay Akinwunmi of afroexpress; Lope blogger chef and Hortense (@hjulienne), Author of The Bank Cook for food banks, Blogger at All Vegan and more. All advocates. A star studded audience

The main objective was to find out how social and digital media is being used to create a community of savvy African foodies as well as exploring the Impact of social media in the growing interest in African food on an international market.

The event started at 6:30 PM the as the panel arrived* with the attendees. A big welcome from Jessica Laditan and Bayo Adelaja hosts kicking off with an ice breaker quiz Question one was pertaining to a British chefs version of jollof rice which faced heavy criticism in 2014 from the African community. The main event was a topical discussion on Africa food #AfricanFoodDialogues. The following is the vibe pick up from twitter using #AfricanFoodDialogues.

Read Tokunbo's Kitchen First Year

Panel Questions

In your opinion why is there now an interest in African Food? And to what extent do social and digital media play a part in this?

  1. A growing trend in African food is the emergence of pan African cuisine, Afro Brit food and other African inspired fusion foods, is there a risk of African food therefore losing its authenticity?
    @tokunboskitchen: Don't go to Nando's, support African food events instead!

    'African people are proud of what they're eating now'

  2. Not everyone feels like they are social media savvy from your experience what have you gained from your use of social media for your food business? What is the right language or hashtags to use if any?
    "I want people to look at my pictures, and lick their screen" @NdudubyFafa

    "Share other people's content to really make it on social media," says @westafricacooks

    be active on facebook, instagram! share your content. Share other food content! support the community @westafricacooks "Court the alternative media!" says @WritersofColour editor @hennabutt

  3. There is a lot of online buzz around African food is this buzz truly reflected in the market or does African food still have a long way to go to be up to par with the likes of the Asian or European Food industry?
    "combine your skills with your knowledge and your heritage to bring African food to the fore" @westafricacooks

    @NdudubyFafa has over 1000 recipes already! #work!

  4. What more does the African food industry need we need to get up to that level

    its all about telling that authentic African food story... @westafricacooks "Educate yourself on how to run a business and how to present yourself" - @NdudubyFafa @AatSpitalfields @DiNNAfrica

    "educate your friends on African food, let them taste it and they will come back!" @NdudubyFafa

    "the barriers we created are actually coming down" this is the time to go for it in a western space @NdudubyFafa
    people who do not reach out beyond their base? Restaurateurs. We have said before that we believe the ††restaurant owners exist mainly in a silo, targeting a narrow market.

  5. What can the African community do to help us to get there?
    @tokunboskitchen has a supper club on the 10th of December! Support! "get the recipes from your grandma and your great grandma - they didn't document it, but you should" @NdudubyFafa

Read Maximise The Success Of Your Supperclub

Summary Insightful Panelists

West Africa Cooks, Leslie suggested we collaborate and support each other, because we cannot grow and make real and sustainable change alone @westafricacooks

Ndudu by Fafa, Fafa encouraged each of us to educate ourselves in entrepreneurship and build sustainability into our business plans @NdudubyFafa

A Taste of Zimbabwe, Ivy urged us to be professional about our work. This is a business, YOUR businees, so take it seriously @AtasteoZimbabwe

Tokunbo's Kitchen, Tokunbo reminded us that there is no such thing as African food. Get local, get specific and focus on the heritage of communities and countries @tokunboskitchen (special thank you to her for

Media Diversified, Henna taught us about how the media works and encouraged us to pitch stories to writers of colour who understand the heritage that you are expressing through food @hennabutt

Question and Answers

Shout out to @Chopstreets for doing amazing work that helps build awareness of African Food businesses. We wish to and aims to see long term employment for African and Caribbean people in the diaspora in the food sector and a business legacy to pass on.
Making recipes late at night, experiment again and again till we get it right. These are therefore the best times with the opening of a Africa Centre in London.

Read Three Reasons Why You Should Document Your Recipes

Showcasing Foodpreneurs

Up next at 8: 00 PM Start Ups Pitches again here is the info via tweeter and #AfricanFoodDialogues

A Man and His Cat Coffee, Drew brings incredible coffee in his smart car pop-up. Join him on December 3rd for a unique Pop up experience @amanandhiscatuk
Good Cake Day, Chinelo is helping orphans in Nigeria feel special on their birthday one cake at a time @goodcakeday (special thank you to her for providing those extremely pretty and equally tasty mini cupcakes that we enjoyed)
Pepper and Stew, Raquel is making African food easy with her beautifully packaged prepared sauces @pepperandstew

#showcase getting into and staying in supermarkets is hard so make it easy for people to support and join the journey
pepper and stew Raquel is making African food easy for us all

The Naija Kitchen, Timi is creating super tasty canned African meals - the beef stew is good! @thenaijakitchen
Yojo's Crunch, Yewande makes the tastiest chin chin in pouches to have or share @yojoscrunch (special thank you to her for providing taster packs for all our attendees to enjoy) FASHAAKE, Seyi is creating fusion food that truly reflects her experiences and day to day experiences @fashaake

All was then closed at 9PM with nibbles, drinks and networking provided by @tokunboskitchen @yojoscrunch @goodcakeday @KarmaColaUK thanks

More Online Reviews With #AfricanFoodDialogues

Amazing atmosphere at #africanfooddialogues Hearing pitches from the next generation of food entrepreneurs @Melanmagazine

A room full of ambitious, creative and positive entrepreneurs at the event

Cassava Republic ‏@CassavaRepublic Camden Town, London it's networking time. Great great event.

listening to @NdudubyFafa @tokunboskitchen and more!

Last night was filled with incredible food and the kind of fun effervescent atmosphere that comes when you bring good-natured people together around a topic they are passionate about.

You can still join the conversation on Twitter by following the Hashtag #AfricanFoodDialogues

Support with your money and then give feedback to African and Caribbean foodies in 2016, 2017 and beyond.

West Africa Cooks


  • Fafa Gilbert - Lady behind Ndudu by Fafa TV Chef, Food blogger and Vlogger specialising in Ghanian Cuisine
  • Ivy Mango -Lady behind A Taste of Zimbabwe and Ivy's Kitchenette, blogger and recipe book author
  • (Remote Panelist) Yemisi Aribisala- Writer and lover of good food. She has written about Nigerian cuisine for over 7 years for 234Next and author of Longthroat Memoirs, Soups, Sex and Nigerian Tastebuds
  • Leslie Leigh -Founder of West Africa Cooks and Judge on the Red Magazine, African Cookbook Competition
  • Tokunbo Koiki -Self confessed Twitter lover and lady behind Tokunbo's Kitchen
  • Henna Zamurd-Butt- Foodie, Operations manager at Media Diversified and Judge on the Red Magazine, African Cookbook Competition
*For security reasons all attendees had to pre-register for this event, all information was passed on. Details held onto by the security team at Facebook ahead of the event. On the door all attendees had to sign a Legal document which I did not have time to fully read but scan. This is the kind of sh%t that pisses me off about big business. What kind of bull&*ks organisation presents it's visitors with an online list of terms so long for you to sign five minutes before the event start. For this Facebook gets zero marks from West Africa Cooks which means you are a bunch of c%&ts. This tells me what they think of their users. These barriers to entry are similar to the ones you need getting into the shard building where a passport is need. Legal terms like these keep power in the hands of the powerful. We give away our information and then we have a lack of choice. We (individuals and small business) have given up a lot to live and work in the UK. Make no mistake our journey from start up to scale up and legacy is made harder.
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† African Utopia has a five day festival on the banks of the river Thames in London. Pop Up Africa manages the African food street traders
†† Restaurant owners reach out to the social media conscious youth, value their skills, invest and employ them in your business


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