Ofonimeh Essienubo, also known as Ofy, is a culinary entrepreneur. Her outfit, Meals Reloaded Cuisine, is an organization that offers culinary training, catering and delivery of homemade meals prepared under strict hygienic conditions and made available to the public.
Speaking about how she started, she had a lot to say. “Cooking has been a passion since my teenage years, it is what I enjoy doing without stress. Before gaining admission into the University, I spent my free time at my mother’s restaurant where I got more training and experience. My passion for cooking led to my meeting the needs of friends and loved ones who always wanted to eat local recipe, especially from Akwa Ibom State that they could not prepare by themselves. I started by taking friends through recipes and preparation method without charge since it is what I enjoyed doing. During these cooking classes, because they had to call me up sometimes anytime they got stock while preparing recipes I made a recipe hand book which they used as guide line. Continuous demand led to my becoming an entrepreneur, starting out my own food business called Meals Reloaded Cuisine.
Her major challenges are lack of capital, logistics and the fluctuation in the prices of food ingredients, especially as it must not affect the quality of the food.
A lot of people have inspired Ofonimeh in one way or the other with their input, encouragement and support through it all. She draws inspiration from her mother for her continuous support as well as insight from her wealth of knowledge, a friend named Mrs. Raji, who inspired her to write a menu handbook; her pastor, Mrs. Clara Duke, for her words of wisdom and everybody who has one encouraging word or the other to say about her cooking.
The culinary entrepreneur, had before launching out, helped her mother in her restaurant and that made her believe in herself when it was time to start her own business. “I managed my mother’s restaurant while she was away for six months attending to some personal issues. It was a great achievement for me because I handled the cooking and day to day running of the restaurant, I also managed the finances of the business. I met outstanding bills that had to be paid, which I took care of and made sure there was enough money to keep the business running. I supervised and trained the staffs on Customer Service tips and this brought about an increase in happy customers who came in frequently. This made starting Meal Reloaded easier to handle and I am proud of what I have been able to accomplish so far.”
She is seeking for a platform whereby her homemade meals are readily available to the public by having already packed meals at specific malls to ensure easy access. She is also seeking for the opportunity to reach out to as many clients as possible who want to become better cooks through culinary training in local recipes and reduce unemployment by training youths on culinary skills so they can be self-dependent.
When asked about her opinion on youth empowerment, she posits,
“Youth empowerment is a great platform of encouragement which helps young people take charge of their lives by addressing idleness and transform their lives through their beliefs, values and attitudes. A variety of youth empowerment initiatives should be introduced into our secondary schools for teenagers to be involved in community decision making because it is a gateway to inter-generational equity whereby, when they become young adult they can venture into what they want to do since there have been increased in self-confidence and development to influence their own future. The Nigerian youths can also be empowered by putting a system in place that encourages capacity building, skill acquisition, management skills, entrepreneurship and giving loans to youths.”
Connect with her via
The Spark is a social enterprise bridging the gap between entrepreneurs that need access to growth resources and the industry leaders, philanthropists, socially-minded individuals and organizations with the requisite resources to give such access.