My name is Richland Yemo Odoi,a 30 years old Chef that hails from La,a small fishing community in Accra,the capital of Ghana. Growing up my dream was to become a pilot however after my technical education,due to financial difficulties I had to give up on the dream.
I started my primary school education in Accra through to my high school. I had never had a formal culinary education however my passion for food fueled by vocational trainings from the Chefs Association of Ghana and mentorship ,I have been able to develop a career in the hospitality industry.
In the year 2011, I picked up a job as a cleaner in a restaurant called Chase Labone-Accra. I had little knowledge of cooking however most of the time in the kitchen I did admire the precision and passion displayed by Chef Elijah Addo, quite young and creative. His passion on the job made me develop a habit of always helping in the kitchen to clean and arrange ingredients.
One busy Sunday when he had about four of his cooks not turning up for work,he asked me to work with him at the fryer section,It was a big challenge but within me I knew this was the opportunity to prove to him that I could do well if given the chance.
For 16 hours I worked on that day without taking a break and on the night he walked up to me and whispered “you will go far as a chef”
His comments inspired me to start searching for knowledge on the internet and always be on the look out for events around the hospitality industry. In 2013, I got promoted to a Chef De parte post and later went on to work as a sous chef in Spinbreak restaurant. Within that time I joined the Chefs Association of Ghana to keep up to date and get resources to support my passion on the job.
In 2014 when Chef Elijah Addo was opening Burger and Relish,Ghana’s first gourmet restaurant in Accra,he did invite me to become his sous chef,a job his boss by then was abit reluctant to agree with Chef to offer me because of my background. That challenged me on to give out my best until Chef Elijah left the position in 2015 for which I have been occupying and seen to the open of two more branches.
Chef Elijah Amoo Addo is a mentor who resonates the power African chefs can help feed and reduce hunger in Africa. he inspires me alot. In August,2017 I am participating in the Nelson Mandela culinary challenge in South Africa been organized by African Chefs United.
As a chef who is down to passion and sense of detail,I observe,learn and improve. I believe that has been one character trait that has really helped me to get to where I currently am. My number one culinary is the opportunity to learn under a young and creative chef who believes and support creativity.That over the years I have grown with and today I am equally replicating that by supporting at risk-youth to develop a career in the profession.
I strongly believe if we will take advantage of the diverse ingredients and foods that we have across the continent and fuse it to create dishes,our cuisines will go a long way. Young chefs like Chef Elijah from Ghana, Dieuveil Malonga from Congo, Fatmata from Sierra Leone and many others who are changing the game and story of African cuisines are some of the people that inspire me.
At Burger and Relish, I have been able to infuse local ingredients into creating recipes such as ……
My passion is to join the revolution of young African gastronomie,learn,share and expand the African food story. I am doing this by contributing to networks and blogs on African food. I am gradually infusing African ingredients into recipes that were traditionally known from other countries. Hopefully in the next five years I would have contributed more.
I have also been volunteering on Chef Elijah’s Food for All Africa initiative which seeks to create efficient and sustainable means of nutrition for low income and vulnerable communities.