Friday, 7 March 2014

CHEF DERIN OJO - MY ENTIRE LIFE EVOLVES AROUND COOKING

Chef Derin with his Plated Dessert
Have you ever been hosted by a Chef and am not talking about buying food for your guests from a road-side restaurant...I mean a treatment that involves Cuisines like Chinese, Thai, Italian, Caribbean, Indian, Finger foods and so on. That was the feel i got when i met with 30 years Derin Ojo, A well experienced Chef because of the versatility he has in cooking.

Derin Ojo is a graduate of Geography and Planning from the University of Lagos and he actually does not have a formal classroom training in Cooking but he was proud to say ''I am a self-taught, I did not go to any school of catering, I follow my my mum to the market and also stay in the kitchen''.

Today, Chef Derin is the proud Owner of The Sense of Taste Specialty Caterers in Lagos and he also runs a cooking class where about 7 Courses are being taken by various people from all works of life, He says the Finger Foods and Cocktails Classes are high in demand, including Chinese and Dessert.
A Student making Singapore Noodles
A Student making a good batch of Sweet and Sour Chicken

Chinese Class
As you know that every successful talent or career must always have a starting point where the first gear is moved and for Derin, His first event was a family naming ceremony in February 2010, where his outfit had to cater for about 200 guests, this quest actually took off 6 months after his National Youth Service...A moment he decided to turn a hubby into a money making venture and decided to also branch out from small to large scale production.

Chef Derin loves trying various cuisines from around the world and that is why he is a versatile Chef, even though he has a special interest in Orientals, Chinese and Thai but he was quick to say that getting dedicated staff is not easy because majority are on contracts and so, they move from one place to the other but he creates a balance from all this to make your event worthwhile.
Caribbean Rice and Peas with Brown Chicken Soup served with Jerk Chicken and Fried Plantain
Even though Derin says it is a lucrative business, I had to ask him how he sources for ingredients to prepare most of these foreign cuisines and he says it is tiresome because one might end up visiting about 5 markets to get all the needed ingredients. Derin further says that one has to be patient to develop a brand, by setting up standards and a dedicated passion.

To be a caterer like Derin, this is what he says- It involves a deep passion just like any other career, consideration about the kind of food you love to make, the right environment and you can start in your home, Purchase kitchen equipment or rent them, Register your business and hire workers, even if it is on contract.
Chef Derin really proved to me that the cooking business is actually a serious business because a lot of decisions are taken in order to make his client happy at the end of the day...Derin endeavors to find out the exact number of guests expected for a particular event, though some clients he says are not truthful with their figures because caterers will always add some extra.

He also expressed that some people are not meant to be in the business, He says when you charge a certain amount, some others are ready to go lower, therefore, there has to be a standard for clients to follow..He adds that some people are not concerned about turning out great meals but just to get a contract and make money.
Coconut Rice with Singaporean Prawns in Chilli Sauce
Derin later told me he is actually a music person, even though he admits that he has a terrible voice and that he cannot sing to save his life but he used towrite music, prose and poetry before venturing into food and he had loved it since he was a teenager.
Spaghetti Bolognese with Italian Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Smoked Ham and Grilled Chicken Bruschetta with Mozzarella and Apricot
A good look at his class of cuisines proves that this native of Lagos Island will dazzle us for a long time to come because of the creativity and passion that dwells in him and how can i forget to get images of his cocktails...
Creme Brulee, Vanilla Panna Cotta with Honey Jelly, Red Velvet Cake, Black Forest Cake, Strawberry and Mango Coulis with Fresh Strawberries and kiwi Slices