The whole universe conspired to make Alvin Takon Otareh a chef. He was born into a family where his parents were both in the food business, he grew up in Cross River, a state renowned for its unmissable delicacies, and for as long as he could remember the kitchen has always been his favorite place.
So, little wonder that right after getting his degree in public health from Madonna university and completing his youth service, Alvin,24, set up his food business. Despite the clear evidence that the culinary arts are written in his stars, Chef Alvin has had his fair share of detractors. “I constantly have to reaffirm my dream to certain people, especially to a certain uncle of mine who still believes a white-collar job will be perfect for me”, he discloses.
In the course of our conversation with Chef Alvin we learnt more about his business, his dreams, and the recipe to the perfect Bole (plantain) and seafood stew:
Tell Us About Your Culinary Business?
Alvinzkitchen is a new food , cakes and confectionery vendor in the Abuja metropolis with the aim of delivering quality, tasty and delicious meals to clients in Abuja , Nigeria, and of recent internationally! We operate by taking food orders (soups, stews etc) 24hours before time & delivering to the designated location right on time! For cakes and confectioneries, orders are taken 3 days ahead of time to ensure adequate and appropriate delivery.
Was It Highly Capital Intensive Starting Up?
Yes, getting the basic equipments to begin did require a considerable amount of money, and the process is still on. It never ends!
What Has Been The Most Rewarding Part Of It All?
The business is growing in leaps and bounds, so thats a huge source of encouragement .
What Has Been The Most Challenging Part Of Running The Business And How Are You Tackling It?
The most challenging part has to be staying constantly on my toes in order to keep up with new trends and the need to constantly hone my skills in order to be better. I try to tackle and overcome this by learning constantly through cookbooks, experiments, YouTube videos, and social media at large.
If someone wants to venture into your business path what advice will you give them?
Run!!! just kidding! I’d say be patient, stay focused, and be determined. There would be days you would want to give up, especially in the beginning when nothing seems to be working. Folks would discourage you, You would even doubt your skills at some point, but never lose focus! The best is yet to come!
Do you think cooking is an inherent gift or a skill you have to learn over time?
it definitely is a gift, and it can also be learnt. It all boils down to your driving force.
If you weren’t a chef, what will you rather be?
if i wasn’t a chef I definitely would be a doctor! That was always the dream.
Cross Riverians are renowned for their delicacies, As a Cross Riverian how has that influenced you as a chef?
Firstly, i make the best Afang soup in town! Secondly, being a chef from a place with a rich culinary heritage keeps me on my toes because i know the standard i have to live up to and i aim to maintain that standard.
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
In 5years i hope to be one of the renowned names in Nigeria leading in the culinary industry, having outlets in major cities, catering for the Dangotes , the presidency and everyone reading this !