Funmi Adesoji is Head Chef at Lagos-based Phummyndeps Kitchen. For her, culinary is an art that comes naturally to creative-minded chefs. Funmi showed traces of this even as a kid. Back then, she would cook noodles and add her own extra plating skills to make it more appealing. After her education, she unconsciously delved into catering and settled fully into professional catering, with Phummyndeps dishing out unique meals. She shares her journey into culinary, growing up, family, virtues and a lot more with Tosin Clegg
Culinary is an art that comes naturally
Culinary is an art that comes naturally to creative-minded chefs. I’m a lover of colours, cuts, excellence and I hate boring meals; hence my style of plating. I would cook noodles as a child and add my own extra plating skills to make it more appealing. Plating is not something I plan. I just cook and envision how I want it to look on the plate and I go for it. Cooking is a beautiful thing; food is life and should be treated as such. I intend to tell the story of Nigerian food throughout Africa and eventually the world, one step at a time.
Growing up in Gbagada, Lagos was fun
My family was a middle class one. I can proudly say that I had the best experience growing up in Nigeria though my parents were extremely strict. I remember vividly always wanting to go to a boarding school. I wanted to do this just to gain freedom. My parents would not allow us watch television because they were very strict. We could not mingle with other kids and had to wear knee length dresses, long skirts and loose blouses. I also remember church back then was my second home because I had so much fun and enjoyed meeting children of my age and interacting with them which I did enjoy. The fun began when I got into secondary school. There I was able to express myself more. It’s time filled with memories most I wish were never seen, some I wish were still present.
Things weren’t tough growing up
I think my struggle was that I was unable to do all the things most children around could do. Which I think was normal in every strict Christian home back then. And as regards my background shaping my life, well that’s a big one. Honestly, now I get the message thank you mum. I’m very grounded.
I call my parents my super heroes
My mother was a caterer and my late dad an ex-military man, both Christians. They are very loving and caring. My dad was the most caring one especially when I or any of my siblings was ill. He would always make sure we were taken care of extremely well. I do miss that about him even now that I’m a lot older. Growing up under the guardianship of my strict parents is the best that has ever happened to me. I’m forever grateful to them; they molded me into a piece of art.
Best gift gotten as a child
I find it funny now. I remember the day my dad bought us a television. I was in secondary school then, omg!! We were super excited but then we could only watch Christians channels.
I’m not married but engaged
I’m not married but engaged to my partner and we have three beautiful kids together. We got together when I was 24.
The saddest day of my entire life
The most difficult thing that has ever happened to me was when I was told I had cancer last year on 15th of December 2017. It was the saddest day of my entire life. Though, I never thought for once I was going to die even though I was diagnosed to be at stage three of cancer. All I did was I re-dedicated my life to God and I held on to all his promises for me in the bible. So grateful to God I’m cancer free now and that is a living testimony.
Mistakes in Life
I am sure that we have all made a few mistakes in our lives or professional career but everything in life is supposed to teach us to do better or make more focused decisions. Life is a learning curve and we keep learning every day to become our best and give our best.
Indelible high and low point
The lower you hit rock bottom, the highest you rise. It’s not about the number of times you fall but how you rise matters. Always seeing my family alive and well gives me so much joy every day. The kids are achieving good grades at school, hubby doing well; I am doing what fulfills me 100 per cent. I’m alive, God is good, cannot ask for anything more.
My biggest fear is failure
To let myself and my children down remains my biggest fear in life. The future is so uncertain and no one knows what it holds or what will happen. I strive to do my best so I can leave a legacy for my children. Something they can look back and say, ‘Wooow, that was because of Mummy.’
Things I still desire
In as much as I am living a lifestyle and creating a brand, the passion and hard work to strive and do better will always be there; it’s the desire that motivates you to want to learn more and do better. I want to take my fine dining to a global level someday. I never made a conscious decision to become a cook. It just happened. I was bored of staying at home doing nothing so I started catering for my close friends for free and from there I realised people enjoyed my food and here we are.