Tokunbo means “From across the sea” in Yoruba, a language from the West African nation of Nigeria, and it is befitting of this single mother-turned-entrepreneur, Tokunbo Koiki. As if perfectly chosen for her at birth, it seems that it is her destiny to bring Nigerian food to British shores in a new and refreshing way.
Born in Camden, London to Nigerian parents, Tokunbo lived in Lagos, Nigeria for the first nine years of her life – an experience which shaped her taste buds and love of Nigeria cuisine and culture.
Tokunbo completed her university education in London and used her degrees to pursue her passions as a committed advocate for children and women’s rights, using her cross-cultural experience from working internationally across three continents. It was this passion for cross-cultural experiences and bringing people together that planted the seed of a dream in Tokunbo’s heart.
After years of home-grown cooking for family and friends, Tokunbo decided to turn her dream into a business reality launching Tee’s Food Corner in 2015, a pop-up Nigerian street food stall and Tokunbo’s Kitchen in 2016, which is a private chef and supper club service for people from all cultures to experience and enjoy authentic Nigerian food. The first supper club will be launched on 23 April 2016 in North London.
“Tokunbo’s Kitchen is a space and opportunity for people to experience and enjoy the type of delicious home cooked Nigerian food I grew up eating. My overall goal is to have Nigerian cuisine as a favourite choice on the London food landscape. I started Tokunbo’s Kitchen here in London as this is a city that has shaped me into the proud British-Nigerian woman I am,” says Tokunbo.
Tokunbo’s love of Nigerian cuisine inspired her to launch these start-ups at a time when there is still not enough emphasis on celebrating the immense diversity of African cuisine, more specifically Nigerian delicacies in the UK and Europe as a whole. According to primary research undertaken by West African Cooks, African/Caribbean themed supper clubs makes up less than 1% of the entire London pop-up market share.
With dedication, motivation and the sheer desire to introduce Nigerian food to a more global market, Tokunbo Koiki is bringing a new taste from “across the sea”.