#MeetTheChef - Emerging Nomadic & Private Chef Amfo of Biishville Serving An Intimate Dining Experience.
Photo Credit @Lensstorygh
The dining experience is slowly but surely changing in Ghana with the growth of private chefs giving Ghanaians a pleasurable dining affair not often found in the average traditional restaurant. There is a steady incline of young chefs dedicating their work to nomadic (pop-up restaurants) & private chef services. One of such new generation chefs is a young man who out of a passion for cooking has turned that zeal into a business venture which is making the waves in Accra.
Chef Amfo hosted us recently to experience not only his food but also to give more insight into his journey into this industry and the daily challenges he faces as well.
OQ - What is your specialty as a Chef?
CA- I create most of my recipes which makes each dish singular and different. I tend to fuse Ghanaian recipes with that of other cultures. Many of my guests have commented on that aspect of my cooking. I am very specific and choosy when it comes to my spices as well. I choose organic & natural spices instead of stock cubes which have addutives
OQ- Traditionally, Most Men Would Not Be Found In The Kitchen. What Inspired You To Take This Step To Become A Chef?
CA- It's actually more about passion which is leading into a business venture. I am the closest to my Mom and I was usually skirting around her in the kitchen. That's where I picked up some cooking tricks which built my passion over time. I did not go to a culinary school as well but I just might one of these days to polish up on my plating skills.
OQ- Which Chef Inspires You Most?
CA- Chef Selassie of Midunu and Jamie Oliver are my main inspirations.
OQ- Your Business Name..Biishville, What Does It Mean?
CA- Everything I make is based on the experience and taste of homemade food. I combined one of my nicknames Bishops to Ville to create Biishville. A homey dining experience with Bishops.
OQ- Your Clients. How Do People Get To Hear of You To Reserve a Seat For One of Your Nomadic Dining Experiences?
CA- It's actually been word-of-mouth mostly. Guests who come for the first time, refer me to their friends who are tired of the same old restaurant dining and are looking for something eyebrow-raising different. Also I use social media to market upcoming Nomadic dining events and I add a reservation link to menus posted. That way future clients are able to book ahead of time and even invite a friend or two. The location is never made known until a client completes a reservation plus payment. I have also had repeat guests over a period of time since I started. That has helped a lot too.
OQ - What Was Your Most Recent Event Like?
CA- I actually had a nomadic brunch event which was my first experience in preparing that type of meal. I served crepes topped with blueberries, full English breakfast options with jugs of fresh juice. It was an event for 20 people but it was actually overbooked at the end. That for me was very encouraging as it showed that my name was getting out there.
OQ- Tell Me More About Your Clientele's Demography.
CA- It's a fusion between between expats in Ghana, working middle-class adults and a few college students.
OQ- How Are Your Rates Like? Private & Nomadic Dining Sounds Very Expensive.
CA- [ Laughs!] My rates are actually affordable and can range between GHC100 for a four course meal but then it also depends on the occasion. During Christmas, I organised a premium White Christmas Champagne Dinner which was GHC300 per head. I am currently basing my pricing on a more penetrative note as I am still new in this industry.
OQ- Can You Recollect Any Horrid Experience In The Hot Kitchen?
CA- Well, I am not a happy chef when something doesnt come out right. I mean the taste in this instance. I might not serve it at all if the taste isn't to my deepest expectations. There've been a few occasions where guests would compliment me on the taste but if I am not happy then I am not happy within. There have been occasions where I have not found the ingredients for a meal which becomes a setback but then one which I overcome by substituting something different and more local with.
OQ - What Are Your Personal & Business Challenges As An Emerging Private Chef/
CA- First of all, I started Biishville with my monthly allowance for school to manage the business...
[I break in] : When did you finish school?
CA- 😂 I am still in school.
[Me: 😵 WHAT??]
CA: 😉I am in my final year at the Presbyterian University College and studying Business Management. I actually will be completing in four months time. When I was in my third year, I started Biishville on the 27th of February and my first event was 30 guests. I had a free tasting experience that evening. Most of the invited guests were from my school came over and I was privileged to have celebrity bloggers like Ameyaw Debrah come by as well. It wasn't easy in the beginning. Currently, one of my biggest challenges is finding a location perfect for creating an intimate and private experience for my guests. Sometimes I do find one but the prices often quoted are way above budget. But I understand these challenges as they are everyday business challenges. I am doing my utmost best to also buy more fixed assets like chairs, cooking equipment etc. That way I don't have to rent things like furniture every time there's an event. I get support from family and friends during some of these setbacks.
OQ- Which Cooking Equipment Don't You Mind Splurging On?
CA- My Knives. 🔪. Knives ensures cooking efficiency all the time. I have two sets of knives and the brand I currently use is the Royalty Line.
Photo Credit @Lensstorygh
OQ- What's Your Source For Organic Vegetables & Spices?
CA - I have a particular supplier at the Madina Market who knows my choice quality expectations. Sometimes I go with a list of things I need, other times I go blank and explore what's available at the local markets. I tend to discover some new things when I do this.
Photo Credit @Lensstorygh
OQ- What Is Your Main Goal?
CA- To own a chain of restaurants is my dream 😌💭 that's why I am starting out as a chef to build my experience. Maybe just maybe, when I retire I will go back to cooking to while away time. 😁
I fell in love a thousand times over with the mobile palette table and all the cutesy artsy centrepieces.
After the chat with Chef Amfo, we settled down to the Japanese style table setting to experience the Chicken Vegetable Creamy Soup with Steamed Rice & Potatoes.
The creamy soup was delightfully delicious! No Hype! The sounds at the table were similar expressions of happy hmm..hmmmm..! I think I hmmed the most. It was almost like comfort food and all we needed was huge comfy pillows after dinner and some Netflix and possibly a glass of wine.
The ambiance was indeed a well-thought through carefully crafted experience. Calming lighting, minimalist photography with hints of plant life combined with good food was enough to make anyone not want to leave. The conversation was great! We made a new friend Dela who was very engaging in sharing his experiences in the hospitality industry. Good belly laughs. Nothing was overstated. Excellent balance it all was.
As an emerging Chef who's almost done with college, Chef Amfo has done incredibly well in a generation of Ghanaian youth who are trying to find their paths. He's not playing, as the slang goes.
Having a private chef prepare a special meal in your home, for a special occasion like a wedding anniversary beats going out to traditional restaurants. A private chef can work with you to create an unforgettable menu taking into account diet preferences and allergies. Private parties will never be the same again when you also engage the services of a private chef. A worthwhile affair.
This is the first feature of #MeetTheChef, a blog series spotlight on Ghanaian Chefs and the story of their journey thus far in the hot kitchen. Get to know more about the chef at your favourite restaurant in Accra and share in their daily inspirations, struggles and delicious victories.