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37 | A Chat With Lopè Ariyo

37 | A Chat With Lopè Ariyo

Listen to Episode 37: A Chat With Lopè Ariyo

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Episode Summary

This week on Tea & Tattle, I'm chatting with the food writer and chef, Lopè Ariyo, about her debut cookbook, Hibiscus. Lopè was named the Observer’s Rising Star of Food for 2017 and has been praised as one of the UK’s leading voices in West African cuisine. Her cookbook, Hibiscus, was published in June and has a delightful variety of mouthwatering recipes featuring traditional West African ingredients. I can't wait to try my hand at Lopè's hibiscus and coconut cake! 

In this episode, we chat about how going to boarding school in Nigeria influenced Lopè's cooking when she moved back to London and tried to recreate the dishes she'd loved best from her childhood. Lopè also shares how winning a food competition whilst studying Maths at university (and writing her food blog on the side) changed her life, landing her a cookbook deal and catapulting her into the food industry.

Lopè Ariyo. Image © Ellis Parrinder

Lopè Ariyo. Image © Ellis Parrinder

Lopè's love for entertaining and cooking is clear, and I asked her for some tips on being a brilliant hostess, as well as a menu for a dinner party inspired by her book. Be warned - listening to this episode is bound to make you feel rather hungry! 

Listen to learn more about West African cuisines and the story behind Hibiscus.

Episode Breakdown

  • 00:23 - Miranda introduces Lopè Ariyo.
  • 01:39 - How Lopè's love for cooking began. 
  • 03:07 - Lopè's experience going to boarding school in Nigeria and how it influenced her taste in food and cooking. 
  • 05:17 - Going from studying a Maths degree to winning a cooking competition.
  • 06:34 - The inspiration behind Hibiscus
  • 08:18 - More about the Red Magazine competition that led to the creation of Hibiscus
  • 11:21 - Lopè's thoughts on why West African cuisine has been largely underrepresented in the UK, and how this is changing.
  • 13:23 - How Lopè decided which West African cuisines to focus on for her cookbook.
  • 15:32 - Where to find some of the more unusual ingredients in Lopè's book.
  • 17:08 - Lopè's menu suggestions for a casual dinner party and tips for being a brilliant hostess.
  • 20:10 - Lopè's kitchen staples.
  • 22:10 - Lopè describes her new job at Ikoyi in London.
  • 22:59 - Recommendations for great West African food in London.
  • 24:00 - Favourite cookbook writers.
  • 24:58 - What's next for Lopè. 

Episode Links

Tweet Me!

click on the Twitter icon to share my favourite quote from this episode

Tweet: 'Cooking is a way to create a home away from home.' Talking about West African cuisine with @lopeariyo ~ http://bit.ly/2tjg9rO

Cooking is a way to create a home away from home.

 - Lopè Ariyo

Your Thoughts

Thank you so much for listening and being a part of Tea & Tattle podcast. As always, I love to hear your thoughts, so please let me know:

What did you enjoy most about this episode? Are you inspired to try Lopè's recipes?

Next Time...

I'm chatting with the writer and critic, Lauren Elkin. We're discussing Lauren's brilliant book, Flâneuse, which examines some of the history of creative women who have roamed city streets, as well as detailing Lauren's own experiences living and walking in New York City, Paris, London, Venice and Tokyo.  

Happy Listening!  

Please note: images of Lopè Ariyo © Ellis Parrinder

38 | Lauren Elkin and the Flâneuse

38 | Lauren Elkin and the Flâneuse

36 | Exploring Britain With Alice Stevenson

36 | Exploring Britain With Alice Stevenson