…insights from entrepreneurs in the food industry in Nigeria

Episode 48 – Podcast with Curator of Artist and Scientist Restaurant

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@artistandscientist / 08170144279 

She is core scientist with PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry, the Curator of Artist & Scientist – a Restaurant, Catering and a Food Company; who never saw herself playing in the space of food business but for her love of good food invented Artist and Scientist which is a dining space founded for the love of good, decadent, delicious and authentic food since 2014 in Lagos.

Please note- the Audio quality in certain areas were poor but it definitely got better.
 Podcast Key Note

Can you introduce yourself – tell us your background and how long you’ve been in this industry

My name is Ope Toritse. I’ve been running the food business for about 5 yrs. I’m actually not a cook anyways because I started out as a scientist. I have a MSc. in organic chemistry and PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry. I worked as a scientist abroad and when I moved to Nigeria, I worked at a fertilizer company.

The Brand

a – so we have Artist and Scientist which is the main brand and what we do includes small gatherings, corporate events.

b – We have the restaurant; The Dining Room which is a dining space for diners.

c – The third brand is called Street Pot which was built for my love for street food.

How did it all start?

Well, I didn’t think I would make it a career, no! That wasn’t my plan. It was meant to be a side thing I would do while working then pop-in say; once every few days to check things out. So, it was about 6/7 years ago when I came back to Nigeria and I got a job in Benin. I was travelling from Mondays to Wednesdays, come back Wednesday or Thursday and spend my weekend in Lagos.

The job was great and I loved it and then the company ran into a financial trouble. One day a friend of mine needed someone to cater for a birthday party. So, I was given 50k; then I made potatoes chips, triple-fried chips, etc., and it was good. Everybody loved it; I just did my own kind of coking like special BBQ sauce, crispy chicken people loved the outcome. Then I said okay, this is interesting. Then again  I had a friend who had a fashion fair and I thought okay let me do something small for my brand by booking for a stand in her event and that was how it all started back in 2014.

How did you get your ideas in creating unique dishes?

I think it just come from watching people’s interaction with food and how they enjoy food. I watch a lot of food videos on food channels, You-tub etc

What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had running the catering arm of your businesses?

My biggest challenge was not making enough money then. I was losing money by giving my clients extra on meals. But at some point, I had to realize that I was not making any money. So I had to literally increase my prices and you know the most interesting thing, my customers were fine; they didn’t go anywhere. Also, I started being very specific with the orders.

What’s your staff structure; do you hire chefs?

Well, I have a chef that went to a culinary school and for the most part, I hire people that I can train –people that are willing to learn and develop their selves and skills

Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?

That’s a very good question. So, I am not really thinking in that direction. But I’m very open to what comes in the future and I think right now, I love it; I’m enjoying the way things are. But in 5yrs, I would love to actually have moved on to something much bigger. I’m thinking food manufacturing.


Key Takeaway Points:

  • Ask for feedback,  follow up with as many customers as you can
  • Be flexible with thoughts and energy
  • Hire people that you can train
  • Hire employees that are willing to learn and develop their selves
  • Do your portioning and pricing very well to avoid inventory loss 
  • Be Specific and intentional with your menu
  • You can have multiple brands within a company
  • Be creative with your menu and particular about your clients
  • Be specific with  the market you want to serve
  • Watch people’s interaction with your food
  • Use the best possible ingredients
  • Push yourself and continuously improve on your skills 
  • Dont be attached to your business
  • when you dance/flow with the recipes you make great food

 

Emeka Editor
Emeka is passionate about the Evolving Business Environment and the challenges bedevilling it. He is ardent and cognizant with the Restaurant Industry having worked in various outfits as a manager and consultant. He is presently working for BusinessFeverNg as the B.D.M and content editor.
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Emeka Editor
Emeka is passionate about the Evolving Business Environment and the challenges bedevilling it. He is ardent and cognizant with the Restaurant Industry having worked in various outfits as a manager and consultant. He is presently working for BusinessFeverNg as the B.D.M and content editor.
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About Author

Emeka is passionate about the Evolving Business Environment and the challenges bedevilling it. He is ardent and cognizant with the Restaurant Industry having worked in various outfits as a manager and consultant. He is presently working for BusinessFeverNg as the B.D.M and content editor.

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