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Why We Started The Jungle House – Salimat Alhassan

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Salimat Iluobe Alhassan is a trained chef with passion for the job. The London-trained chef started “The Jungle House” to prepare assorted meals for people from all walks of life.

In this interview she granted us, the passionate chef speaks on what motivates her as a chef and why “The Jungle House” will set the pace for the culinary industry in Nigeria.

Can we meet you?
My Name is Salimat Iluobe Alhassan. A Bsc holder from the University of Aston, Birmingham United Kingdom. I am the Co-founder and Executive Chef of “The Jungle House.” I am an indigene of Edo State and I have four siblings.

When and why did you decide to become a Chef?
Cooking has always been something I did for fun, I never really pictured myself taking this career path until I started a little catering business in my final year in the university. The business grew and the reviews were very positive so I began to discover further my deep love for culinary techniques and the science behind cooking. What started as a little university project has turned out to be a burning passion of mine to bring about a healthier country through food.

How did your family receive the news when you told them you wanted to become a chef, considering the fact that most parents want their children to be lawyers, doctors etc?
As we all know unconventional career paths could be a bit confusing. At first, when I told my parents I wanted to be a Chef, it met a bit of uncertainty on their part.
However, I was able to prove to them how financially rewarding it is and how passionate I was about it. Once they saw that they began to support me instantly. I am so grateful to have their support as I can always rely on them for counsel

Did you go to culinary school? If yes, which one — Or how did you learn the job?
I have always loved reading recipes and recreating them in my own way, this allowed me learn a lot of techniques on my own. I am an alumni of Red Dish Culinary Chronicles, where I sought to improve on my techniques.

What did you like best about your time in culinary school?
You get to try different kinds of meals from different aspiring chefs.

Why “The Jungle House?” Tell us about it, do you train aspiring chefs?
We came about the name “The Jungle House” through my desire to highlight my diversity. I thought to myself what best describe my diversity in cooking?” Then I thought of “The Jungle.”

“The Jungle” has different types of animals and trees and it is very diverse.
“The Jungle House” is a food development company with diverse interest in food content production, catering and food educational resources.

“The Jungle House” also owns the baguette sandwich brand 12 inch baguette.

What type of events do you cater for?
“The Jungle House” caters for an array of clients. Our menu is innovative and dynamic. Also, through our sandwich company we aim to serve a more diverse range of clients from kids to workers etc. Just give us a call and we are more than happy to assist you in setting up a memorable event.

How is the reception to chefs like in Nigeria?
Nigerian culture is developing our music, cloths and food are becoming mainstream and this has brought about a positive reaction to how chefs are perceived in Nigeria. The profession is getting a much desired attention.

Is there a chef you admire most and why?
I don’t have a Chef I admire. Maybe Jamie Oliver because of his love for exploring different cuisines. But I believe in staying true to myself. It is very easy to admire someone and want to be like him or her and copy everything he or she does. This can mislead you from your own unique potential because every chef is unique in his or her own way.

What is your signature cuisine?
Can’t stick to one, it is always changes.

So, you have a guest, she’s an American she has never been to Africa before, what are you whipping up for your guest?
Jollof rice and fried plantain.

Tell me about your most memorable outing as a Chef. (Any big name(s) you’ve made food for?
My first corporate gig was for Access Bank I was tasked to present a range of canapés. I recall staying up all night thinking of how best to please my client. With more practise these days, I stay awake, but not all night.

Tell me about your most embarrassing cooking moment.
Where I realised I didn’t know how to wrap a shawarma and I had to wrap about 100 shawarmas for students.

Would you spend more time cooking a food or bothering about how pleasing it is aesthetically ?
Both. People do eat with their eyes first. But I will also make sure the food is cooked to perfection no matter how long it takes.

When is your happiest moment at work?
When I’m creating new recipes

Where is your happy place?
My kitchen on the beach.

Where do you see Chef Sally and The Jungle House in the coming years?
I envision “The Jungle House as a company which will be at the forefront of the culinary industry in Nigeria and also the first full fledged food network in the country.

A message to young aspiring chefs?
Just be yourself. No one else can be you.

QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS

What do you always avoid ordering on a menu?
Salad

What is your go to meal, when you’re low on time?
Fried yam

What would your last meal be, if you could decide?
Fried yam

What is the most overrated recent food trend?
Cooking classes

What is a simple good piece of advice for pairing wine and food?
Eat red meat with red wine

Favourite restaurant in Nigeria and outside?
Nigeria – Thai Thai
Outside – Pepe piri piri

Which country in the world has the best food?
Nigeria

Easiest meal to impress someone?
Salmon, beetroot and apple tartare

Favourite Nigerian meal?
Fried yam

Your favourite wine?
I don’t drink

5 cooking ingredients you can’t do without?
Salt, black pepper, onion, garlic and paprika

Do you scream in the kitchen?
No

How do you get your revenge on unappreciative and annoying customers?
Customer is King.

Favourite ingredient to work with?
Black pepper

If you weren’t cooking what would you be doing for a living?
Food Video contents

What are you most excited about right now?
Getting an Electric food truck for my 12 inch baguette sandwich service.

Do you have any pet peeves?
When a teammate disappoints and affects the overall performance of the team  

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Keystone Bank partners Nilayo Sports to host Valuejet Remo Ultra Racetrack

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As a way of demonstrating its commitment to promoting fitness and healthy living amongst Nigerians, Keystone Bank Limited, recently partnered with Nilayo Sports Management Limited (NSML), to host the maiden edition of the Valuejet IAU African Championship, Remo 2019 competition.

The 50km ultra-distance race event held on Saturday December 7, 2019 at Sagamu, Ogun State, was the first African championship in IAU’s 35-year history. The three-in-one championship had about 4000 athletes from across 35 IAU member countries.

The race which took off at the Gateway International Stadium had in attendance dignitaries including the governor of Ogun State, Dapo Abiodun, president of IAU in Africa, Solomon Ogba, executive director, Keystone Bank, Yemi Odusoya, ex- Nigeria athlete, Falilat Ogunkoya amongst others.

Speaking at the event, Mr. Bukola Olopade, the managing director of NSML said the race is one of the company’s numerous ways to create bond among Nigerians and the world at large.

“The ultra-marathon is first of its kind in Africa and we are elated that our company is responsible for bringing youths together to harness their talents. “Valuejet IAU African Championships is a trendsetter. The ultra-race has set an excellent example for ultra-running on the continent”, he concluded.Commenting on the bank’s involvement in the event, executive director of Keystone Bank Limited, Mr. Yemi Odusanya said the lender recognises the importance of health to nation building, stating, “A healthy workforce is considered the most productive workforce. Good health is critical to economic development and therefore, health remains one of our core CSR pillars in the bank.

Mr. Yemi Odusanya, Executive Director, Keystone Bank Limited; a guest and Prince Dapo Abiodun, Executive Governor, Ogun State at the maiden edition of the Valuejet IAU African Championship, Remo 2019 competition, held at Shagamu, Ogun State, recently.

Keystone Bank will continually strive to promote advanced healthcare in Nigeria.“The competition showcases the bank’s commitment to community investment and project financing.

“Therefore, sponsoring the Valuejet IAU African Championship, Remo 2019 competition is in line with our vision to promote a healthier nation as a whole.”At the event, winners of the 50-kilometre ultra-race in both foreign and local categories pocketed $2,000, while the second and the third placed runners received $1,500 and $1,000, respectively.For the Nigerian local five-kilometre run, the winner received N500, 000, runner-up N300, 000, while the second runner-up went home with N150, 000.

Nigerian musical artistes, CDQ, Slimcase and Naira Marley were also on ground to add glamour to the event.While Nilayo Sports Management is a sports management and marketing company, working with some of the biggest names in the world of sports like IAAF, CAA and AFN aimed at promoting sporting activities from grassroots level to international level in Africa, Keystone Bank is a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers.

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Winners Of 2019 FirstBank Sponsored National Company Of The Year Competition Contest In The Africa Company Of The Year Competition

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced that Taidob College Abeokuta, the 2019 winners of the National Company of the Year competition organized by Junior Achievement Nigeria would compete against student teams from 10 other Junior Achievement member countries across Africa. The student team contestants comprise representative from the Kingdom of Eswatini (Swaziland), Ghana, Zambia, Gabon, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Mauritius, Botswana, Kenya and South Africa. The event is scheduled for Friday, 6 December 2019 at Alisa Hotel in Accra, Ghana.

The African stage of the National Company of the Year competition is a buildup and sequel to the national event hugely competed by 12 student companies from across the country, including the eventual winner Taidob College Abeokuta. Terra Kulture, Lagos played host to the event on 3 October 2019.

Speaking on the event, Folake Ani-Mumuney, Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, First Bank of Nigeria Limited said “the youngsters from Taidob College are indeed not just solution providers, but also life savers. The impact of their innovation – the Gas Leakage Detector – would go a very long way at solving the problem of fire outbreaks due to gas leakages in homes, offices, and industries. I no doubt believe that they would make Nigeria and indeed the rest of Africa proud at the competition. We are delighted to associate with them and congratulate Junior Achievement on the feats so far attained”.

Last year, Inventive Explorers, from Caro Favored College Ajegunle, emerged the grand winners at the Africa Company of the Year competition in Ghana. Their rechargeable handheld LED traffic lights has solved a real problem in various congested communities and reduced traffic accidents, especially in areas with school children crossing busy streets. Over the years, FirstBank has been at the forefront of partnering with Junior Achievement Nigeria in Company of the year program and competition.

The National Company of the Year Competition (NCOY) is an annual flagship event by Junior Achievement Nigeria’s (JAN), which convenes the winners of the JA Company Program Regional Competitions across Nigeria together to compete for the National Company of the Year Award. The national winner then proceeds to represent Nigeria against other JA Africa member-nation companies.

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Keystone Bank boosts workplace engagement and productivity

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In demonstration of its commitment to promoting fitness, healthy living, fostering effective and healthy workplace collaboration amongst its staff and their family members, Keystone Bank Limited, has announced the launch of a sporting event tagged, Keystone Bank Inter-divisional Games (KIG).

According to the lender, the initiative is part of the bank’s objective in creating a better working relationship on the job thereby boosting performances and building a positive work atmosphere with employee welfare and development at its crux.

At the maiden edition held at the main bowl of the prestigious University of Lagos Sports Centre on Saturday, November 23, 2019, the exhilarating event was a culmination of various sporting activities such as football, table games and track & field. The business divisions within the bank which were grouped into four teams (White Lions, The Bulls, Phoenix and Warriors) competed in games such as sprint, chess, sack race and football. It was indeed a relaxed fun-driven atmosphere where colleagues competed for the glory of winning at the games. Families and friends who attended were also not left out, as they spent time with loved ones bonding and the children thrilled with much excitement.

Speaking on the initiative, Keystone Bank executive director, Olaniran Olayinka said: “Maintaining work-life balance helps reduce stress and helps prevent burnout in the workplace, particularly, as chronic stress is one of the most common health issues in the workplace. It is in view of this that KIG was initiated.

“KIG has enabled the vibrant employee force of Keystone Bank to foster better relationships outside the office which would impact on a better working relationship on the job thereby boosting performances and workplace happiness.

“We will build on the good that has been done in this maiden edition as we push to make Keystone a great place to work.”

Keystone Bank is a technology and service-driven commercial bank offering convenient and reliable solutions to its customers.

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