Who has inspired you the most in your career and what led you to start Zoe's Ghana Kitchen?
I randomly got to meet Patti Sloely at a charity fundraising event I catered for a couple of years ago for See Africa Differently. Patti teaches cookery classes at Jean Michelle Novelli's cookery school and is a Ghanaian chef - I had no knowledge of her before that but she had heard of me and Zoe's Ghana Kitchen. She spoke to me as if I were her peer and gave me a very rousing and inspirational speech and encouragement about the path I was treading!
What is the first thing you remember cooking?
Ahh, peanut butter stew - otherwise known as 'NkatenKwan' - many west and east African countries have their own version of this groundnut stew and it's such a simple and delicious dish! Made with a slow cooked meat broth (my preference is lamb but it often cooked with chicken), onions and tomatoes and gently spiced - when it's cooking the piquancy of chilli and onion mixed with sweet nuttiness can stop people in their tracks - my school friends who I sometimes cooked it for always wanted more and it became my signature dish in the early years of ZGK - with a side of sweet fried plantain and a sprinkling of gari - to me it just tastes of home!
What your top 3, can't live without, ingredients?
Tomatoes, onions and scotch bonnet - these 3 form the basis of my passage style sauce with which I cook almost every stew I make.
What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone wanting to start their own pop up restaurant?
Cook what you love with love and people will love it!
Favourite London restaurant and best pop up you've been to?
My favourite spot in east London for the last few years has been Chaat on Redchurch Street - the home cooked south Indian cuisine and atmosphere is both so simple and inviting.
Do you have a final menu for your upcoming residency at The King and Co?
It's pretty much final now with some small adjustments to our weekly specials and brunch offering - it will be going up on The King & Co website very soon!
What's the craziest request/event that you've catered for? Any funny stories you can share...?!
I had an event last week cooking x 5 canapés plus a street food menu plus a sit down meal for 250 people in a very small and limited temporary kitchen in a church - that was not without its own issues of space and cooking facility - on top of that a meat order turned up 5 hours late so we only had 3 hours to prep and cook everything - I'd rather not do that again!
Do you run Zoe's Ghana Kitchen full time? If yes, when did you make the switchover or have you always chef-ed as a career?
Yes, it's been full time for the past two years now - I was half way through my MA in creative writing when I went full time - or rather it went full time and took me with it... I've never trained as a chef or worked as a cook previously .
I love your flyer designs - do you do them yourself? Or if not, who creates them for you, if you don't mind telling us!
My best friend Yassa is an amazing graphic designer and he created the brand identity for ZGK – he knows me really well so we worked together to get an identity that reflects my personality and what ZGK is about - vibrancy, energy and fun! He's created such a great template to work with.
Finally, what's the plan for you in 2015, and beyond? Where are you currently working, and do you have any exciting projects in the pipeline (that you don't mind my readers knowing about!)
There's lots of exciting projects planned for this year! We're opening a street food pitch at Pump Shoreditch and hoping to make that a permanent home - we may also have an exciting opening in south London but I can't say too much about that just yet - the big aim is to open a small cafe / restaurant space so cross all your fingers and toes we get to make that happen!
MORE ON ZOE'S GHANA KITCHEN
Read Rosie's review of Zoe's Ghana Kitchen Here
Imges from Chris Coulson - Twitter - @cwiss