Let’s get to meet you, ma’am. Tell us about you and your background
Hello, my name is Miss Ejemai Titilola. I come from a very small nuclear family
I grew up at Gowon Estate, Egbeda. I attended St Bernadette school and proceeded to Doregos Private Academy. I attended the University of Lagos where I studied Microbiology.
I practiced for a few years before venturing into the catering business and so far, God has been faithful
What inspired you to get into the catering business? Have you always loved culinary activities?
So talking about inspiration! My mom, I would say was/is a huge inspiration to me! My mom used to be a caterer but she didn’t do it to earn a living. I would say I was forced to love cooking.. lol
I was the only girl and growing up it was mandatory I stayed with my mom in the kitchen while she cooked. So I will say I grew to love cooking (By force) I developed an interest and loved the idea of cooking as I look beyond what people term stress
I see cooking as a way of life, I see food as art and imagine combining different spices to get a distinctive taste! I just feel you’re a genius if you can cook
In Nigeria, we have a culture of celebrating events with different kinds of parties and personalities. What kind of events do you like catering for and why is that?
Yes of course if you’re not ready to adhere to strict kitchen hygiene practices, it’s best you do not venture into catering. Maybe by virtue of the fact that I double as a microbiologist, food hygiene is very pertinent. In cooking for different types of people, you need to understand that different people have different gastrointestinal systems so you must make sure your food is safe to eat by all types of gastrointestinal types: ulcer, ruminating people, elderly, kids with tender stomachs,
The catering business comes with a lot of value chains and attention to detail. What is the most vital aspect of catering for an event?
You need to be intentional in doing research on the kind of people you would be cooking for. There would be a need to segment them according to different variables and likes, such as tribe, age, culture, and most importantly, your food must be palatable and well packaged.
Every caterer always has a signature activity. What can we say stands you out from other caterers? Do you have any initiative that sells a unique customer experience?
At Sycamore, our Unique selling point is our taste! So for us, once you taste our food, you always want to come back! we leave a long-lasting impression through our food and this has worked for us over the years
We have a lot of people that aspire to be in this line of business, what are the norms and values you would recommend for such?
To venture into the food business, you must be ready to start from scratch with a lot of relearning and unlearning to do. I’ll state 3 core values:
- Hard work
The catering business offers a lot of job opportunities for young people. Do you have any platform where they can learn basic skills in catering and events planning
Oh yes! We have done some retreats in the past
Gone to secondary schools to sensitize the young ones on career opportunities in entrepreneurship
We sensitize them about entrepreneurship while buttressing the point that education is the best legacy and entrepreneurship works better with education than without it
We also offer training programs at our kitchen and we usually have 1 student sponsored by the company for free to learn for a month
As a brand, what should Nigeria and the entire world be expecting from you in the future?
Sycamore is a Nigerian brand with a global vision/outlook. We pride ourselves on the kind of service we render. We are working on having annexes across Lagos, Nigerian states and someday take it global …Sycamore is a huge brand as one of the attributes which the business was named after, Sycamore will be deeply rooted across the world, we will stand the test of time, make use of good opportunities and put Nigeria on the map through food