Nigerian Chef; Hilda Effiong Bassey emerged winner of the maiden edition of the Jollof Face-Off sponsored by VBank, Nigeria’s foremost digital bank. Chef Hilda beat Chef Seyram Leslie Kumordzie to score the highest marks after a judges’ blind tasting session, winning the grand prize of $5,000 while her Ghanaian opposing chef was consoled with N500,000.
Four Judges representing both West African countries; Music producer and CEO Mavin Records; Don Jazzy, Food, Lifestyle Blogger and Vlogger; Sisi Yemmie, Culinary Entrepreneur; Mukase Chic and Media Practitioner; Abeiku Santana awarded scores to the Chefs across several parameters.
Reacting to her victory, Chef Hilda who started her culinary journey at the age of 17 said that, “’I am so excited, and the experience is awesome. I thank the organizers and VBank for this wonderful experience. Cooking is something I love to do, and I seize every opportunity to improve my skill and do great stuff.”
The competition brought together distinguished chefs, culinary experts and business owners in the food industry and showcased the culture, uniqueness and culinary talents of Nigerians and Ghanaians.
Also in attendance was seasoned Chef and Founder/CEO, Gourmet Cuisine, Chef Nkesi Enyioha who explained to members of the press on Saturday 31 July 2021 in Lagos that, “Every West African country has at least one variation of Jollof rice and it both divides and unites the region. With its seductive aroma, deep red colour and spicy flavour, Jollof rice is the undisputed queen of West African kitchens. It’s our beloved culinary treasure and a dish from our very heart and soul.”
The Jollof Face-off was also a part of VBank efforts to provide access to market and opportunities for entrepreneurs in Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) in Nigeria, especially in culinary arts.
Speaking on the competition at a press parley, Senior Product Manager, VBank, Ebere Ahaotu stated that, “This kind of competition would allow us to appreciate cooking as an art form and further appreciate different cultures. We see it more as a way of impacting SMEs in the food business in Nigeria which is a major part of social and economic development.
He added that ‘’As an innovative brand, VBank is keen on economic empowerment, and it is our desire to see businesses go beyond profit-making to embed societal and environmental interests which would deliver long term growth.”
Apart from providing access to finance, VBank managed by VFD Microfinance Bank has been supporting entrepreneurs in the Small-Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) with its Grow With V series, a monthly webinar session that brings subject experts in different knowledge areas into the same virtual room with young individuals, professionals, and SMEs.
In the past, Grow With V has featured Noble Igwe, Mai Atafo and popular Instagram store owner, Maureen Edwin. In the second half of the year, VBank is partnering with individuals and businesses to help grow their finances via a Personal Finance series which has kicked off with financial literacy expert, Tosin Olaseinde.