A Nigerian couple Derin and Debo Omole last year created an exciting African food enterprise in Swansea, Wales known as Twale cuisine, and there are bigger plans to expand operations. The couple adopted the word twale from a Nigerian slang used as a salute to show admiration, respect, and service. The startup places value on great food, as well as the celebration of culture and the promotion of mutual respect.
African dishes are rare to find in restaurants in Swansea, and Debo and Derin saw the opportunity to introduce dishes such as Mr tasty “Jollof Rice” and Miss Delectable “Fried Plantain” to the community. The couple has plans to update their menu to include food from every part of the continent.
Currently cooking from home with approval from the council, the couple’s kitchen has proven to be small and restrictive in terms of space and output, which affects the number of people they can reach. The restrictions have necessitated the need for an alternative, a truck. Currently crowd-sourcing for funds, the couple has created a crowdfund page and have currently raised £1,080 within 24 hours. With 39 days to go and a target of £43,100 the couple is hopeful that they’ll get support from both friends and well-wishers.
There are bigger plans to expand operations. “In 2017, we want to take Twale to the streets of Swansea where our food can encourage lots more cultural interaction and dialogue. In 2017, we want to increase our contribution to charitable causes particularly in the lines of empowering people and reducing poverty,” a message posted on Twale Cuisine website reads.
Derin and Debo Omole alongside the Deputy Lord Mayor of the City and County of Swansea Photo: Facebook/Twale Cuisine
Derin who has enjoyed cooking and catering for close to 15 years, in and out of the UK has two Masters degrees and is a qualified public health specialist, while Debo got his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Swansea University 2 years ago. It was during this time that the idea of Twale cuisine started growing.
Debo and Derin want people to know Nigerians better through food. Currently living in a two bedroom apartment, it’s not sufficient to reach as many people as they’d wish. Hopefully with a food truck, they could attend food festivals and go round the city.
— Twale Cuisine (@TwaleL) March 6, 2017