Forget the frozen pizzas and TV dinners. Americans now have the opportunity to explore the numerous flavours of West African cuisine. Chicago-based couple Perteet and Fred Spencer have signed a deal with American company Whole Foods to produce a new line of frozen traditional West African meals. The Spencers are the founders of AYO Foods, derived from the Yoruba term meaning “joy”, and wanted to bring some of their favourite recipes to locations where they feel West African cuisine especially is still underrepresented, Travel Noire reports.
Speaking about the major deal with BLACK ENTERPRISE, Perteet says the following:
“Our home has always been a gathering point for friends and family because we love the joy that is born out of those special moments together. None of these moments happen without a great meal. As we thought about building a business together, nothing inspired us more than using our strong industry experiences to create these moments for others by sharing some of our family’s favorite recipes that were under-represented in mainstream grocery stores.”
The new line of frozen meals is set to be made available in Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and in the Chicago-based grocery store, Green Grocer. While the recipes to be included in the new line have not as yet been revealed, AYO Food products including Jollof rice, egusi soup and cassava leaf soup may just be a part of it.
OkayAfrica‘s Kiratiana Freelon writes, “When it comes to African restaurants, Chicago is no Paris or London, where fancy eateries and humble spots coexist.” Freelon goes on to add that, “Chicago’s African restaurants are all still family-run businesses that to tend cater to Africans seeking an affordable taste of home.” Revisit our previous Diaspora Eats series here.