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Chef Benedict

Lagos, Nigeria
I go by the name chef Benedict, I grew up in Florence, Italy. My professional culinary journey started towards the end of 2013 when I started my culinary school at le Cordon Bleu Firenze (Scuola d'arte Culinaria Italiana), i then worked at Ristorante Vincanto a high end restaurant in the historical Centre of Florence focusing on giving a modern twist to traditional italian cuisine highly influenced by the region of Puglia. I attended Castalimenti in Brescia where I received a certificate for catering and banqueting management. The summer of 2016 I attended Carpigiani Gelato University in Bologna and worked at l'antica Gelateria in Florence.

My relationship with food started from a very young age. By the age of 14 I already started cooking a fair amount. My mother and stepfather both being foodies would take me to the best restaurants to eat, I was very exposed to food from a young age. I grew up in an Italo-Nigerian house hold, both families heavily celebrated food. On my mothers side my grandmother was a well known home economist in Nigeria. She transmitted the importance of fresh produce to my mother which my mother transmitted to me. My mother and I would go to the market almost daily to go and pick out weekly supplies and only picked seasonal and locally sourced goods, a philosophy that has highly influenced my approach to food. I still have the same butcher and fish monger as when I was 10 years old, they saw me grow up and are very happy about the path I have chosen. On my step fathers side I inherited my knowledge for Italian cuisine, they are from the south of Italy,Calabria , his mother "la nonna" the matriarch" of the family would spoil us with great feasts on sundays and holidays, it was during these gatherings that I appreciated and learnt a lot about Italian food. I learnt how to make fresh pasta as well as many pasta sauces as well as other traditional Italian dishes that I have now use as my base today. My approach and interaction with food is a very personal one, my choice of working with italian food and fresh ingredients is due to my experiences, it is what I grew up with, it is what I know.

I moved to Lagos November 2015, I came with the idea of trying to introduce Nigeria to real Italian cuisine. The driving force behind The Chef Benedict Culinary Experience is to introduce the italian philosophy on how we approach food, balance, freshness and simplicity. I cook with local and seasonal produce, and believe that the best food is fresh food. I rely heavily on my extensive knowledge of how italian food works to replicate and elevate classic regional italian dishes using produce from local farmers.

I love every aspect of my work because I learn alot everyday, I am lucky to call this work and I wish to continue learning more about this trade I have chosen for the rest of my life.