October marks Black History Month in the UK and this year's theme is 'Celebrating our Sisters' to highlight the achievements and contributions of black women throughout history. To mark the occasion, we're celebrating some of our amazing black-owned vendors. We asked them to share their stories, what this year's theme means to them and why they believe it's important to celebrate Black History Month.

Sam Bankole - BK Food Concepts

First up, we have BK Food Concepts. This mouthwatering vendor whips up a fusion of Caribbean and American flavours to give your taste buds a serious party! From juicy jerk chicken to finger-licking ribs, their dishes are bursting with soul and flavour that will make your heart dance.

Sam Bankole of BK Food Concepts

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business

After sixteen years of banking experience, working in relationship management, strategic advisory and consultancy roles, I decided I wanted to start my own business, with a view to building something from the ground up. I started the business with a good friend back in 2018, establishing a Nigerian cuisine brand called Ore Meji, which traded on a delivery only basis. The Simply Jollof was established a few years later when my business partner decided to try other things, and has operated since then catering corporate events and more recently, festivals.

A chance meeting with a restauranteur, Felipe Preece, led to the adoption of his Japanese street food brands, Sugoi JPN, Japanified and Kawaii Bowl, all of which are present at my newly launched location called Under One Kitchen in Notting Hill. These also prove hugely popular with corporate and private events.

This year's theme is 'Celebrating our sisters'. What does this mean to you?

This pays special recognition to the role that black women have played in shaping and inspiring change in different walks of life, be it in the community, business, sports and others.

Why do you think it's important to celebrate Black History Month?

It's important to recognise and celebrate the efforts by members of the black community over the years and currently, to honour those who have done so much, and especially because these efforts serve as examples and inspiration for goals and milestones for current and future generations  

Who has been your biggest inspiration throughout your career and life?

My inspiration has always come from people with fairly ordinary beginnings but who have strived for success in their chosen direction, and achieved said success, despite numerous obstacles. People such as Lewis Hamilton, Gordon Ramsay and Sir Richard Branson, all of whom are the best at what they do, with dogged determination and the inability to take no for an answer.

Simply Jollof

Emeka & Ifeyinwa Frederick - Chuku's

Next, let's dive into the world of Chuku's. These fabulous siblings are all about chowing down on Nigerian small plates with a modern twist. Their tasty creations, like suya chicken skewers and plantain waffles, are guaranteed to leave you wanting more. Get ready to have your palate transported to the bustling streets of Lagos!

Siblings Emeka & Ifeyinwa Frederick of Chuku's

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business

Chuku's is the world's first Nigerian tapas restaurant, founded by brother-sister duo Emeka and Ifeyinwa Frederick. The critically-acclaimed brand is on a mission to celebrate the best of Nigerian and culture whilst building a community centred around good food and feel good vibes. The duo's immersive cultural dining experience coined the "chop, chat, chill" has been bringing an innovative taste of Nigeria to London since 2016. After 4.5 years of pop-ups and being crowned Young British Foodie Award winners, in 2020 they opened their first permanent site in Seven Sisters, Tottenham.

Since opening, they've been named one of the best restaurants in London by Time Out, SquareMeal and Conde Nast Traveller. They've also been named one of the best brunch spots in London by Vogue. Their signature dishes such as Jollof Quinoa and Plantain Waffles has seen the restaurant receive rave reviews, being described by The Guardian as "a delicious, life-changing crash course in Nigerian tapas". But Chuku's is about more than just food and is a celebration of Nigerian culture, beautifully encapsulated by the Evening Standard's description of the restaurant as “a rousing expression of cultural pride”. Most recently, Chuku's was selected from 500 applicants to receive a grant from Beyonce's foundation BeyGOOD, to further develop their business.

This year's theme is 'Celebrating our sisters'. What does this mean to you?

From Ifeyinwa: "For me, it's about looking at the community of black women who came before me and who currently are around me and celebrating them for who they are. Often, we reserve the celebrations for the extraordinary achievements we hear about but for many black women their seemingly ordinary existence was extraordinary in their mini moments of defiance or the smaller trailblazing steps they took to carve a path for themselves which has ultimately led to me being where I am today. So for me celebrating our sisters is about celebrating the women who keep showing up as themselves as proud black women, in a world that isn't always welcoming to that. "

Why do you think it's important to celebrate Black History Month?

From Emeka: "Firstly, representation matters. If you can't see it, you're less likely to think it's possible. Black History Month is an opportunity to shine a spotlight on amazing individuals and organisations from the black community who can be inspirations to many others in and outside of the community - who don't always see such black excellence and thus may forget that it's possible and happening! Secondly, it's about remembering who you are and celebrating that just being you is good enough. For, as a black person in the UK, with the day-to-day challenges, it's very easy to doubt your worth. I hope this October, we remember that we are gold!"

Who has been your biggest inspiration throughout your career and life?

From the duo: "Our parents. They are our biggest supporters and champion everything that we do - way before we started Chuku's. They taught us to be confident in who we are and how to work hard but also how to have fun at the same time. They are two of the biggest lovers of life and are super playful. The way we've gone about representing our culture rooted in authenticity but with playful twists is down to the way they've shaped us."

Chuku's Egusi Bowl

Lloyd Mensah - Spinach & Agushi

Now, imagine a plate filled with the incredible flavours of Ghanaian cuisine. That's where Spinach & Agushi comes in. Their flavorful stews and aromatic jollof rice will have you doing your happy food dance in no time. And don't get us started on their crunchy plantain chips—once you start, you won't be able to stop!

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business

My name is Lloyd Mensah and I am the owner of Spinach & Agushi Supper Club. We specialise in food inspired by Ghana and West Africa. We started off in street food in 2004 in Hackney’s Broadway Market. We’ve since diversified our offering to corporate and private catering as well as supper clubs.

This year's theme is 'Celebrating our sisters'. What does this mean to you?

This year’s BHM theme of ‘Celebrating our Sisters’ means very much to me as it shines a light on a largely overlooked group of people in black women. The have contributed so much to this country and beyond but their achievements are not celebrated the way they should be.

Why do you think it's important to celebrate Black History Month?

BHM is a stepping stone to a more equitable world where everyone’s achievements are celebrated regardless of their race. We will hopefully not have the need for BHM in the future.

Who has been your biggest inspiration throughout your career and life?

My mother. She was the definition of resilience in her capacity to hold down three jobs simultaneously whilst raising a family.

Spinach & Agushi Jollof Box

David Kah - Chocofruit

Last but certainly not least, we have Chocofruit. Prepare to be dazzled by their irresistible chocolate-dipped fruit creations. It's like receiving a bouquet of happiness, but instead of flowers, it's chocolate-covered strawberries, bananas, and all sorts of fruity delights. Trust us, one bite and you'll be floating on cloud nine!

David Kah of Chocofruit

Tell us a bit about yourself and your business

My Name is David Kah I own and run Chocofruit. I established the business in 2017. I have always worked in retail at sales - area manager level and always had a passion for selling, service and creating an unparalleled customer experience. At Chocofruit we sell one of London’s favourite desserts - fresh fruit covered in luxury Belgian chocolate and moreish toppings. Chocofruit was established in 2017 on Brick Lane East London. Since then we have steadily grown and now have units on the Southbank and in Selfridges on Oxford street as well as having an event side to our business.

This year's theme is 'Celebrating our sisters'. What does this mean to you?

Celebrating our sisters means to me, celebrating females from all backgrounds and their efforts, skills and talents in business.

Who has been your biggest inspiration throughout your career and life?

I have taken inspiration over career from many people and experiences. From family members to many entrepreneurs such as Sam Walton of Walmart fame to traders in local shops and markets. I really enjoy self education and have always read books on personal development, which I feel I have learned a great deal.

Chocofruit chocolate-covered bananas

This Black History Month, let's show our support for these incredible black-owned vendors. By enjoying their scrumptious offerings, we celebrate the diversity that makes our taste buds tingle and our hearts sing. Let's use this opportunity to not only appreciate the delicious food, but also the stories, traditions, and resilience that these vendors bring to the table.

So grab your colleagues, place an order, and let the celebration begin. Feedr's black-owned vendor partners are waiting to amaze you with their culinary prowess. Together, let's recognise the contributions of black individuals in shaping our society, and let the flavours of diversity fill our hearts and plates.

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