The History of Maggie's African Twist
From my youth, I knew that food and cooking would be part of my destiny.
My mother and my grandmother were my first teachers and they taught me how to cook. My mother had a career in catering, so cooking and experimenting with different foods was a big part of how I grew up. It has always been part of what I do.
Sometime in the 1980s, I remember watching the movie "Baby Boom" with Diane Keaton. It was about a lady who... anyway, I won't spoil the movie for you - you can probably find it on Netflix…
Somehow, that movie sparked my imagination and I dreamed of one day starting a manufacturing business based around my passion for food.
Fast forward to when I moved to the UK
Even though I had the natural talent and passion, I was also fortunate to study at Birmingham College of Food, Tourism and Creative Studies under the experienced guidance of its excellent chefs.
I started by catering (cooking) for events such as weddings and parties.
Later, I began hosting pop-up restaurants where I would cook African dishes or create meals with a twist of African flavors. I would gather people for an evening of tasting, eating and socializing and that was where I started getting great feedback on my dishes.
Over the years, my cooking has been influenced by the cuisine from Cameroun, Nigeria and many other African countries. In addition I have delved deep into learning about and experimenting with Latino, West Indian and Italian cuisine.
When I hosted pop-up restaurants and sold at market stalls, I would experiment with creating sauces with influences from different parts of Africa and the carribean. For instance, I discovered that West African spices tend to be hot, while North African spices tend to be fruity...? As I would try out these different combinations and flavors in my experiments, people started saying over and over again, "You really should put this in a bottle and sell it. You really should bottle this and sell it."
That's how Maggie's was born.
We started out as Maggie's Exotic Foods but later changed the name to Maggie's African Twist to better reflect what we do and who we are.
Maggie’s isn't so much about exotic foods, as it is about adding an African twist to your everyday dishes.
By calling ourselves Maggie’s African Twist, we became clearer about what we stand for and people would no longer hear our name and come expecting to eat snake's head or elephant ears, but rather they knew that they could experience an African twist in their everyday meals...
but I have gotten ahead of myself...
It was barely three weeks after we moved to Wales, that I began to sell food at farmers markets and similar events. I started with Akara and Puff-Puff and later on, my sauce business started in earnest - this was where I found my first customers.
When I started, I was fortunate to work with Taygo Bren, a very talented brand strategist and graphic designer. She took on my brand, creating excellent labels, website assets, and packaging for us. That really lifted the Maggie’s brand. I continued selling in food markets, pop-up shops, and eventually I launched my own website.
Maggie's, the food business, has come a long way from pop-up restaurants and dreaming while watching the baby boom movie. But we still have a long way to go.
We are still growing our audience and expanding our reach, constantly seeking more ways to connect with our community, to help people enjoy the benefits of food and everything it brings - making life better, healthier, strengthening relationships, making homes more comfortable, and bringing communities together.
We see food as our own unique way to make a difference in the world.
In everything I do, I want to show that cooking is not a mystery. I wanted to introduce people to the rhythm of what it is to cook, eat, and enjoy food among friends and family.
Here at Maggie's African Twist, we are proud to have received a number of awards, both for our sauces, for our founder and the business as a whole
Maggie Ogunbanwo, founder of Maggies African Twist is the Author of Two Recipe books and an inspirational book.
- A collaboration (get details from books)
- "African Twist - Vegan/Plant based recipes
And the inspirational book: 100 Things I wish my mother had told me.
Maggie Ogunbanwo, the founder of Maggie's African Twist is very active in the Welsh community. She connects with, collaborates and contributes to various social projects organised by reputable organisations.
- Working in and with schools (Junior and Secondary)
- Working in communities to help them integrate around food.
Untying Womens’ Hands
Maggie is a mentor to many women - women who have their own dreams and projects they are working on. She works closely with each one; providing them with encouragement to keep going and helping them overcome obstacles and see the possibilities that lie ahead.
On a personal note, Maggie is happily married with two grown-up children. She lives in Wales.
Welcome to Maggies African Twist
It is our pleasure to welcome you to Maggie's African Twist, where we bring an African twist to everyday dishes.
Maggie's African Twist is committed to the quality of the products we provide. Our ingredients are sourced from local providers whenever possible.
We also occasionally have unusual gifts in the shop that you can buy for the Foodie in your life (even if that's you!).
The best way to stay in touch is to sign up for our email newsletter for deals, discounts and the stories we love to share - all designed to brighten your day.
We hope you will join our community, find your favourite spices and sauces in our shop and try some of the recipes from our recipe books.