Madeline is originally from Ivory Coast. Arriving in 2016 in Canada to study, she quickly realized that she wanted to teach the local communities about African cuisine. While attending school in Restigouche, she started Afrifood. Her goal was to create a culinary experience that would give people a chance to taste and learn about African cuisine. She knew that the best way to do
that was by catering rather than opening a restaurant, giving people the opportunity to ask her question while she cooks the meal.
She slowly started to gain attention and doing different events. She catered weddings, anniversaries, multicultural events and many activities during the black history month. She later moved
to Bathurst and started working with the Bathurst Chamber of Commerce and received her certifications for Afrifood. In 2018 she decided to move to Moncton and continue her project in a
bigger rural area. We sat down with her to discuss her journey and the different obstacles she had to overcome. Here is our conversation.
How do you promote your business?
I wasn’t on any social media when I started. I didn’t really know
how it worked so I didn’t create anything on any platform for the first year. I had business cards that I would give out at networking events with the chamber of commerce. Now I’m on all social
media platforms. It’s much easier for marketing and to reach many
people at once.
What would you say is unique about your company?
I adapt to my clients. I have a very versatile menu that allows me
to create an experience that’s true to my client. I don’t limit myself to only African foods. I also do European cuisine, Canadian cuisine, Caribbean cuisine and many more. I offer mixed buffet where you can have a French entree, an African meal and finish with a Canadian dessert.
What were things you struggle/ struggled with?
Sometimes I have to cook for a large number of people alone and that can be quite difficult. Because I’m still in my early days, I can’t always afford to hire people to help me. It’s also hard to find financial support for businesses like mine. But I noticed that in 2020 there was a change in the support system for
Moncton is growing and people here are more open to people that look like me. Obviously starting a business like afrifood here is smarter because of the number of potential clients but there’s an openness here that you can’t really find in other cities in New Brunswick. And also I really love the Acadians. I want
to learn more about their culture and cuisine so that I can add it to my menu.
What are your goals in the next 5 years?
I’d like to be a one stop shop for multicultural events. I want people to hire me for an entire experience.
From the decorations all the way to the food.
What we had
We had the chance to cater her
service and have a full meal.
Here’s what we had.
- Chicken Puff Pie and
- Afrifood curry rice with sauté
- Cheesecake Soufflé
- Bissap Juice
The entire evening was phenomenal. Our guests were able to ask her questions about the different foods we were eating and really understand what African cuisine is all about. The cheesecake was absolutely delightful and the Bissap juice was out of this world.