After an explosive eight episodes, Ghana’s Joseph Odoom took home the title of top chef on HONEY TV’s hit show, House of Chefs. Odoom was a fan favourite from the beginning, garnering cross-continental support for his culinary skills, headstrong personality, and his authenticity. The young chef caught the attention of the show’s judge, Siba Mtongana, with his tenacity and attention to detail. Odoom wins a $5,000 cash prize along with a coveted internship at Siba Mtongana’s Cape Town-based restaurant. Odoom specializes in Afro-fusion cuisine with a focus on Ghanaian-inspired dishes. We caught up with him after his win.
1. What does being the first-ever winner of House of Chefs mean to you?
Winning the first-ever House of Chefs is totally a big deal. I must say I’m really proud of myself and my journey thus far. It makes me really appreciate the term “growth”. I knew I was good, but didn’t I know I was that good because for some time I had not really owned my talent. Getting into the competition taught me that I’m equally as good as other young chefs on the continent. With a pastry background I was able to go head-to-head with these incredibly talented chefs, beating them and making it to the top. Now, that’s a big deal and not only being a winner but a first-ever winner! It tells me that there’s no limit to how far I can go, that one should only stay true to yourself, and that there is so much beauty in African flavours and a need to champion it.
2. What was the hardest part of the season that viewers might not have seen?
The hardest part of the season was the times where we had to shoot late into the next morning, sleep, and then be up by 7am to start filming again. I was also never voted out and was cooking throughout the entire season. It was draining because I realised during one of the challenges that my brain just wouldn’t cooperate with me, lol.
3. How have your loved ones reacted to the win?
They are very proud of me and of how far I’ve come in terms of my tenacity. Especially my mum, sister, godmother Irene and my cousin Daniel. I’m stubborn when it comes to things I love, I go all in and all out for it. My mentor, Chef Binta, who taught me to own and embrace my talent, has been extremely proud of me and my growth, she always says.
4. Plans for the prize money?
I love a test kitchen because that’s how I get to experiment and create all my wonderful Afro-fusion inspired recipes and dishes. I’ll invest in my craft by getting equipment that I need for the test kitchen and delve into fine-dining Afro-fusion pop-ups and dinners. Of course, I’m also planning to save some and build on it for when I have to study any upgrade courses in regard to my craft.
5. What are you looking forward to most in terms of the internship?
I’m really excited about the internship because it’s a whole new city and the most prominent spot in Cape Town, Table Bay. That’s a whole new experience. Working under Chef Siba’s guidance will enable me to learn new recipes, techniques and flavours, and work with an entirely new team. Super-duper excited!
6. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
I see myself having made a great impact in the global culinary industry by introducing the rest of the world to the amazing and unique flavours of Ghana and Africa and putting them high on a pedestal. I’ll also be owning a fine-dining Afro-fusion restaurant that offers a unique dining experience. Have me a small cosy cafe, maybe be on TV, and also receiving honorary awards in the culinary arts and probably seeing myself slapped across magazines.
Follow Joseph Odoom on Instagram. Catch the full season of House of Chefs in the DStv App.