Cooking As An Entrepreneurship Training Technique

As I was making breakfast this morning I stopped to think of what I was doing and how it applied to running businesses and specifically startups. I am not a great cook even though people like my brother-in-law would think otherwise but I try hard and I am the biggest critic of my own cooking.

People cook in different ways; there are those who only know how to fry an egg and make breakfast then nothing else. There are those who can do a bit better than that and then there are the gourmet chefs. There are also those who only know how to eat and complain about food but don’t know how to make anything.

The speed of cooking also differs as well. We have a part-time chef in Togo who takes way too long to come of with food which sometimes is of less quality than what the housekeeper in Ghana produces. He is supposed to be a professional and works in a prestigious restaurant while she was not trained formally. She learned how to cook from her mother. The housekeeper rarely misses and is very creative with her cooking. She always learns a few Nigerian recipes from my mother whenever she comes to visit and she owns it afterwards.

Our chef in Togo is like the MBA graduate who does all the analysis and measurements but does not always have a hit. The housekeeper in Ghana is like the creative entrepreneur who learns from mentors and the environment to produce great results. She also understands her customer’s needs and makes the effort to know the right recipes.

I also feel that our attitude towards cooking as entrepreneurs also determines the type of businesses we will come up with. I have a theory that people who don’t know how to cook at all are not very creative people while for those who know how to, the response to criticism or praise of the cooking determines how well we will manage people or lead them.

The fact that some entrepreneurs subsist on pizza, noodles and “Gala” (a local Nigerian snack) does not mean that they don’t have the skills in them to come up with great meals. They may just be pretending and cooking actaully is what helped them to get where they are now. It is rumoured that Mark Zukerberg kills his own animals himself before he eats them.

Without trying to step on any toes and not trying to be too chauvinistic, my “cooking theory” also confirms that women make great entrepreneurs and managers because they learn well from each other and their mothers. They are also much more creative and share their recipes with each other. Women should be building entrepreneurship ecosystems and not men.

Cooking is both an art and a science and so is entrepreneurship. Some people believe in following the recipes to a “tee” while others just “wing it”. The bottom line with cooking is that timing is the most important factor. You need to know just how long it takes for each stage to happen before the next one does. Cooking and writing code is not the same thing. It is for the same reason that developers are not necessarily the best founders or managers.

Some men use drinking as a way to evaluate people and others use golf but I think I have devised a new selection criteria for our startup accelerator, we will ask the entrepreneurs to try to cook us a meal and then we will decide if they get in or not.

In the meantime here is my new recipe for “Jollof Geek Noodles”:


  • 2 Packets of noodles
  • A can of cooked sausages or some corned beef
  • A medium sized Onion,
  • Some ground pepper
  • A pinch of curry
  • One “Maggi Chicken” stock cube
  • Some margarine.


  1. Cook the noodles in waterseparately for 3 minutes,
  2. Fry the onion, curry, pepper and sausages or corned beef in margarine to make a sauce.
  3. Mix the sauce and noodles and simmer in low heat.
  4. Serve while hot and steaming to your brother-in-law who is also a geek and does not cook.

For those who want to learn the non-geek African recipes, please visit or go to my momma’s page on Facebook:

Photo from: