Maria Bradford started cooking when she was just nine years old. Although she continued to love cooking for friends and family, she’d never actually considered this as a serious career. She says, "When I was growing up in Sierra Leone, the dominant career advice was to become an accountant. Until my early twenties, I even convinced myself that this was the only realistic career path for me. I studied an accounting degree and even gained employment in accounting roles. I was unhappy and unfulfilled working in roles I didn’t enjoy. However, every time I cooked for people they loved it and were very complimentary. For ten years I thought they were just polite."
She remembers that her ‘ah ha moment’ occurred when her cousin asked Maria to cater for her baby shower. "Everyone loved it so much that I decided to follow my instinct and go for it by turning my passion into a business."
From this point onwards, Maria had found her calling: bringing delicious West African dishes to a broader audience. Now she regularly hold dinner parties, corporate events and weddings in Sierra Leone, Liberia, and the UK; and she's a regular fixture at farmers' markets and food festivals within Kent with her growing product line of drinks and chilli sauces.
Maria says, "I love creating new dishes, and I want to be an ambassador for African ingredients and African food, all inspired by my Sierra Leonean heritage. I am a proud African, who is extremely fortunate to be able to promote my culture and heritage through food."