‘I make cakes so beautiful that you won’t want to cut’

For Mr Terry Adido, his kitchen is a haven. A trained lawyer with a fiery passion for cooking tasty foods, the finalist in the third season of MasterChef Canada and food blogger takes BLESSING GBARADA through his culinary journey and tells why nutmeg is his number one ingredient.

 

You are a lawyer-turned-baker, did you undergo any formal culinary training?

Yes, I am a lawyer on the verge of obtaining a Ph.D. in Law but I have no formal culinary training. I come from a family of great cooks and bakers. I was a very picky eater as a kid and my mum would allow me to prepare my own meals when I wanted to eat something different from the rest of the family. That was how I started cooking and baking. I baked and frosted my 11th birthday cake.

 

Is there a moment in your life that you can identify as pivotal in your deciding to go into the food business?

In February of 2013, I was in a bakery in Paris eating some of the most amazing pastries I had ever had in my life. Right there, I decided I was going to learn how to make those pastries myself so I could enjoy them at home. The idea also came to me to not only learn how to make them, but also show other people how to do same in a relatable manner. I created my cooking and baking website the next day.

 

You’re one of the top male bakers, what difficulties do men face in the industry?

I would limit my answer to Nigeria. Unlike the rest of the world where the baking and cooking industry is dominated by men, the same has not been the case in Nigeria where men are expected to study fancy degrees and take on “professional” jobs. It is quite challenging for a Nigerian man to tell his parents that he wants to start baking cakes or cooking for a living. Luckily, the tides are shifting. I have come to know a lot of amazing Nigerian male cooks and bakers who studied in some of the best culinary schools in the world and who are fulltime cooks, bakers, head chefs and instructors in baking schools.

 

You were finalist in the third season of MasterChef Canada.What emotions went through you when you were announced? Do you see yourself entering any other food competition?

It was mostly a feeling of responsibility. I knew I was on MasterChef Canada not just for Terry but to represent Nigeria and other Canadian immigrants. I wanted to show them that if I could do it, they can too. I look forward to being part of a Nigerian food/baking competition in a mentor or judge capacity. It will be a dream come true.

 

How do you stay creative, day after day?

I see beauty in my everyday life and I am inspired by everything around me. I see a beautiful flower in Spring or a dirty dusty road in harmattan and ideas for cakes flood my mind. I am more of an artist than a baker. My cakes are my creative outlets.

 

Do you feel a pressure to innovate?

Yes I do. A lot of Nigerian bakers look up to me for direction and I try to respect this responsibility by constantly showing them how to execute new cake designs, some of which I develop myself. In Law, we say you cannot give what you don’t have. In order to give knowledge, I must myself be knowledgeable.

 

If you’ve had a really bad day, what negative traits are you likely to exhibit in the kitchen?

Cooking and baking is where I find solace. Thus, if I’m having a really bad day, I feel great as soon as I start baking something. There are no negatives in my kitchen.

 

Do you use technology in your desserts?

I am one of the few chefs who tend to shy away from technology. I feel food is personal and in order to truly appreciate food, you must become one with it. Technology tends to rob us of this. You will thus find me whipping cream in a copper bowl with a large whisk as opposed to using a stand mixer or kneading brioche dough by hand instead of using a bread machine.

 

What do you like most about what you do?

There are a lot of positives with what I do. I love making people happy. I love it when I make a cake for someone and it’s so beautiful that they do not want to cut it. I love receiving feedbacks and pictures of cakes from my fans which they have made following my online tutorials. I love eating great meals in my own kitchen.

 

You are a lawyer-turned-baker, did you undergo any formal culinary training?

Yes, I am a lawyer on the verge of obtaining a Ph.D. in Law but I have no formal culinary training. I come from a family of great cooks and bakers. I was a very picky eater as a kid and my mum would allow me to prepare my own meals when I wanted to eat something different from the rest of the family. That was how I started cooking and baking. I baked and frosted my 11th birthday cake.

 

Is there a moment in your life that you can identify as pivotal in your deciding to go into the food business?

In February of 2013, I was in a bakery in Paris eating some of the most amazing pastries I had ever had in my life. Right there, I decided I was going to learn how to make those pastries myself so I could enjoy them at home. The idea also came to me to not only learn how to make them, but also show other people how to do same in a relatable manner. I created my cooking and baking website the next day.

 

You’re one of the top male bakers, what difficulties do men face in the industry?

I would limit my answer to Nigeria. Unlike the rest of the world where the baking and cooking industry is dominated by men, the same has not been the case in Nigeria where men are expected to study fancy degrees and take on “professional” jobs. It is quite challenging for a Nigerian man to tell his parents that he wants to start baking cakes or cooking for a living. Luckily, the tides are shifting. I have come to know a lot of amazing Nigerian male cooks and bakers who studied in some of the best culinary schools in the world and who are fulltime cooks, bakers, head chefs and instructors in baking schools.

 

You were finalist in the third season of MasterChef Canada.What emotions went through you when you were announced? Do you see yourself entering any other food competition?

It was mostly a feeling of responsibility. I knew I was on MasterChef Canada not just for Terry but to represent Nigeria and other Canadian immigrants. I wanted to show them that if I could do it, they can too. I look forward to being part of a Nigerian food/baking competition in a mentor or judge capacity. It will be a dream come true.

 

How do you stay creative, day after day?

I see beauty in my everyday life and I am inspired by everything around me. I see a beautiful flower in Spring or a dirty dusty road in harmattan and ideas for cakes flood my mind. I am more of an artist than a baker. My cakes are my creative outlets.

 

Do you feel a pressure to innovate?

Yes I do. A lot of Nigerian bakers look up to me for direction and I try to respect this responsibility by constantly showing them how to execute new cake designs, some of which I develop myself. In Law, we say you cannot give what you don’t have. In order to give knowledge, I must myself be knowledgeable.

 

If you’ve had a really bad day, what negative traits are you likely to exhibit in the kitchen?

Cooking and baking is where I find solace. Thus, if I’m having a really bad day, I feel great as soon as I start baking something. There are no negatives in my kitchen.

 

Do you use technology in your desserts?

I am one of the few chefs who tend to shy away from technology. I feel food is personal and in order to truly appreciate food, you must become one with it. Technology tends to rob us of this. You will thus find me whipping cream in a copper bowl with a large whisk as opposed to using a stand mixer or kneading brioche dough by hand instead of using a bread machine.

 

What do you like most about what you do?

There are a lot of positives with what I do. I love making people happy. I love it when I make a cake for someone and it’s so beautiful that they do not want to cut it. I love receiving feedbacks and pictures of cakes from my fans which they have made following my online tutorials. I love eating great meals in my own kitchen.

 

How about what you like least?

When people try to take advantage of my benevolence or goodwill. Of late, I have had to contend with people taking my free online tutorials and charging bakers for them in various social media. This takes the fun out of what I do.

 

What are some of your favourite ingredients to use?

Nothing fancy for sure. Nutmeg has to be number one. Its nutty and slightly earthy flavour has mesmerised and inspired me since I was a kid. This is where I got the name of my website from. Aside nutmeg, I love working with dehydrated fruits, game birds, fresh herbs, cheese and liqueurs.

 

What’s your number one priority in the kitchen?

To create good food. I love to see the spark in the eyes of others when they taste my dishes or cakes. After all said and done, taste is king and must not be compromised with fancy plating and other distracting factors.

 

What is your favorite/signature dish? What makes it special?

Boeuf Bourguignon with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Boeuf bourguignon is a French-style beef stew cooked slowly in broth and red wine and garnished with bacon, pearl onions and mushrooms. What makes it special are the layers and depth of flavours. It is best the day after it is made when all the flavours have had time to become acquainted with each other.

When people try to take advantage of my benevolence or goodwill. Of late, I have had to contend with people taking my free online tutorials and charging bakers for them in various social media. This takes the fun out of what I do.

 

What are some of your favourite ingredients to use?

Nothing fancy for sure. Nutmeg has to be number one. Its nutty and slightly earthy flavour has mesmerised and inspired me since I was a kid. This is where I got the name of my website from. Aside nutmeg, I love working with dehydrated fruits, game birds, fresh herbs, cheese and liqueurs.

 

What’s your number one priority in the kitchen?

To create good food. I love to see the spark in the eyes of others when they taste my dishes or cakes. After all said and done, taste is king and must not be compromised with fancy plating and other distracting factors.

 

What is your favorite/signature dish? What makes it special?

Boeuf Bourguignon with Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Boeuf bourguignon is a French-style beef stew cooked slowly in broth and red wine and garnished with bacon, pearl onions and mushrooms. What makes it special are the layers and depth of flavours. It is best the day after it is made when all the flavours have had time to become acquainted with each other.