It is true that many Africans associate cooking with women and ascribe the more physical duties to men. But that long-held belief no longer applies at Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Most restaurants and cafeterias are peopled by male chefs.
More so, hundreds of male mobile restaurant operators have flooded Abuja as the city boasts of high net-worth individuals who are willing to pay for virtually all services.
Daniel Akwarandu, who sells cork cake and pepper soup at an automobile workshop in Gudu said: “We men are taking over the restaurant business. In the western world, it is not a surprise to find a large proportion of men in the society who take the responsibility of cooking in the home or even take it as their job. In Africa however, because of our cultural beliefs and practices, it becomes news to find lots of men who are cooks. But we are also changing that narrative.”
A young lady, Rukevwe Amrasa, spoke about how Nigerian men are becoming “millennial” in their thinking. She said her father takes responsibility for cooking at times in the home but her mother always prefers to do the cooking herself. She said that though her father works and provides for the home, he still takes up the responsibility of cooking in the home. She finds it “cute” when men do that because her father has exemplified that.”
Another lady, Miss Juliana Abu, said many men she knows are good cooks because they don’t have girlfriends to cook for them: “One of my friends learned how to cook when we were in the university simply because he did not have any girlfriend to cook for him like other guys. Now he is a very good cook.”
She added that: “It is not like men really like to cook. It is just because of the situation some of them have found themselves.”
A male cook from Nkataa Bukka, Mr John Angwu, x-rayed the life of a male cook. He said becoming a cook was something he pursued for professional purpose. He said he does not really like to cook at home and he lets his family do the cooking.
This is his reason: “I was working somewhere else as a dishwasher but I slowly learned to cook professionally. Overtime I realised I was exceptional and I got this job here at Nkataa.
“I like the job, I don’t hate cooking but it is not as if I love cooking so much. I do not cook at home, I let my family do the cooking.”
A female hair stylist, Freda Osunde, said: “I know male hair stylists who are not so good at the craft yet they get more patronised than some female hair stylists. In the same way, the average male cook is more patronized than the average female cook. It is just a reality of life.”
It was also discovered a surge in the number of men attending catering schools to become professional chefs.