Thanksgiving is just an amazing holiday and definitely a favorite here at Ladybrille. How do Africans in the USA spend their thanksgiving? What kinds of African flavoring and meals do they bring to the dinner table? We asked twenty-seven  year old Orighoye Dore, aka OY, who is the founder of Nylah’s Catering servicing DC/Maryland and Virginia.
Beyond running Nylah’s Catering service and lending her hand to charitable causes such as Link a Child, OY is enrolled in the Culinary Management degree program at the Art Institutes in Washington DC. OY gave us her take on thanksgiving and she spills more about herself and passion for food to Ladybrille’s Moji Akinyemi.Enjoy and to our USA readers, have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
LADYBRILLE.com: What drives you?
OY:My strong passion for good food; and as long I have my Pepsi soda, I am good to go and well motivated to cook all kinds of dishes round the clock.
LADYBRILLE.com: What does Thanksgiving mean to you?
OY:It means being thankful for everything and most especially for people that surround you with positive re-enforcement, making sure that they are always there to pick you up when you are falling. It means being thankful for family and life and for talents that reach immeasurable heights.
LADYBRILLE.com: Tell us your African Inspired Thanksgiving. How do you do your Turkey?OY:Thanksgiving at my place is always a binge fest! This year we are having two roasted ducks with a blood orange sauce, a roasted chicken, green beans slow cooked with smoked turkey in a tomato sauce, scalloped potatoes, of course jollof rice [per popular demand], sesame shrimp, pan seared tilapia and fried plantains. My turkey is always roasted after being seasoned for days and a spicy pan dripped gravy to go with it [I always have two options for my guests who don’t like spice]. I always like to incorporate both my heritage. So my side dishes are always Nigerian: Jollof rice or fried rice or American which would be duchess potatoes or orzo tossed with fresh seasonal vegetables.
LADYBRILLE.com: [laughs] What mouth watering appetizers are you having for thanksgiving?
OY: This year my family and I have decided to go simple on the dessert due to the amount of food that will be on the table. We are making a simple orange bread pudding served warm with whipped cream.
LADYBRILLE.com: What other dishes would you typically have on the table that a typical American family would not?
OY: As an Itsekiri girl, incorporating the typical breakfast which is Epuru [Pepper soup with assorted meat], yam, plantains, starch and palm oil is always customary [typical American families would not have these on their thanksgiving dinner tables]. Talk about food coma!
LADYBRILLE.com: How would you describe your personality?
OY: Friendly, outgoing, social and I believe in giving for a good cause.
LADYBRILLE.com: Where and how did it all start?
OY: I signed an eight year contract with the US Air Force and was stationed in Wyoming for about three years. With a limited to almost non-existent social life in Wyoming, I became drawn to television and especially to ‘The Food Network.’ During my off days, I would watch ‘The Food Network’ learning new dishes and techniques in preparing them. During my down time, I would practice all that I had absorbed from the [shows] and even add my own twist to it where needed. I would also periodically invite friends over for dinner.
After my friends visited for dinner, tons of compliments poured in on how much they enjoyed my food and they would advice I should make a business out of it. I continued with hosting mini-house parties to cooking for my family’s holiday parties to preparing prepackaged meals for friends and colleagues, to even grilling my neighbors steak for a holiday party. With all the overwhelmingly positive feedback and support from friends and family, I gained more than enough confidence and decided it was time to take my cooking skills up a notch and to the next level. In a nutshell, that is where it all started and how I founded Nylah’s Catering.
LADYBRILLE.com: What type of food/dishes do you cook?
OY: Authentic Fusion, African and Contemporary Cuisine… I believe in blending heritage with different cuisines which is another reason I decided to enroll in culinary school to broaden my horizon and learn the new ways to incorporate the different kinds of herbs and spices in my dishes.
LADYBRILLE.com: What type of catering services do you provide?
OY: Event planning covering weddings were I handle the catering as well as the staff for the day; and preferably I like to handle the décor as it helps to create a theme for the menu of the day. I also cater to other various events ranging from intimate dinner for two to weddings to reunions and everything in between.
LADYBRILLE.com: What was the first event you catered?
OY: The Nigerian Soccer League where I provided pre-packed meals for sale. I have since then catered for the Fourth of July Convention, Nigerian Entertainment Award, Naija Fest, Passport to Africa, Liberian Embassy Convention in Washington DC to name a few.
LADYBRILLE.com: Give us the range of audiences you have catered for?
OY: Anywhere from two to three hundred [2-300].
LADYBRILLE.com: What is next for Nylah‘s Catering?
OY: I plan on opening my restaurant [in Nigeria] next year.