Sifo the Cooking Husband on his new cookbook – and pro tips for getting your family more involved in the kitchen
“Sinoyolo Sifo is a husband that cooks,” Penguin begins their foreward with the release of the foodie’s new cookbook.
That’s right, the social media influencer has rounded up some of his best recipes to create an accessible guide – for men especially, he says – to share in what he calls “the universal language of food”. We chat to him about what this means, his new cookbook and how you can inspire your family to join you in the kitchen.
What do you mean by “the universal language of food?”
For me, I think food connects people in different ways. I think it connects us, so we can sit, maybe have a dish, a favourite dish, and then have this clicking point where we share our memories. You can reach anyone with food. Doesn’t matter which corner you come from. We always have something in common. It binds us.
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What or who inspired your food journey?
When I was little, my father owned butcheries and farms, so I was always surrounded by food. But in terms of igniting that passion, I would say my wife pushed me. In varsity, I prepared dishes, like as a surprise, trying to charm her and win her over. And she would be impressed and then give me feedback.
In terms of being an influencer, I think just before lockdown started, I was just sitting there, and I like taking pictures of my food. I would take a picture and then I wanted to post it on my main page. Then my wife was like: “No, you must stop this thing, providing us with food pictures on your main Instagram page. Open a page for food.” And a man must listen!
Can you tell me a little about your new cookbook and what inspired it?
I would like to call it a very different cookbook from what we’ve been exposed to. It’s me, telling a story of how I grew up, and the food that I actually grew up eating, and taking those dishes that I love and putting my spin on it. So if we have ordinary pap, then I’d say: “What would make this pap extraordinary?” Like maybe cheese or cream, developing things like your cheesy pap.
This book is something to equip people, but also to encourage people to be creative in the kitchen. And its dishes that are very simple, delicious and easy to make, because the main target for the book is guys. I’m trying to break the stereotype around male figures in the kitchen, and trying to invite more guys to cook.
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Do you have any tips for parents on getting the kids more involved in the kitchen?
I have my nieces that I usually cook with and I can see how they enjoy the kitchen. I think, for me, introduce it when they are still young. I think getting them involved at a young age creates that passion and love for cooking.
With the narrative I’m trying to push, I’m trying to educate parents too to say the kitchen is not only a place for girls. The boys must also join you in the kitchen. I believe in sharing the space. We need to break the stereotype.
The message is simple and straightforward: it’s people getting in the kitchen, sharing the kitchen with your loved ones, helping out. It actually brings so much love. It helps you connect.