We had the good fortune of connecting with Akua Atakora and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Akua, how has your background shaped the person you are today?
Growing up, I always enjoyed cooking, reading, and writing! I grew up in Toronto, Canada primarily with my mom, older brother Kofi, and older sister Ophelia. I was extremely shy as a kid, but as I got older my confidence began to grow. Throughout elementary and high school, I was always a kinesthetic/hands-on learner. I could retain information better when I was physically completing tasks. When my mom would cook, I would always ask to help. Even if she needed me to peel ginger or grate nutmeg, I didn’t mind. Getting that hands-on experience made me extremely happy. I remember when I would rush home just so I could make a grilled cheese sandwich or hashbrowns. I loved the experience of cooking on my own.
My mom deeply enforced the Ghanaian culture and tradition in our household throughout my childhood. Sometimes she would only speak the Ghanaian language to us, so we could understand it more. By the age 2, I was fluently speaking the Ghanaian language (twi) and mainly eating Ghanaian food at home. My mom grew up in Ghana, where she learned to cook from her mother. She would help my grandma make African pastries and sell them at the market.
As time went by, my mom began to teach me more advanced dishes. The first official meal I learned to make was my homemade spaghetti stew. That is why my spaghetti plate is now considered my signature dish!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Hello everyone! My name is Akua Atakora and I am the owner of ChefKu Kuisines. I’m a Private Chef/Private Caterer based in Atlanta GA that specializes in West African food, Seafood, and American Cuisines! Shortly after graduation in 2020, I decided to begin a food business because of my passion for cooking. I would always watch my Mom in the kitchen as a child, As I got older I began to adapt some of the same culinary skills she would use while in the kitchen. In June 2020, I decided to start selling plates, where I would post weekly menu’s and my customers would pick up from my location. In September 2020 I decided to begin a transition. I realized that making plates weekly became difficult with my busy schedule. As a result, I decided that I wanted to cater full-time instead of selling weekly plates. I began to cater a few events including birthday parties, proposals and game nights. I fully completed my transition to catering in March 2021, and I am truly grateful at how much business I have received since then. I have catered for various events including graduations, weddings, brunches, surprise parties, picnics, private dinners, valentines day events and so much more.
The biggest thing that sets me apart from others is the diverse food options that I offer. Since I grew up in a Ghanaian household, I learned to cook African food at an early age and as I got older, I began to study and learn more diverse recipes. People can chose from things like Jollof rice, lamb chops or a seafood boil in the same order. My customers always tell me how they love the diversity in foods that I cook! The second thing that sets me apart from others is my flexibility and customer service. I quickly adapt when new situations arise and I have the ability to rectify almost any situation.
Truthfully, as any other business owner, this journey has had its ups and downs! I have learned so much and experienced so many different situations that have truly molded me into the person I am today. Although I have faced so many challenges, I am extremly grateful for them. Each time I have faced a challenge, It became a learning moment. It helped me understand that things may not always go a certain way, but as long as you do your absolute best and learned then nothing else matters! Its easy to sometimes feel defeated while running a business, but staying motivated even on bad days is extremely important. I constantly pray and pray when things are going well and when things aren’t. God constantly shows me that as long as you trust in him, in due time everything will fall in place.
I want the world to know that regardless of any setbacks, you should go after your dreams no matter what! There are people who don’t want to see you win, but there are others who won’t stop supporting and promoting your brand. Focus on the people who are genuinely there for you and do not let ANYONE talk you out of chasing your dreams. Stay persistent about your business, don’t take anything personal and work hard EACH and EVERY DAY! You will soon see the fruits of your labor begin to blossom.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
If my friend was visiting Atlanta, we would first go to brunch at Milk and Honey. I would then take them to a paint and sip session with Painting with a Twist. We would head downtown to Centennial park and enjoy a ride on the Skyview Atlanta.
We would also visit some local black owned businesses to show our support. I would finish the night of course by making a delicious dinner for me and my friend!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
This journey hasn’t been easy, but I am EXTREMELY grateful for all of the love and support that I constantly receive from family, friends and customers!! I am also blessed to have met some amazing Chef sisters and brothers, who constantly encourage me to keep working hard! I can’t express my appreciation enough for you all.
I want to start off by dedicating this shout out to GOD! Without God, none of this would have been possible. I constantly pray over my business, and I’m extremely grateful for all God has done for me and my business.
I also want to dedicate this shout out to my partner Ben Asante. Thank you for always motivating me, being a listening ear, giving me advice and for always being supportive about my dreams, aspirations, and goals in life.
Finally, I want to dedicate this shout out to my brother Kofi! Thank you, Kofi, for always being there. Thank you for always being so GENUINE and transparent with me! Thank you for constantly supporting me, and always encouraging me to keep chasing after my dreams regardless of the obstacles I may face.
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Alexis Reeves Photography