IWD: CAPA Nigeria fetes women to brunch, mental wellness therapy
To commemorate the 2023 International Women’s Day (IWD), the Culinary Arts Practitioners Association of Nigeria (CAPA), hosted seven selected women to a generous brunch, as well as group mental wellness therapy at a private residence in Lagos.
Asides the buffet of savoury dishes and drinks present, the ‘safe space’, which the event – still in its maiden edition – provided, was essentially the cherry on top of the cake for the day, the beneficiaries said.
“We got to open up on our deepest burdens and we were able to share some of the issues we are going through. It felt relaxing. Being among chefs most of the time is a kitchen affair; but being in a different environment felt really good. For me, I learned to accommodate more positive thinking patterns. If your mental state is not in the right place, things could go wrong, especially while you are cooking,” one of the beneficiaries, Daphne Omonemu, who is the Founder of Taeyez Kitchen remarked.
Another beneficiary, Yejide Uthman-Monu, professionally known as Chef Cuddles, corroborated that the experience helped her to unburden a lot of issues affecting her personal life and work.
She said: “I had a really amazing time. For the past couple of months, I have been dealing with a lot of stress and personal issues. When this brunch came up, it was really an opportunity for me to go out and meet with others.
I really did not believe in therapy, but today the therapists helped me understand things I didn’t even have to speak about. I was in a really safe space. Mental wellness is something I am trying to discover, especially finding a balance between family and career. In this chef’s work, you have a lot on your plate; you have customers, staff, recipes and all to deal with. It’s really all about balance.”
Raising awareness on the need for more chefs in the culinary industry to prioritise their mental wellness, alongside their general well-being, the CAPA Nigeria President, Ruqayat Momoh, professionally known as Chef Giggles, noted that group therapies and similar social functions were vital for the development of chefs and the growth of the ecosystem.
“There is the fact that the culinary industry doesn’t allow for women to practically breathe. So CAPA Nigeria decided to do something for women in the industry where they can relax and open up to other women in their circle. It is really hard for us women to be in the same circle in any other capacity other than work. So this was to help them relax, network and unburden.”
“A lot of women in the industry are going through mental issues, but it is a conversation we are not ready to have. We don’t really think of going to seek therapy. However, today, they were super happy to hear solutions to problems they never really spoke about. This is a huge solution because these women are happy to finally speak up,” she said.
As women continue to navigate solutions to eliminating gender disparity across the corporate and public sectors, and in society, generally, CAPA Nigeria is putting its foot forward, to help Nigerian chefs discover recipes for mental well-being and all-round development.
Founded in 2015 by Chef Tiyan Alile, CAPA Nigeria is home to all Nigerian chefs and culinary practitioners. It exists to strengthen and promote association among players in the culinary and hospitality scene, and it is committed to raising standards and awareness of the culinary arts in tandem with global best practices.