‘I love to see people enjoy my culinary creations’ – founder, Zeelicious Foods
Founder and Creative Director, Zeelicious Foods, Winifred Emmanuel Nwania has said that her love for cooking is a passion that has grown into a thriving culinary venture.
While very few people have the tenacity and diligence to go after their dreams, and make it a thriving career, the Anambra born is among the gutsy few living out their dreams, against all odds.
Nwania grew up in the vibrant city of Lagos, with her mom and six siblings. She enjoyed a loving relationship with her dad, who passed on when she was only 12 years of age.
Losing him ignited an intense desire to succeed within her. She decided making a success of her life will be the most ideal way to honour her absent father and make her dogged mother proud of the woman she raised.
A decade later, that little girl who was in grief after losing her dad is now 22. She grew up deprived of most of the comforts her father provided for the family. But, she didn’t let this bother her, Instead she learned to turn all the sour lemons life threw at her into sweet lemonade.
She dreamed up lofty dreams of one day running her own global enterprise, talking in boardrooms to executives and business partners. She had no business experience, and didn’t know how any of her dreams will come to pass. She just believed it will.
After graduating from the University of Lagos, with a degree in Economics, she landed a high-paying job with an oil and gas firm in Lagos. Her career seemed to have taken off to a flying start.
Her pay package was great, and her new lifestyle was exquisite. But her heart was pulling her in a different direction.
While at work, she always dreamed up new recipes and recreated them when she’s home. It became a side hobby, she blogged about them to a tiny audience she had garnered online.
With zero business connections, and little to no savings, she quit her job. And the Zeelicious Foods brand was born.
“Frankly, I didn’t know much about business. I just knew I love to cook and I love to see people enjoy my culinary creations. I also loved helping the people who contacted me asking for recipes and cooking tips.
“I knew if I did this for the rest of my life I will be one of the happiest women in the world”, Nwania said.
And now, she doesn’t just create recipes. She showcases Nigerian and African-inspired foods to the world with style and elegance. She also teaches home cooks (across the world) how to expand their repertoire of recipes and enjoy cooking with her fun, simple and fast cooking tutorials.
Starting her cooking show on YouTube was the first step in making her renewed vision a reality. By December 2018, less than six months after Zeelicious Foods launched on YouTube, Nwania had garnered over 50,000 subscribers.
One year later, her YouTube channel had grown to over 100,000 subscribers. And YouTube awarded her their coveted Silver Play Button Award for this milestone.
Now in 2020, the Zeelicious foods company is no longer just a YouTube cooking show. It’s become a fast-growing culinary brand, with an audience cutting across three continents.
Zeelicious Foods is now making inroads onto the big screen. The cooking show airs on free TV channels in Nigeria and Ghana. And talks are ongoing for it to get picked up by seven other TV stations across Africa.
But, this young lady isn’t done yet. Nwaneri is working on two cookbooks for healthy eaters. Her own brand of healthy food products, and some nifty kitchenware.
She’s also working on completing the new Zeelicious website, which she’s so excited about. She believes her audience would love it, and many have been on her case about it for months.
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