Cooking and entertaining have always been a passion of mine, and how could it not be growing up in a home where dinner parties took the place of camping trips organized by a hostess who was the magna cum laud of her graduating year at Le Cordon Bleu Academy in Paris…..My mother…my inspiration – the Lady Jane Kobani.
Why Paris? That was one of the many places we had the pleasure of living in when my father Ambassador George Kobani (now retired) was a Diplomat representing the Nigerian Government. Hence my international traveling career started at 7 months old.
In Nigeria where I am from, the art of cooking and eating food is a very important and central part of family life. It is considered an abomination to visit a relative or friend and not be well fed before you leave. I still have very fond memories of lovely evenings spent with my family at the dinner table with Mum’s delicacies and Dad’s great conversation, classical music playing in the background.
It is not surprising then that my cooking career started rather young - when I was 4 years old and just barely letting go of Mum’s apron strings. Mum gave me a very pretty set of red pots and pans in which I relentlessly made my own dinners while Mum prepared the actual edible dinner for the rest of the family.
The first time I got anyone to try one of my concoctions, I was 8 years old and had cooked a soup from a Nigeria vegetable known as ‘bitter leaf’ (so called because it is literally really bitter!).
What I did not realize at the time is that the leaves need to be thoroughly washed in order to remove the excessively bitter taste and develop a slight sweetness to it which results in a rather delicious soup.
Now I did not do this and my poor big brother humored me by eating an entire bowl of my soup! I only realized what had happened about 5 year later when I became a very proficient cook, occasionally making the evening meals for my Dad and brothers during the school holidays while my older sisters were away at university.
Passion for Food
Then university and a busy international career came along and took priority over cooking. As such I stopped cooking in my early twenties and only rediscovered this passion when I went to Australia on a work assignment and was inspired by the flavorful and varied ingredients and amazing restaurants in Melbourne.
I even had the opportunity to spend some time at the five star kitchen! A few years ago, I had the opportunity to explore one of my passions – traveling.
I took a year off to travel the world. Inspired by the fabulous food and fresh ingredients, I decided to combine this wonderful adventure with another passion – Food. The result, my book ‘A Culinary Journey Around the World’.
Having lived in 9 countries and visited over 50, I have had the opportunity to try dishes from all over the world. I feature dishes from 20 countries enabling me to merge two of my great passions - food and traveling. Most of my recipes have been inspired by places I have been and are associated with very special memories.
My recipes are a combination of many of my own creations, some of my Mum’s creations and some classic recipes with an added Juliette touch.
My life's work is dedicated to my wonderful, sweet, kind, empathetic little artist, writer, musician, astronaut, superhero, wonder boy. You are pure JOY and you have one of the kindest hearts I have ever known. You are beautiful in every way and I love you more than words could ever describe so I will settle for 'I love you all the way to Mars and back'. If I were to describe you in one word, it would be – SUNSHINE.
I hope I will reach out to career women like myself who love to cook for our loved ones, home makers who are looking for some new and exciting meals to woo their families, the singles who
love to cook but haven’t had a reason to fit cooking into their busy schedules or just anyone who loves to cook and enjoy food as much as I do. Join me for an amazing ‘Culinary Journey Around the World’ exploring healthy, delicious and vibrant dishes from all over the world that will dazzle your taste buds and awaken your senses. I hope you are hungry, pick up your aprons……. ready, steady, take off!