MamaShee: The African-Irish food everyone needs to try

Kilishi and Suya are the kind of snacks that get you hooked…

I randomly picked up a few packets of MamaShee’s Kilishi and Suya at Supervalu Deansgrange one day when the lot of us needed car snacks after doing the big shop. As a family who adores flavoursome foods, the tummy-rubbing was unanimous. The almost-silent car indicated that these snacks would soon become staples in our household.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mamashee (@mamashee) on

For those unfamiliar, Kilishi (as it is originally known in Northern Nigeria) is a spiced, dried-beef snack (like beef Jerky) infused with traditional flavours. Suya is a similar snack, but oven grilled, giving it that barbecued taste. Suya can be eaten hot or cold and can be added to your rice or salad. Both delicacies are ready to eat from the packet at any time of day – and believe me, they are in my house. After tasting these delicious bites, I was intrigued by the flavours. Like the foodie I am, could not resist researching the creator of our family’s new favourite treat…

Meet Edizemi Onilenla:

Edizemi is the mother, social worker, and artisan food producer responsible for the taste of MamaShee’s products. This inspiring entrepreneur is African Irish, originally from Nigeria and based in Dublin. I was lucky enough to catch Edizemi for a quick chat about her unique experiences and delicious food.

Edizemi has lived in Ireland for over 18 years with her three children, whom she tells me have settled very well into the Irish way of life. In her own words, Edizemi’s journey was challenging but she had a passion and a vision to succeed. As a single mum-of-three, she worked incredibly hard to support her family. She started out as a cleaner, then became a Healthcare Assistant followed by a Relief Worker in different residential areas. In 2010, she upskilled to become a professionally qualified Social Worker.

Fuelled by her passion for food and meeting new people, Edizemi started her food produce company Mansions Foods and created the brand ‘Mamashee’. According to Edizemi, her cuisine is a new addition to the Irish Food Industry. She started her business because she was truly passionate about bringing the tastes and culture of Africa to Ireland. Growing up in the north of the country, Edizemi has the unique ability to blend Nigerian tastes with Irish cooking styles, and this combo is really something when it comes to flavour.

MamaShee is a true family business – and it shows:

As a family-run business, Edizemi’s kids, their friends and family all appear on the company’s social media accounts daily. Her children are all grown up now, supporting her in making MamaShee the success story it is.

If you follow them on Facebook and Instagram, you will see Edizemi’s smiling face and mouth-watering food-pics. She tells me she is currently navigating the world of technology, "I am learning it every day. Twitter is the most difficult for me, I just don’t understand it."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mamashee (@mamashee) on

Taking Irish food markets by storm…

Since launching in April 2019, Edizemi – aka, MamaShee - has traded across different Irish markets bringing the tastes of Africa to Irish food culture. Last year, she attended the Irish Village Market at Spencer Dock every Wednesday for a number of months. She is also known to appear at the Red Stables in Clontarf, St. James Hospital, St. Catherine’s Park and is a regular face at World Food Market Merrion Square on a Thursday (pre-COVID, of course).

Edizemi has brought her incredible tastes to festivals, catered events and even conferences. Her specialities include popular Nigerian rice dish, Jollof Rice. She also makes delicacies like yam porridge and fried dodo (plantain) and classics such as delicately seasoned lamb and chicken in hot sauce.

Front Line Work

During the heat of the pandemic, MamShee and her team did not hesitate to help. Edizemi used the resources available from her shared kitchen, to prepare and deliver delicious meals to the frontline staff of St James’s Hospital and Tymon Nursing home.

Mamshee and her crew faced the challenge head-on with positivity and resourcefulness – two things Edizemi has an abundance of.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mamashee (@mamashee) on

What’s next for MamaShee?

The future is bright (and yummy) for Edzemi and her team as they look forward to bringing African spices and ready-made meals (including vegetarian options) to the shelves of SuperValu over the next few weeks.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Mamashee (@mamashee) on

Edizemi is very excited about the launch and her excitement is contagious. Thanks to MamaShee, you can pick up some Jollof Rice, Jollof Rice with Beans, Beans and Sweetcorn with Plantain and more ready-made meals for the whole family to enjoy. Make sure you look out for the MamaShee range in Supervalu, to discover your family’s new favourites!

With her daughter Evie as her muse, Anna writes about mumhood and all its intersections from mental health to movies, social issues to pop culture. Anna lives in Dublin with her daughter, partner, three younger sisters and parents. She is a dreadful cook, a fair guitar player and thinks caffeine should be given as a yearly vaccine to parents - courtesy of the HSE.

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