Spicing up the soup game with African-fusion flavours and a love for sharing
Is there any food more universally comforting than a bowl of soup?
If you ask Lola Adeyemi, founder of It’s Souper, she’ll kindly tell you probably not and offer up one of her four Afro-Fusion gourmet soups to put the debate to rest. With an accomplished background in IT and no food industry experience, apart from her love of cooking, Adeyemi was craving to share something with the world that would not only fuel her entrepreneurial spirit but also appeal to a diverse community, something everyone could share in.
“I love soup, being African, soup is something we eat everyday. We don’t just eat it because it’s cold,” said Adeyemi who is originally from Nigeria.
“We eat soup everyday, but we eat it with different things, on its own, or with rice or different starchy foods. Coming here I would make our own soups, and I love western soups as well, but anytime I’d buy them or make them, I always infuse my own African spices in them, because they’re either too bland or something was missing.”
It’s Souper combines African recipes and spices with traditional western soups. Their current flavours include Chicken Peanut, Fish Pepper, Meat Lovers Chili and Paprika Carrot.
“I wanted soups that were familiar to the western palate and have a tweak to it,” she said.
“The Chicken Peanut soup and Fish Pepper soup are the mostly African soups, in my country when we’re making (Fish Pepper soup) we use the whole fish with the head and everything and bones, but we don’t want bones in the soup, so we use a tilapia filet and it’s just broth… so the spices are the same, the recipe is mostly the same, and it’s not as spicy.”
The soups are currently sold at 10 different stores throughout the GTA and the Chicken Peanut (Adeyemi’s best seller) and Meat Lovers Chili were recently nominated as finalists for the Retail Council of Canada’s Grand Prix Best New Product Award – and the company is not even a year old, having launched in late 2018.
Adeyemi took a leave from her IT job at the city of Toronto to forge her path to entrepreneurship and also worked for her husband’s consulting company while building It’s Souper. While she’s had her challenges, Adeyemi says it’s the support from other women and her husband, that fuel her.
“We are such a new company that I just want to focus on growing, but one of the things I’m thankful for is having a spouse who’s launched something successfully and I think that’s what helped me make that jump,” she said.
“People send me messages how I inspired them and how they are encouraged to follow their dreams and their goals, and even the times when I’m scared or having worries, all those messages encourage me ... I feel happy and blessed to be in a position to empower people and have the confidence to expose myself to be empowered by others. I’m blessed to have a community of women – women supporting women and it feels great.”
While Adeyemi says her favourite soup depends on her mood, she says the Chicken Peanut is her soul food pick, while the Fish Pepper soup is nostalgic and brings back good memories. It’s also light, and 60 calories per serving – win. Enjoy the recipe below for a heartier version of It’s Souper’s Fish Pepper Soup.
It's Souper Fish Pepper Soup with Potatoes
· 1 3/4 pounds organic red boiling potatoes
· Its Souper Fish Pepper Soup (1 Litre)
· Optional – Add additional Mushrooms, Red/Green Chilli, or veggies of your choice
1. Put potatoes in a medium saucepan and cover with cold water by 2 inches.
2. Salt the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook the potatoes until tender, about 20 minutes.
3. Drain and put the potatoes in a serving bowl.
4. Open the tub of It’s Souper Fish Pepper Soup and pour contents into a pan.
5. Add potatoes and Bring to a boil about 5 mins
6. Optional: Add more veggies, cover and simmer for 5 more minutes.
7. Turn off heat, Serve hot garnished with chopped Chilli