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Meet Helen Oduselu of Ounjé LA in San Fernando Valley

Today we’d like to introduce you to Helen Oduselu.

Helen, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
For as long as I can remember, I have always had a passion for food. Eating, tasting, cooking and learning as much as I can about foods, the origins, cultures and preparation of it. It has a powerful way of bringing people together and greasing conversations with joy, thought and laughter. However, my love for food hasn’t always been that way.

I was born Brooklyn, NY and raised in Nigeria. Growing up my family would cook different Nigerian dishes but I did not like any of it. They tried numerous dishes and it still did not work for my taste buds. I moved back to the US at the age of 13, so I was able to eat different kinds of foods. I realized I ate more of what tasted good to me and less of what I was forced to eat growing up.

I discovered my love for cooking while I was in undergrad in Atlanta, GA. I was craving some Nigerian food, so I decided to make some. A few of my friends tasted the food and they raved about how delicious it tasted. That was the birth of my catering business! I started taking orders and realized the joy I feel especially with the pleasant feedback I received from my friends now turned clients. However, the demands of growing my catering interests came in conflict with my academic pursuits and I eventually prioritized the latter. Following my graduation and different roles in the corporate world, the fire to pursue my passion for food and catering still burned bright within. Over time, I dedicated more time to cooking for friends, gatherings and through my network, I generated new interest from my community for my food.

Fast-forward to 2015, and the opportunity to move to LA presented itself. Excited about the new opportunities, I wondered if this 3rd restart in a new city for my baby, my business, will be the toughest and final attempt to get it up and running again. I kicked things off cooking for family events and got great reviews. Reviews led to inquiries, inquiries led to orders and like the first couple of times, my catering business and passion was beyond renewed but now reborn. It would be different this time, my cooking skills and business acumen were better. I wanted my food to reach as many people as possible. The number of requests took me past a hobby to truly the need for a business model. I developed a brand and menu that speaks to all who have passion for African fusion. I started my catering business but this time it would be different. With this restart, I gave my passion an identity, that is how I started Ounjé LA. Thus far, the journey has been wonderful.

Has it been a smooth road?
No, it has not been a smooth road. I worry about our pricing and time management. I wonder if I am charging enough for my services and if I am putting in enough time to grow my baby.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Ounjé LA is catering business located in the Valley. We specialize in Nigerian Cuisine and Afro-fusion. We are known for our delicious dishes. We are most proud of how far we have come in this journey, it has not been an easy journey but it has been worth every minute.

What sets Ounjé LA apart is the love and joy we put into cooking our delicious dishes for our clients. We make sure to use all fresh and premium ingredients. When cooking at Ounjé, we see our clients as family, so we take time crafting each dish.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Yes, I feel LA is a great place for my business. Ounjé LA was birthed out of passion and a need for it. LA is definitely a place for dreamers to come fulfill their dreams. It is never easy and a lot of work has to be done but the reward brings a joy no one can truly explain.

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