Words are sweet, but they never take the place of food.
Born in Brooklyn, NY , youngest in a tight family of 5, Chef Grace can say she was inspired by 2 things: the warm, soulful, and spicy flavors of the cuisine of her parent’s native land of Nigeria and her family’s church.
One connected her to her culture and the other connected her to her faith- the two most important things in her life and the building block for Dining With Grace. As the youngest in a busy entrepreneurial working family, Chef Grace often assisted her mother in preparing traditional dishes and even introduced her family to new “American” dishes. The Nigerian culture around food became one of her many entry points into developing a passion for discovery of her culture.
As a child, Chef Grace would assist her family’s small Brooklyn-based church in preparing dinners for the homeless, drug-addicted and sheltered in her community. Although the church was quite small and the operation stayed quite humble, many people were fed and looked forward to the occasion, where they would be served a variety of dishes inclusive of modest cultural favorites, punch (with fruit cocktail!!), and strawberry cake. There would always also be upbeat music (and often some dancing)! From a young age it was a loving memory of the effect of food being created and served with love. It was because of this experience that a quiet seed was planted on the idea of becoming a Chef.
Years later, Chef Grace finished college with a degree in Economics and Political Science and entered the workforce in the Financial Services sector, forgetting the dreams of childhood. A wonderfully perfect 25th birthday gift changed that. Her older sister, Gloria, purchased her a Certificate Program at The French Culinary Institute. This reignited an old flame and Chef Grace immersed herself in her passion for cooking. As fate would have it, soon after, Grace was laid off from her Financial Services job after a huge reorganization of the bank. Dining With Grace was born the following year in 2010, where Chef Grace is the Owner & Chef, working with a team of service professionals to add her signature touch to special events.
Since the launch of Dining With Grace, Chef Grace has continued to study and explore the fields of culinary arts, nutrition, and African Studies and has worked with top-rated NYC caterers, restaurants, bakeries, and community organizations. She has taught Nutritional Culinary Arts workshops in several Brooklyn Public Schools & city programs- introducing children and under-served communities to diverse health and nutrition concepts in food.
She has catered events for various clients such as Lane Bryant, KPMG, Dow Jones, Facebook, Moët Hennessy, the NYPD and more, as well as weddings and special celebrations for diverse (and discerning!) private clients, catering for crowds up to 700.
She has been featured on the Cooking Channel with Sherri Shepherd and various news programs including WPIX 11 and Arise 360 Entertainment. She is the Founder of The African Table, a (currently paused) monthly pop-up dining series featuring regional cuisines & cultures of the African Diaspora in various art galleries and locations in NYC. Through this project, she also engages her passion for food, culture and travel by hosting international culinary trips, The African Table: Epicurean Excursions. In 2016, Saveur Magazine named Chef Grace Odogbili, NY’s Culinary Ambassador of Pan-African Cuisine!
The work she is most excited about is the Dining With Grace Banquet; a vision she had written since 2005 to create an annual elegant and nurturing dining event for homeless families in NYC, which had its inaugural event in August 2015.
For more information or to have Chef Grace cater your event, host a dinner, organize an outreach event, speak on African cuisine, nutrition or entrepreneurship please do contact us at 347-770-2844 or by email.
Thank you & God bless you!
May all grace abound towards you.