VIBRANT FOOD INSPIRED BY CULTURE & IDENTITY
Lerato Umah-Shaylor is a cookery writer, teacher, tv presenter and the founder of Lerato Foods & Naturals. Her community cookery school was set up to teach people how to cook with emphasis on celebrating provenance, culture and flavour.
She is especially passionate about African food, it’s past, present and future and she is one of the strongest voices representing contemporary African cuisine with both inspired and inventive recipes.
Her recipes are an explosion of flavours inspiring wanderlust, while celebrating roots, from produce to the people and their culture. Her unique style of effortlessly marrying cultures has attracted food lovers and celebrity chefs as guests at her table and global brands for whom she consults, teaches and develops recipes.
Lerato is one of the strongest young voices in the UK food scene and in contemporary African cuisine. Starting her career in food from launching a catering company, Lerato went on to become a Tv chef and breakfast television presenter and columnist with her recipes in the Guardian Nigeria.
Lerato Foods & Naturals started in 2017 as a cookery school, pioneering teaching African cookery in the United Kingdom, and hosting vibrant culinary experiences bringing this largely unexplored cuisine to the homes and hearts of people in the UK and beyond. Collaborations with the likes of Waitrose – hosting contemporary feasts in stores across the country, and published recipes in collaboration with Tilda Rice are a few of the strides made in order to make African foods more mainstream. Her clients are diverse from educational institutions to multinationals such as, Aviva PLC, Slack, Imperial College, Soho House Group, World Remit & more.
In 2021, Lerato Foods launched Virtual Masterclasses with guests participating from across the world. Guests in the United Kingdom can also enjoy intricately curated recipe kits with ingredients and unique spice blends, in what is a fabulously interactive feast, bringing people today to share great food.
"My goal is not a forced fusion for the sake of it, but a happy marriage of cultures, so that you can be inspired wherever you are."
COMMUNITY COOKERY SCHOOL & IMMERSIVE EXPERIENCES
Cookery Classes & Online demonstrations
Private Dining Experiences & Supper Clubs
After graduating from university in London at age 18 with a first degree in economics, her dream of working in Economic Development took her around the African continent. Things took an unexpected turn in Nigeria, when she ended up starting her first business, a catering company, where after a passionate conversation, a customer invited her to host a new cookery show syndicated across the continent. She later went on to work for a national newspaper, creating and editing a weekend entertainment supplement in the Friday paper, before becoming co-anchor on a breakfast tv news programme, and producing her own cookery show.
She returned to the UK and launched an immersive super club to bring people together, to inspire conversation about people and diverse cultures. Her supperclubs expanded around the UK, growing more popular and with guests wanting to learn to cook Lerato’s unique recipes, she founded Lerato Cookery School & Kitchen, a community cookery school on London and the South East.
Contemporary African recipes for Miele
Clients & collaborators include: Shell, GSK, Imperial College, Aviva, Tilda, British Red Cross, Beacon Scholarship, The Queen's Commonwealth Trust, Visit Brighton and more, Robert Welch, Le Creuset & more
Supper Club with Waitrose & Wefifo in the UK
On stage cooking live at GTBank Food & Drink Festival in Lagos, Nigeria
Lerato Cookery Class in London
Virtual Cookery Classes
Since the pandemic the cookery school has moved online to offer virtual classes and experienced reaching far more people from all around the world. We also organise community workshops with a variety of organisations, from local food banks, hospices to educational charities, using food to educate and inspire. She also works with social enterprises with a variety of goals from teaching cookery skills to both adult and children, inspiring social interaction for the elderly and those who struggle with integration for several reasons.
Lerato’s feasts and cookery classes, have been featured on the BBC, TimeOut, Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Evening Standard, Vice and more. Her latest supperclubs have been in collaboration with Waitrose and Wefifo, held in several Waitrose stores transformed into amazing pop-up dining spaces.
Clients & Collaborations
She has worked with brands such as Tilda Rice to develop recipes for a launch campaign, hosted supperclubs in several stores in collaboration with Waitrose, with more collaborations with Soho House, Divine Chocolate and more. Recent clients include Shell, GSK, Aviva, Slack, Imperial College.
During lockdown she worked with one of her social enterprise partners, to deliver online classes for adults and she took her Kids Cookery Club online, with free cookery classes for the whole family.
Lerato’s desire to educate and inspire has also led to the development of a growing range of fine food products, including Lerato Gourmet Brownies, a luxurious vegan collection using premium 70% fairtrade chocolate and a new small batch and sustainable spice brand to encourage cooks to make magic in the kitchen.
Work with Lerato