Julia Offiong

Teaches at Calbra Classics

After 5 years at the University of Pittsburgh I earned a Bachelor's degree in Political Science and a Master’s degree in Library Science. I have since worked as a Librarian for 18 years.

I have always wanted to start up a small business at the end of my career. About 5 years before then I figured I would do a Food business. I have always enjoyed cooking, trying different recipes and sharing my cooking with friends and family. I regularly would receive compliments for them. Cooking feels more like a hobby to me; the more reason why I explored that avenue. It was necessary to invest in myself in terms of getting a formal education in the field. I did a course in culinary as at the Prince George's community college, where I learned, researched, and talked to people in the trade about the business.

To cut the long story short, a year after the training we started a catering business. A couple of years later in addition to that we began our cooking classes, with a focus on the Nigerian and West African cuisine. I believe it is a great way to create awareness about our cuisine. I am the second in a family of 9 children. Growing up it was the norm to observe our moms, aunties and older family members cook and to learn from them. They added ingredients intuitively without measurement, relying solely on their taste buds. It was a long process of trial and error before being able to get it right.

I figured it would be nice to come up with recipes I have tried and tested, with standard ingredient measurements and simple straight forward directions to create dishes. This in turn would enable people create their favorite dishes from the West African region. I am originally from Calabar (where our business name derives), Nigeria, in West Africa. Calabar is widely known for its diverse cuisine and rich cultural artifacts.

Classes taught by Julia Offiong

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