Chef from Ghana wants to share African and Caribbean cuisine with Springfield residents

Gabi Odebode, a native of the West African nation Ghana, wants to open a restaurant in downtown Springfield where she can serve dishes from Africa and the Caribbean as well as host cooking classes. Hasan Karim/Staff
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Gabi Odebode, a native of the West African nation Ghana, wants to open a restaurant in downtown Springfield where she can serve dishes from Africa and the Caribbean as well as host cooking classes. Hasan Karim/Staff

A native from Ghana is looking to open a restaurant in downtown Springfield that would not only offer classic African and Caribbean dishes, but provide lessons on how to make that cuisine.

Gabi Odebode, who hails from West Africa, said the plan is to find a space where she can offer those cooking lessons in the community while also focusing on carryout meals.

“People can learn to cook those meals from beginning to end. We would focus on three to four courses that they can learn to make themselves. It’s not just gaining that knowledge but also having a different cultural experience,” she said.

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Odebode hopes to eventually transition that idea into a full service restaurant that would still offer classes as well as sell products under the Afromeals brand. She was inspired to start Afromeals while living in Baltimore.

Odebode found it hard to find some of her favorite dishes from Ghana while living in the United States. She decided to make a business that would allow her to share some of those dishes. She has also written a cookbook.

Afromeals is an idea that has followed her to Ohio, where she now lives with her husband and three children.

Odebode currently holds limited cooking classes in the Cincinnati and Dayton areas. She also sells spice blends native to different regions of Africa as well as countries in the Caribbean.

Some of the traditional dishes that Odebode has taught in her classes include West African style meat pies, Jamaican pasta dishes and the popular West African dish called Jollof rice.

Odebode’s products can be found at grocery stores such at Jungle Jim’s in the Cincinnati area and Dot’s Market in the Dayton market. She said the goal is to expand her business and have her products featured in more stores.

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Odebode also wants to open up a physical location and believes that Springfield would be the best location. She said people in that area who want African and Caribbean cuisine usually have to go to Columbus.

She also mentioned that her and her husband have friends in Springfield and after getting to know the community, thought it would be the perfect match for Afromeals.

The plan is to open a pop-up at COhatch The Market in downtown Springfield by early next year before going into a larger space in the downtown area. Odebode added.

Odebode said she is currently looking for investors. She was also a finalist in this year’s Springfield Hustles competition and wants to use that experience to forge new business connections in the community.