Eastbourne chef publishes 'best-selling' cookbook

A chef from Eastbourne has released a cookbook that has already been praised by The Telegraph and Waitrose.
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Lerato Umah-Shaylor, who moved to the town in 2015, released Africana on September 29.

The African cookbook has already been named in The Telegraph’s ‘best cookbooks to buy in autumn 2022’, was Waitrose’s book of the week, and hit the ‘best-sellers’ list on Amazon in the food history and African food categories.

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Mrs Umah-Shaylor said: “It has had a really good reception. It’s amazing.

Eastbourne resident Lerato Umah-ShaylorEastbourne resident Lerato Umah-Shaylor
Eastbourne resident Lerato Umah-Shaylor

“It has been really heartwarming. You never know how the world will take it.

“The media has really, really liked it.”

The Eastbourne resident has described the launch of her cookbook as one of the biggest moments of her life.

Mrs Umah-Shaylor, who also runs cooking classes in the area, said she first visited Eastbourne as her husband is from the town and her mother-in-law lives in Hailsham.

Lerato Umah-Shaylor's cookbook 'Africana'Lerato Umah-Shaylor's cookbook 'Africana'
Lerato Umah-Shaylor's cookbook 'Africana'
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She added: “The first time I visited I thought, ‘wow, it’s so nice here, so relaxing. It’s wonderful.’ We moved here to be closer to his mum and because of the cost of living. I just fell in love with the town, that is how I ended up in the town.

“The thing I adore about Eastbourne is it is reflective of my childhood with the outdoors and fresh food. I love having that community and having a great fish monger, a great butcher. It has a sense of a closer community in Eastbourne than in London. It reminds me of how I grew up in Nigeria.”

Mrs Umah-Shaylor, who spent her childhood in Nigeria and Benin, explained that the cookbook includes recipes from across the continent.

She added: “This book represents the continent in a very varied way and teaches and allows people at home to travel along with me one dish at a time.”

Lerato Umah-Shaylor in a herb garden in GhanaLerato Umah-Shaylor in a herb garden in Ghana
Lerato Umah-Shaylor in a herb garden in Ghana
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The Eastbourne resident said she wanted to create the cookbook, which has been in the pipeline for two years, as there is not much out there on African cooking compared to other cuisines.

Mrs Umah-Shaylor has described her book as ‘a delicious adventure with vibrant and varied food from across the continent’.

Residents can book a cooking class and find Mrs Umah-Shaylor’s social media handles on her website.