There are people who you meet and they forever leave you wanting for more. One of those people is Vivian Irondi. I always celebrate my mother every mothers day, but this time; since we already know mommy, I decided to celebrate Lady V.
I met Mrs. Vivian on a food group on Facebook and I deeply liked and enjoyed her posts. I always wondered who in the world she was. Her talents in cooking and her passion shone through her posts. You could tell she had a story to tell and she still does it through food.
Vivian is a mother and a wife who would go to war for her family. And her loyalty to her family and her husband whom she calls her friend knows no bounds.
Her friends call her a loyal friend, a woman who loves her family and one who never minces her words when it comes to being truthful.
Vivian, the beautiful; as she is known to me, is a woman well travelled with a great sense of humor. She is one who fights for women, and one who celebrates the African culture not only through her cooking, but through her impeccable sense of style.
As one with strong principles of hard and smart work ethics, Vivian not only works her 9-5 job. She also caters organic Nigerian food to many distinguished customers. Like the photo of Afang soup below. I remember when she posted this image, my mouth watered, I got instantly hungry.
She is one who would tell you, “don’t just come on social media to slay. Do something tangible with your life.” As blunt as she sounds, I have begun to take her words seriously. I have learnt that people like Vivian will correct you on one hand and on the other, she pulls you into a tight embrace with love.” She is one who was difficult for me to understand, but once I did, it was bliss onwards.
At the rate with which I fall in love with Vivian over and over again, I had to interview her and she obliged me.
Enjoy our interview below:
Nlc: You’re a food blogger and you work with the world bank. Where are you from in Nigeria?
Vivian: “I am not sure I could fully accept the title of a food blogger since my time has been an impediment to updating my blog to its full potential with the creative and innovative ideas I have about food, therefore, I would like to accept half the title if there is anything like that. Hahaha. I am from Amapu Ntigha in Isiala Ngwa North, Abia State and married to my wonderful friend from Akanu Okpulor in Obingwa LGA, also in Abia State.”
Nlc: How do you balance your busy life and being a foodie?
Vivian: “You know before World Bank, family and the dawn of Facebook or Social Media, those around me called me “Energizer Bunny”, to them they have not been able to figure out how I do it. Then you ask me, and my answer could only come from the Bible, Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Honestly, working for the World Bank has been a blessing because, the Bank strives to help its workforce balance life and work. We have Alternative Work Schedule (AWS), where we put in our minimum 80 hours in nine days and take one day off, we also have telework from home opportunities which allows us to work without interruption from others except calling in through Webex of phone to meetings. So these are the tools that help me to balance my work and life and be able to contribute my share to food blogging. Also, instead of going for cigarette or coffee break, I use my brain to focus on something else other than my core tasks. My lunch breaks are 95% on my desk except when I have lunch meetings, lunch dates with colleagues or country delegation, then I go out of my office to do lunch. Since I stopped exercising at the gym in the office, I find myself using my lunch hour to write.”
Nlc: As a foodie, What’s your favorite food and how often do you get to cook/eat it?
Vivian: “I don’t think I can classify any food as my favorite food, but in categorizing foods that I love, I can place yam as number one. If you allow me, I could consume yam for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I am constrained though by the price of yam in the united States and the fact that my family is not in love as much as I am with yam. I was raised with yam as my only solid food as a toddler until I was about 6 years. How often I get to cook it depends on my body weight as I consider it the highest calorie food I eat.”
Nlc: How did you start blogging?
Vivian: “It was a sensible decision I made in 2015 to put my ideas in a central location that could leave a legacy when I am gone“
Nlc: How do you impact the community around you with your work?
Vivian: “This question is the core of my food blogging decision. They call my home God’s house because you can never go hungry when you walk into my home. A lot of friends come visiting after I have put up a post on food they would love to eat and even when I travel to Nigeria, I do not hire a chef to cook food for my brethren. I do it myself and give the same touch they have come to associate with my online posting.”
Nlc: What’s one cause you’re passionate about and how did you know it was something you were interested in?
Vivian: “I am woman who believes in equal opportunity for men and women; therefore, gender issues became a passion. I am very compassionate not only to the women folk, but one of the things that gets me distraught is when I see women suffering, violently or economically. I tend to carry the cross as much as my paycheck and family obligations can carry. You can see me more with the male folk because I interact with them to understand the underlying factors on why they project themselves as better than women and treat the women folk as second class human beings.”
Nlc: As a professional and a foodie where do you see yourself in the future?
Vivian: “Honestly, I do not project my future around food, but someday, I would like to setup a world class facility where people can walk in and enjoy my creation on demand. As a legal and gender professional, I am working on becoming the best in what I do. Making a difference and adding values to the work that we do in relation to gender and legal policies in the world.”
Nlc: “You write about food and your experiences and you dress up so well. Your sense of style is exquisite. What’s your inspiration?
Vivian: “Yes, I do write about my experiences, but most often I write about other people’s experiences because I refused to ask people’s opinion on issues people bring to my attention inbox or in person. I want to use their experiences to bring awareness to issues. I do not like to repeat other people’s mistake and part of that is writing it that I and others may learn from it. On the experiences that could positively impact our lives, I strive to lay emphasis on those topics when I write because I know the world is learning. The young and old ones are learning from my write-ups; some may not express it, but the many messages I receive inbox gladdens my heart to continue what I do. Regarding dressing up so well – That I would give credit to my grandmother and my mother. I grew up with a grandma who took pride in how she looked. Then my mother was very classy and still is that she just doesn’t wear anything; it has to fit her body, it has to reflect her natural curves. More importantly, my mother takes care of herself, she eats well, she exercises and she is the sweetest person in her authoritative voice that will give you the best advice in your situation and add her money to it.”
Nlc: Please share with us one thing we don’t know about you.
Vivian: “Hahaha!! Chidi, I am not sure there is something about me your audience doesn’t know yet. I am a plain vanilla! What you see is what you get. There is no pretense around me. I am very expressive and assertive, but one thing that could keep me awake at night is my kids. I am the hawk who watches over her children, making sure they are doing the right thing at the right time, with their academics, with their behavior and so forth. For me though, I walk away so easily from people to avoid conflict and I would rather not talk to someone just for my happiness than be friends with a perceived ‘frenemy.’ Sometimes people misconstrue my assertiveness as sassiness or aggressiveness, but if you know my family, you will know that we bark with love.”
Nlc: What advice will you give to the young ones pursuing their dreams?
Vivian: “Hard work pays. No matter the situation, pursue your dream with vigor. I am a testimony that only your hard work pays. Moreso, I learnt from a very good friend of mine that networking with the right people, rich or poor can propel your career to the next level. Never bite the finger that fed you, it’s a boomerang, it will come back to haunt you no matter what you have achieved in life.”
Happy Mothers day Mrs. Irondi. May the stars align in your favor. With love…<3