I started cooking when I was 7 years old – Blind chef

Nigerian culinary chef living with visual impairment, Halima Usman Jibril has revealed that she started cooking at the tender age of seven.

The 24-year-old Nasarawa indigene, who owns a cooking brand, made this known in an interview with Saturday Beats while talking about what sparked her interest in cooking and how her parents supported her.

I started cooking at 7 - Blind chef

Halima, a student of Mass Communication at Kaduna State University, said her mother and sister used to assist her when she first started cooking, but when she reached 16 years, she could do it by herself.

In her words; “When I was growing up, there was a story my mom used to tell me about a blind woman in one of our villages in Nasarawa. My mum told me that early in the morning, the woman would wake up, sweep the house, fetch water, and sieve the ground corn for cooking, and things like that. When I heard that, I told myself that I’d try too. I just feel that I love cooking because I love food.

So that was what just pushed me. It’s also something that people will not expect a person with visual impairment to do. I wanted to create awareness and break barriers. Even though there are so many blind chefs outside Nigeria, most people don’t know that we can do things like that in Nigeria. I want to be known as a blind chef because it’s my passion.

“I started my cooking career with the help of my mum. She guides me and motivates me in whatever I do. Even if I feel like I cannot do something, if I tell her, she will ask me to try. And if I try, I will do it. I started cooking at the age of seven. I’m from a large family, so I have many cousins, sisters, and brothers, who are my age mates. When they told me to start cooking at home, I told my mum that I wanted to try. Whatever my mum is doing at home, she asks me to do. She asks me to sweep, wash plates, and wash my clothes. I was in different boarding schools then, so I knew how to wash my clothes.

“At the age of 16, I could cook by myself without any guidance. If I do not understand anything, I’ll just call them. I started my business in 2021. My food business is still growing. I started posting my cooking videos on social media in 2023 because I feel people need to know more about people with disabilities, especially the blind. After all, they think we cannot do anything. So I decided to use that to create awareness.”