Nkem Oghedo ’08
August 17, 2021

Supper Club celebrates Black female chefs, fine dining, and friendship

Nkem Oghedo ’08 founded Adá Supper Club in 2020 to provide chef-centered dining experiences
by Nancy Hitchcock

“I love the stories that people tell through food—that you can connect with somebody over a menu or a meal or a food memory. Food is very powerful in that way,” says Nkemdilim “Nkem” Oghedo ’08, who founded the Adá Supper Club to offer distinctive chef-centered dining experiences.

Oghedo launched the New York–based supper club in January 2020, with chefs preparing pop-up dinner parties on site and sharing stories and anecdotes with guests. As the pandemic took hold, Adá evolved, delivering three-course meals accompanied by a video interview with the chef and a song playlist to enjoy while dining. For Mother’s Day, two Adá chefs prepared an array of West African dishes for several family gatherings. “Each course was an interpretation of an experience that the chefs had had with their moms,” says Oghedo.

Today the supper club features 14 predominantly Black female chefs. Many have worked in top restaurants as executive chefs, appeared on Chopped and the Food Network, written cookbooks, or been featured in major food media. Their signature dishes have their origins in Jamaica, Haiti, and Cape Verde, for instance, and include dishes such as jumbo crab, clams steamed in a butter broth of homemade epis served with toasted hard dough bread, charred cauliflower steaks with piri piri sauce, fricassee chicken with confit plantain, and coconut rice.

A Caribbean-influenced roasted wild mushroom dish created by chef Brittney “Stikxz” Williams.
"Adá provides agency and ownership for these chefs, enabling them to talk about the inspiration behind their recipes and tell their own stories on their own terms."

“Oftentimes in the food industry chefs cook someone else’s food or do things based on someone else’s vision,” says Oghedo. “Adá is really about celebrating Black and female expression through food.”

In the 1980s, Oghedo’s parents emigrated from Nigeria where, in the regional dialect of Igbo, “Adá” means first daughter. Oghedo is the eldest daughter and second of four siblings. Traditionally, her role is to support and care for her family—a responsibility she welcomes. Likewise, the intention of the supper club, she says, is to support a food family of chefs and food creators. This mission is so important to Oghedo, who holds a BS in chemical engineering from Yale and an MBA from Harvard Business School, that she is running Adá while working full time for a wellness tech company.

Oghedo plans to expand Adá’s offerings, which currently include hosting private and bespoke corporate events. For instance, if a company wants to connect a team working in a hybrid environment, Adá can curate happy hour kits that include an appetizer and mocktails and host an interactive Zoom conversation with the featured chef.

Connection has always been important to Oghedo. The Andover friends she graduated with are still her best friends today—and many people from the Andover family attended her first Adá event.

Andover taught Oghedo that, “You can probably find a pretty strong connection with someone who seems very different from you if you just sit down and have a conversation with them. The goal of Adá is to keep growing, keep meeting new people, keep creating products and experiences that center diverse perspectives on food.”

Categories: Alumni, Magazine, Magazine Online

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