Without a doubt, Jollof Rice has become one of the most popular dishes in West Africa. The fierce rivalry between Ghana and Nigeria on who makes the better Jollof Rice has gone on for so long, and has been so intense, that it has garnered international recognition.
Some say neither country should even lay claim to being the Jollof superstars because the dish originated from Senegal. The sister countries of Ghana and Nigeria however seem unfazed about the true origins of the dish, as they have owned it and given it its now iconic status.
This common love for the popular dish and the rather fierce Jollof rivalry is the premise of the ‘Jollof Faceoff’. The maiden edition of the competition took place on Saturday, July 31, 2021, at The Rooftop by Ohuru HSE, Boardroom Apartments, Lekki, Lagos, and it was certainly one for the history books.
The competition was sponsored by VFD Microfinance Bank (VBank), Ohuru by HSE, AfriPay, Maggi and Cellar Central and featured two cooks, one representing each country, who battled it out to determine whose Jollof reigns supreme. There was a blind tasting of their Jollof dishes by a panel of judges, also representing both countries, and scores were awarded across several parameters like plating, taste & texture of the Jollof itself as well as taste of the accompanying protein and sides.
After the judging was done and the scores collated, Hilda Effiong Bassey representing Nigeria emerged winner and walked away with a grand prize of $5,000 (Five Thousand Dollars)
According to Noble Igwe, who coordinated the event on behalf of the conveners; Jollof Faceoff seeks to celebrate the love Nigeria and Ghana have for Jollof Rice. It is more than a competition; it is a showcase of our cultures, our uniqueness, and our unbridled passion.
The event wasn’t just about Jollof Rice though, Guests had fun with Karaoke, enjoyed jokes by MC Forever, watched a dance performance, and left with loaded goody bags from the organizers and sponsors.
According to Noble Igwe, the plan is to evolve, from not just the Jollof Faceoff competition, but into holding Food Festivals and having Jollof Cookouts as well as other amazing events that everyone can participate in and enjoy.
He also revealed that there will be a rematch of the Ghana/Nigeria Jollof Faceoff, this time in Ghana, and there are plans to include other countries such as Senegal and Sierra Leone in future competitions.