Seven-year-old Nikoya Sebro is a result of the old African proverb, ‘it takes a village to raise a child’. This Tobago-born primary schooler has a band of family members and friends who have all come together to make sure that she becomes successful in her endeavours. You see, Nikoya has big dreams — big restaurant dreams that is, and she is on the right track to realising them.
From the tender age of three, Nikoya’s interest in cooking was piqued when she spent time with her aunt, mentor, and manager LaToya Williams. At that age, she would follow her aunt into the kitchen when her aunt went to prepare meals. When LaToya saw this, she decided that in order to keep her out of harm’s way she would give her little things to do. This is when Nikoya displayed her natural inclination for cooking. Over time, she was given more and more difficult tasks, and at four years old Nikoya baked her first batch of cookies on her own.
This shy, soft-spoken, Castara native, and pupil of Castara Government Primary School, also has interest in theatre arts and is currently enrolled in a theatre class where she learns the art of wire-bending and folk-dance.
Nikoya spends her weekends with her aunt and grandmothers in Signal Hill prepping, cooking and perfecting recipes. She is slowly building her repertoire for the restaurant that she plans to build— Nikoya’s Kitchen — that will feature Trinbagonian meals and delicacies.
However, she does not simply make meals for her family to enjoy. Now, everyone can sample Nikoya’s ‘hand’ by following her Creamy Macaroni Pie recipe, which has been featured on the Dairy Dairy 2018 Calendar. This feature was secured after she was a part of the Dairy Dairy sponsored feature, ‘Kids who Inspire’ on CNC3 in 2017. Dairy Dairy was so impressed with Nikoya, that they requested she enter their calendar competition; which she won by showcasing her skills in the kitchen.
For Nikoya, food is life and she is never ‘off-duty’. Whenever her dutiful aunt or grandmothers (Erica Sebro and Cheryl Grant) take her out for a special treat at a restaurant, the first thing she wants to do when she reaches back home is to get into the kitchen and attempt to remake the meal.
While she is busy occupying her time creating, making and re-making meals, she is also concerned about health as well. Health is something that her team has invested in, as much as they have invested in her success. From her fitness instructor, Mr. Donneal Vincent (Xtream Fitness), who has created special ‘kid workouts’ for her and her friends; her grandmother, who bought her a special air-fryer to prepare fried chicken for herself and friends (without the guilt) to her aunt who encourages Nikoya to try new recipes that include vegetables for her once-a-month sleepover.
Other members of her ‘village’ include Chef Arthur Patrick, internationally trained chef, who Nikoya will be doing a special class with soon; Blue Heron Enterprise and Glenroy Waldron, who are responsible for her branding, and her Aunt Samantha Manswell, who helps her with her homework. The village takes pride in raising her, and Nikoya values each and every one of them. She has big dreams to realise and she is well on her way.
Disclaimer: This article was originally written for, and published by CARE in the TT Guardian on Friday February 23rd, 2018.
Omega is a freelance copy-editor and writer who also finds time to blog about mom-life and writer-life on her blog:www.omegafrancis.com.