Africa: Olushola Medupin, the man changing the face of Nigerian cuisine in the UK, US and Dubai

Medupin

He is man on a mission. His style can be defined as subtle sophistication. He oozes class with simplicity. Olushola Olakunle Medupin is a restaurateur and founder of Enish Restaurant and Lounge, a chain of food outlets offering exotic Nigerian delicacies in UK and Dubai.

Born into a family of restaurateurs on March 13, 1980 in Ilorin the capital of Kwara State, Nigeria where he had his early education, Medupin showed early in life where his calling was.

Both his grandparents and mother were in the food business. On the day he was born, according to him, his mother remembers going to the restaurant.

READ: Africa: Wave Making Enish Restaurant plans to open biggest outlet in Nigeria after second one in Dubai

From the age of six, he was always at the restaurant and such was his attraction to the activities there that he wanted to handle the pestle and mortar before his older sister.

Such was his precocity, that as early as seven years old, he had started making simple meals and a year later was already pounding yam.

But Medupin was not just drawn to food, he displayed early in life a business nous that proved vital for his family. At the age of eleven, his father had to leave the country on official matter and there wasn’t enough money at home to take care of things.

To help the situation, Olushola started a wholesale orange business from the family orchard. According to him, he would go to the market and persuade the traders to come to their home and buy sacks of oranges he had plucked from the trees. After negotiating prices and getting paid, he would hand the money his mother.

At sixteen, he floated a supermarket next to his mum’s restaurant, which he simultaneously managed. The young genius was making money and had a clientele that included banks like UBA, Union Bank and even the utility NEPA.

At some point, Olushola Medupin also ran a dog business and by the time he was nineteen he bought his first and second cars. On graduating from the university, Medupin learnt how to repair phones at Computer Village, Ikeja and after his Youth Service Corps deployment to Kaduna State, he started a phone business making so much money, he was known as ‘Senior Corper.’

Eventually, Olushola moved to the United Kingdom and incidentally his first job, although not directly involved with the food, was as a kitchen porter. Not satisfied with that, he relocated to Nigeria to start a car wash which took off instantly. He was on the verge of adding a pharmacy business when he got admission for a Masters degree in Investment Banking and Securities at the University of East London in 2008.

He soon found himself as a kitchen porter once more at the university and four years later, as he contemplated a return to Nigeria, he reached a decision to start a restaurant in London. In 2013, the first Enish Restaurant was launched in Lewisham.

The second Enish Restaurant was opened in 2016 at Finchley Road, while Croydon and Ilford followed in 2019. 2020 saw both the birth of the Brixton branch and the first Enish Restaurant in Dubai. In addition, another outlet was opened in Camberwell, bringing the number of Enish Restaurants in the UK to six.

Meanwhile, dynamic entrepreneur is set to launch a second outlet in Dubai between August and September 2021. In addition to all these, Medupin is also a co-founder of a nightclub in Houston, Texas, in the United States called Capri Ultra Lounge.

When asked how he came about the name ENISH, Medupin explained that it was a combination of the first three letters of his wife’s name Eniola and ‘SH’ from his name Shola.

Boasting an assortment of 57 items on the menu, such as: Goat Meat Assorted Pepper Soup, Fish Pepper Soup, Garnished Stockfish, Snail, Moi Moi, Gizzard and Plain Rice, Fried Rice, Jollof Rice, Ego Tiro, Egusi, Ogbono, Edika-Ikon, Oha, Ofe Nsala and pounded yam, Eba, Semo, Isi Ewu, Nkwobi, Asun, Beef Suya, Lamb Suya; Enish Restaurant certainly lives up to its slug line as ‘authenticity plated!’

Its clientele includes some of Nigeria’s and Nigerian-born biggest celebrities such as: Femi Otedola, Anthony Joshua, Basketmouth, Bisi Olatilo, Davido, Tiwa Savage, Burna Boy, Kiss Daniel, Yemi Slade, Adekunle Gold, Simi, Perruzi, Whizkid, DJ Cuppy and many more. Others patrons include Chinese, Whites and other African nationals who come to enjoy the ambience of Nigeria. At Enish Restaurants, only the sounds of afrobeats rule the air waves.

Olushola Medupin is not resting on his oars as he is plans on having branches in America, Asia, in India or China. After which he wants to franchise. However, he is somewhat reluctant when Africa is proposed, because in his words, “Africa is not ready for me yet.”

All hope is not lost for Africa, especially Nigeria because he still has dreams of coming home. According to him, “I intend to open a big restaurant in Nigeria but on a different concept.”

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