St Stephen’s Church volunteer Kemi Buraimoh is ‘one of Britain’s top 3 cooks’

PUBLISHED: 15:36 17 May 2017

Kemi Buraimoh, catering co-ordinator at The Manna at St Stephen's Church in Canonbury. Picture: Polly Hancock

Kemi Buraimoh, catering co-ordinator at The Manna at St Stephen's Church in Canonbury. Picture: Polly Hancock


For 10 years, Kemi Buraimoh has volunteered her cooking skills for homeless people. Now she could win a national award. She chats to the Gazette.

Kemi Buraimoh, catering co-ordinator at The Manna at St Stephen's Church in Canonbury. Picture: Polly Hancock Kemi Buraimoh, catering co-ordinator at The Manna at St Stephen's Church in Canonbury. Picture: Polly Hancock

There are so many good things about The Manna – a shelter for homeless and isolated people in St Stephen’s Church – and Kemi Buraimoh is one of the best.

Already famous at the Canonbury Road church for her mashed potato and rice pudding, 53-year-old Kemi could soon have an even bigger profile.

She’s made the final three of the BBC’s cook of the year competition, for cooks who are innovative in a hospital, care home, school or workplace.

The ceremony is on June 8. Catering co-ordinator Kemi reflected: “Somebody put my name forward. I had no idea about the competition and I wasn’t expecting anything, so it was a big surprise.”

As well as meals for vulnerable people, The Manna also offers recreation, showers and advice to its clients.

Kemi, of Holloway, first volunteered in the kitchen 10 years ago – and she has done so three times a week ever since.

She said: “At the beginning, I was a stay-at-home mum who liked cooking, but I wanted to do something in the community when this opportunity came up.

“I love the cooking, I love mixing with other people in the community, and I love to help out.

“What is great about The Manna is that it gives people purpose beyond just eating food. You see that with the activities, like gardening, that they have on Wednesdays.”

Kemi, who also volunteers at St Mary Magdalene Church in Holloway Road, stressed the job is often a challenge: “There can be 150 people here on a Tuesday, meaning it can be very stressful and hot in the kitchen.

“But we have a lot of volunteers who come in and help, which really takes the pressure off. And anyway, I prefer busy days to when it’s quiet and there’s less to do, like Fridays.”

As someone who gives so much to others, what does she get out of it? “I just enjoy coming here. There may be days where I have challenges at home but this is something that can help calm me down.

“People look forward to seeing me . That’s the best part of the job.”


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Islington Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Islington Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Islington Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Latest Islington News Stories

36 minutes ago

A Holloway Road institution will be shutting forever in the New Year.


An Islington man has been found guilty for his part in 17 moped smash and grab raids on mobile phone stores.

Yesterday, 16:14

Two moped thugs from Islington have been locked up for more than three years after being chased and caught with 17 stolen phones.

Lee Jay Hatley’s alleged murderer accidentally knifed him in a “scuffle”, a court heard today.

Yesterday, 12:49

Migrants who arrive in Islington face a daunting prospect: mountains of government paperwork in a language they often aren’t familiar with; a ban on getting certain state benefits; and no legal help.

Yesterday, 11:50

Two homeless women who had been sleeping under the Stroud Green Road bridge for a year have been offered housing – weeks after the Gazette published the tragic stories of how they had ended up there.

Yesterday, 11:43

Dozens of new council homes were unveiled on Finsbury’s King Square Estate yesterday as part of a major regeneration.

Yesterday, 10:17

Islington is notorious for brutally high rent. But a brilliant yoga centre for people with special needs has been given a brand new premises for just £1,000 a year.

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now