Summer’s Hottest Culinary Collab: Top Chef Alum Eric Adjepong Creates Exclusive Recipes for Popular West-African Line AYO Foods

CHICAGO, July 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Summer is all about flavor, fun and a little bit of spice – and no one knows that better than AYO Foods. To celebrate the return of dinner parties, cookouts and everything in between, the popular line of West-African cuisine has partnered with Top Chef alum Chef Eric Adjepong to introduce two new recipes – Waakye (Beans and Rice) and Chicken Yassa to the AYO family. Adjepong’s AYO dishes are now available at retailers nationwide where AYO Foods are sold.

Chef Eric Adjepong is the perfect partner for AYO’s inaugural recipe collaboration given their shared love for the rich culture and flavors of West Africa. One of the most acclaimed finalists in Top Chef history, Chef Adjepong draws from his Ghanian heritage to create memorable dishes that are bold, creative and comforting.

Based out of Washington, D.C. Adjepong was a finalist on season 16 of Bravo’s Top Chef, where he earned consistent acclaim from judges and popularity among viewers, and then returned for season 17 of Top Chef All-Stars. As a first-generation Ghanaian-American Adjepong sources the flavors and influences in his cooking from many of the West African dishes he grew up eating.

"AYO means ‘Joy’ and cooking West African food – and sharing its rich flavors with both those familiar with, and those new to the cuisine, brings me deep joy," said Chef Eric Adjepong. "It’s exciting to share some of my favorite recipes and collaborate with a partner who deeply understands the transformative power of West African cuisine. I’m thrilled to be a part of the movement to make this food more prominent in mainstream grocery culture."

Adjepong’s two classic West African recipes are now available in retailers nationwide including Kroger, Marianos, Bristol Farms, Central Market and select Whole Foods. His offerings include:

  • Waakye – a delicious blend of South Sea Island red peas and jasmine rice slow-cooked with coconut oil, millet leaves and served with a delicious red sauce.
  • Chicken Yassa – marinated and braised chicken thighs slow cooked with caramelized onions, lemon and served over jasmine rice.

Since launching in July 2020, AYO Foods has built a loyal following of millennials, travelers and first-generation West Africans looking for a taste of home. Inspired by their Liberian family, husband and wife team, Fred and Perteet Spencer, launched AYO Foods in mid-2020 with the goal of making it easier for people to experience the food of the West African Diaspora.

The company’s initial product line-up included the classic dishes Jollof Rice, Egusi Soup and Cassava Leaf Stew. Recently, AYO introduced a versatile sweet bread, Puff Puff, into its frozen line of recipes, as well as expanded into the pantry category with the debut of a sauce line that features both a Shito Sauce and Pepper Sauce offering.

"The response to AYO has been overwhelmingly positive and we’re incredibly excited to extend our community to reach more people," said Perteet Spencer, Founder AYO Foods. "Chef Eric was a dream partnership for us, as he is dedicated to not just introducing, but elevating, West African cuisine under a shared belief of the power of the rich flavors in the African Diaspora to connect people across the world."

AYO Foods has quickly built a loyal following and a mouthwatering reputation for its line of delicious, West-African dishes inspired by generational family recipes. AYO, which means joy in Yoruba, features nutrient-dense, flavor-rich, frozen entrees that are conveniently packaged and easy to prepare. To locate a retailer, please visit the company’s website Fans are encouraged to follow @AYOFoods for brand updates on Instagram and Facebook.


Founded by Perteet and Fred Spencer in 2020, AYO Foods is a celebration of West African cuisine. AYO Means "joy" in Yoruba, one of the many languages spoken in West Africa. AYO foods feature nutrient-dense, flavor-rich dishes and can be found in the frozen food section at select retailers across the US. To locate a retailer, please visit the company’s website Fans are encouraged to follow @AYOFoods for brand updates on Instagram and Facebook.

Chef Eric Adjepong has cooked in several Michelin-starred restaurants in New York after graduating with degrees in culinary arts and nutrition from Johnson & Wales, one of the country’s premiere culinary universities. He also holds a Master of Public Health in International Public Health Nutrition from the University of Westminster in London. He can currently be seen as a judge on the The Globe and Battle of the Brothers on Discovery + and is busy filming for Top Chef and Food Network. He is penning his first cookbook with Clarkson Potter and has also partnered up with Penguin Workshop to write a kids book that explores the culinary storylines of the African diaspora, peppered with kid-friendly recipes and visuals. Eric is repped by Arc Collective and resides in Maryland with his wife and daughter.

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Emerald-Jane Hunter
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