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Maria Bradford


Website: Shwen Shwen

Total years spent working within the industry?
Three years.

How did you get into Hospitality?
Having founded Maria Bradford Kitchen in 2017, I began running events on the London supper club scene. I studied at Leith’s school for food and wine and now deliver private dining events and have a product range of drinks and sauces. I re-branded Maria Bradford Kitchen to Shwen Shwen in 2020.

What do you most enjoy about this industry?
I love what I do, I love cooking and I love cooking for people and that’s why people hire me or attend my events. That said I am about purpose over profit and I love connecting people through food. I want to inspire others, by building a platform which raises awareness of traditional Sierra Leonean cuisine and Afro-fusion dishes inspired by my Sierra Leonean heritage.  

What does a typical day look like for you?
I don’t have a typical day. Autism is part of my life and my son is neuro-diverse so he keeps me busy, I have a fifteen-year-old daughter and my husband runs his own business too.  My days are varied.  I fulfil orders from my online shop, I make product,  manage my social media accounts and I prepare for events. 

The single most important piece of advice given to you?
Act like a pineapple. Stand tall, wear a crown, be thick-skinned, yet sweet on the inside.

Three dinner guests - who would they be?
Michelle Obama for me, Mike Tyson for my husband, and perhaps Idris Elba?

The last book you read or documentary watched?
I enjoyed the Reggie Yates documentary on Netflix.

Finish the sentence, the future in hospitality is...
….has got to be Shwen Shwen.  That’s the Krio word for ‘fancy’.