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Inspiring Conversations with Fannie Gibson of Fannie’s West African Cuisine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Fannie Gibson.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Owner of Fannie’s West African Cuisine located at 4105 Troost Ave in Kansas City, Missouri. We have been in business now for three and a half years but I have been cooking from home for many years before we opened. Our menu consists of authentic West African cuisines from the heart of West Africa. Cooking has always been my passion and I wanted to bring a taste of my culture to Kansas City. I first started cooking from home and posting my pictures online for family and friends. I began shipping due to increased demand. A few years later with hard work and determination, I opened the doors to Fannie’s West African Cuisine in April of 2018.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
If you know anyone that owns a restaurant, they will tell you it is not an easy task. It took me 2 1/2 years to do renovations due to no capital. The banks wouldn’t give me a loan so I had to work two jobs and cut back on a lot to make my dream a reality. From constantly prepping, cooking, and cleaning to shopping; making sure I have all the right ingredients (not to mention being a single mom of three) but the hardest part about the business is finding honest and reliable help. Many times I was by myself because I couldn’t afford to pay staff. I am a woman of persistence and faith, I don’t give up easily. I always fight for what I want and I believe with hard work and determination, you can achieve anything.

Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Fannie’s West African Cuisine?
We are authentic West African cuisine that embraces the West African lifestyle. Our menu is designed to reflect ethnic, cultural, and traditional themes. Our dishes are tasty, flavorful and freshly prepared. We sell unique products such as Fufu, Cassava Leaf and Attieke’ that you can only find here at Fannies.

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
I would say I am an optimistic person and always have been since I was a child. Growing up, I was curious and visionary. My story started back in Liberia during the Civil War. Losing everything and starting all over, I grew up very poor living hand to mouth. I was raised by my grandmother who was my first inspiration. She taught me to never give up and that anything is possible with faith. Watching her make something out of nothing just to make sure we had food to eat everyday grew my passion for food.

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Image Credits

Sara Clance Photography

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