Segun Akinwoleola, founder, The Gym Kitchen

Name: Segun Akinwoleola

Job title: Founder

Company: The Gym Kitchen 

What was your first job? My first proper job was as a sales assistant at Clarks. I was 16 riding around on my BMX in Ilford handing out CVs, the old-fashioned way.

What’s been your worst job interview? I wouldn’t say worst but definitely hilarious. The interviewer had a two-week-old baby, but had issues with childcare. He had no choice but to bring the baby to work, so I was interviewed in a room with two guys and the baby girl.

I was more nervous the baby would cry if I didn’t answer the questions right. Got the job in the end so it worked out!

What was the first music single you bought? I can’t remember exactly but I’m sure it had to be one of 50 Cent’s songs.

Likely to have been ‘In Da Club’, what a banger.

“I’m still one of the only black people in a lot of rooms and there are still very few black-owned brands sold in major supermarkets”

How do you describe your job to your friends? I create healthy food sold in the major supermarkets. Makes me sound like a superhero but I’m not.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? Our customers have longed for healthy, convenient, affordable and most importantly tasty food. Seeing their excitement and reactions, but also their heath success stories, make it so worthwhile.

What is the least rewarding part? We are in an extremely tough environment now with inflation and cost of living, so there are so many challenges we are facing as an industry.

Still feels crazy that we launched in 2020 and three months later it was Covid. We’ve definitely been on a ride.

The Gym Kitchen lifestyle shot singapore style noodles

What is your motto in life? If at first you don’t succeed try, try, try again!

If you were allowed one dream perk, what would it be? Fly anywhere. I love travelling.

Do you have any phobias? Snakes. Even the thought of them makes me feel sick.

If you could change one thing in grocery, what would it be? Diversity is the buzzword now, but to me it means everything.

I’m still one of the only black people in a lot of rooms and there are still very few black-owned brands sold in major supermarkets. I love the saying great minds think differently as this is what diversity stands for.

What luxury would you have on a desert island? Some gym equipment, please.

What animal most reflects your personality? I’m not too sure, but I’d say a tiger – they are street smart.

What’s your favourite film and why? The Godfather, because it’s the greatest movie ever made.

What has been the most embarrassing moment in your life? I’ve got so many, but one must be getting the train from Harrow to Euston then walking to work in a suit but not realising I had my Afro comb stuck in my hair.

I was wondering why people were staring at me.

Which celebrity would you most like to work with and why? Jay-Z seems like a cool and super smart guy. Fantastic rapper but also has a great business mind. I’d love to learn from him.

What would your death row meal be? Jollof rice, gizdodo, plantain, stew chicken, side of salad and a Nigerian Fanta.

If it’s my last one, it’s going to be big and it’s going to be Nigerian!

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