Olamide Oladiran always knew she could cook, but she never wanted to cook at home because her sisters and mother cooked for her most times. It wasn’t until she started a food delivery business that her sisters found out she could cook.
Oladiran, a junior student majoring in criminology and criminal justice and psychology at the University of Maryland, owns a food delivery business called Made By Mide. Her business started last September because she was between jobs and looking for another way to make extra money, she said.
After moving into an apartment in Courtyards and cooking for her friends, they suggested she start a cooking business. Though she was hesitant at first, she figured she “might as well start,” she said.
“Growing up, my mom was a caterer and so … me and my sisters, we used to help her [with] cooking and stuff. I saw how stressful it was, how busy she was with cooking and everything,” Oladiran said. “So I was like, is that really the life that I want for myself?”
When she first started her business, she thought her main audience would be students at this university, but it soon expanded to other schools as well. Her sisters were the main contributors to her business’ growth by sharing Made By Mide’s Instagram page.
Having people from other schools in the area want to try her food was really awesome to see, Oladiran said.
To order from Made By Mide, customers can look at her business’ Instagram page to see the weekly menu and direct message her with their order by Wednesday. At the time of the order, customers also put a $5 down payment so Oladiran can buy the groceries for the orders. Then, on Saturdays, she cooks the food and sets up pick-ups for her customers.
For Ayana Moses, one of Made By Mide’s customers, picking up her order is pretty seamless since Oladiran has a variety of times available.
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Moses met Oladiran through a friend and then found Made By Mide through her Instagram page. She enjoys ordering from her because it’s really easy to pick up the food, and it feels “like a treat” sometimes because it’s not available all the time.
Although she has tried almost everything on the menu, her favorite dishes are the jerk chicken tacos and the seafood macaroni and cheese because they’re seasoned well and “everything just tastes so good,” the junior public health science major said.
The jerk chicken tacos are a fan favorite among many customers. Jaden Gary, a junior information science and systems major at Morgan State University, also enjoys that dish the most.
“I’m Jamaican myself, so I know what good jerk chicken tastes like, and I would say hers is pretty good,” Gary said.
Gary discovered Oladiran’s business through her Instagram page after seeing some people post about it. He decided that next time he was in the area, he would try her food, he said.
He finds that Oladiran puts her heart into her food and has certain qualities that are necessary to have for a food business, he said.
“I hope she keeps doing her thing. Next time I come around there, and she’s selling, I’ll try some of her food because it was really good, whatever it may be,” Gary said.
Another customer, Tavon Mitchell, appreciates Oladiran’s care for her customers and how she makes ordering her food so personal, he said.
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“It’s more than just about her making money … even more than about her loving cooking,” the junior kinesiology major said. “Everything she puts out there is really about the customer.”
Mitchell has seen how Oladiran has done catering events for some of her customers as well as other special accommodations.
Although Oladiran finds it rewarding to know that she’s been able to start a business and seeing people look forward to order from her, it can be difficult sometimes because she is still a student.
“I mainly cook on Saturdays, and so by the time I’m done cooking, I’ll probably have piles of homework to do, but I just can’t do it. I’m so tired at the end of the day,” she said.
It’s also hard to find time for her to cook for herself or even enjoy the food she’s cooking because when she cooks a certain type of food all day, she won’t want to eat that food because she’s been so surrounded by it, Oladiran said.
Despite these challenges, it’s worth it in the end for Oladiran, and she enjoys the ability to accomplish something like running a business.
Oladiran wants to cater her business to college students by providing cheap and affordable plates.
“I’ve been in that area where I didn’t want diner food but I also only had $10 in my account,” she said. “So I really tried to make sure that it’s something accessible for everyone.”