Good Food, Inspiring Stories, and Business Creation – By Daniela Paiva De Araujo


Hello! Welcome to Cooknst table. I am Daniela, the founder of Cooknst, a space for creative food experiences that speak to the heart. We connect skilful cooks with curious people.

Cooknst is short for Cooking New Stories. The most challenging chapter of my life is happening right now, as an entrepreneur and owner of this company. This means in many ways to be a constant ‘doer’, a seller and a dreamer.

By the way, are you in London 1st July? I will get on to that in a bit, but I already would like to invite you to experience Cooknst at a special evening called Summer of Freedom, the next in our mixed session series. This will be a themed night with a mix of exciting music, inspirational food and beautiful art for an interesting crowd.

The dinner at the 1st edition of the Mixed Sessions, called Carnival Extravaganza. Main dish was moqueca, a spicy fish stew
The dinner at the 1st edition of the Mixed Sessions, called Carnival Extravaganza. Main dish was moqueca, a spicy fish stew…
Caipirinha at the Carnival Extravaganza
…served with Caipirinha’s of course!

But first, allow me to give you a snapshot of my story. I am part of the first cohort of graduates from the MSc Enterprise and Business Creation (EBC) class, 2015/2016 at UEA.

As a journalist passionate about art, culture, gastronomy, creativity, innovation, freedom, entrepreneurship and stories, I have longed to combine these ingredients to make a difference in people’s lives. When I came across  EBC I had just begun to put together with two of my most creative, a bit crazy and foodie best friends, the recipe for Cooknst. It felt like one of those ‘being at the right place, at the right time’ kind of moment. It’s overwhelming to realise how much further Cooknst has gone. The EBC course gave structure and a framework with references and practice for every complex and simple part of what started as an idea inspired by personal social gatherings.

Hosting the Carnival Extravaganza. Lots of conversation and stories going on
Hosting the Carnival Extravaganza. Lots of conversation and stories being shared.

As it is said that investors put money into the people, not the business, I also received a lot of training to become a business owner. The course touched crucial points such as confidence, pitching and making the most of each opportunity to network. Another relevant aspect was the diversity of the group on background, nationality, age, profession and life story. I learned a lot from my colleagues by exchanging information, as well as sharing ideas, projects and visions.

To get out of the course with a Business Plan is one step into reality. It takes you into another level to answer ‘yes, I do have in fact a Business Plan’ straight away. I had support and motivation through the journey from my lecturers, who always pushed me further, helping me win awards such as the Santander Enterprise ‘Try it’ (£500) and ‘Grow it’ (£7500). Taking on opportunities available and working closely to Finbarr Carter (UEA Enterprise Development Officer) and the many creative and aspiring entrepreneurs seeding and growing around The Enterprise Centre has also been intensive, collaborative and rewarding ongoing process. A fantastic achievement that makes me very proud was UEA’s endorsement for the Tier 1 visa. It was the last piece of the puzzle pointing out the right direction.

The belgian trio Les Silvers, stars of the Flower Power edition, #2 of the Mixed Sessions
Daniela with the Belgian trio ‘Les Silvers’, stars of ‘the Flower Power’ session, the 2nd of our Mixed Sessions.

After completing the course, I stayed in Norwich to pursue the early stages of the business with as much help from UEA as I could get. Again, The Enterprise Centre has been very supportive on guidance, providing me with the tools and opportunities to overcome the challenges. I also keep in touch with my former lecturers as much as I can. It is a rollercoaster every day, and some days their energy and effort are the strength that I need to keep going with the same enthusiasm.

Collaboration is key! We invite partners around the idea of joining forces to bring our passion further and make difference with what we believe.
Collaboration is still key! At Cooknst we work with various partners, joining forces to bring our passion further and make difference with what we believe.

Cooknst was launched last November as a blog to spread the philosophy and invite people to share their own personal stories through the love of cooking and eating together. In the near future, it will be a digital platform to connect passionate cooks providing creative experiences and crafted products with a clientele eager for authentic food and incredible moments.

Soft samba & carnival
Soft Samba at the Carnival Extravaganza

Finally, more about Summer of Freedom: this is the third edition of a project called Mixed Sessions, which takes place at the gorgeous Baldwin Gallery, in Blackheath. The Mixed Sessions are a blend of dinner, live music and art. The kitchen is conducted by Cooknst hosts, passionate about food and prepared to make unforgettable occasions. We also bring exciting lovingly crafted products.

summer of edit3 LOW RES no price

For this edition, we were inspired by Freedom of Movement, Nina Miranda’s new album. She is a fabulous Brazilian-British singer and she will be performing live on the night. The menu, drinks, treats and every detail were carefully designed to be relevant to this experience.

So, come to the Summer of Freedom, follow our Social Media Channels, subscribe our newsletter on the website…

Grab a seat, feel at home and join us.


Instagram- @Cooknst

Twitter- Cooknst_uk

With thanks to Daniela for contributing to the NBS blog. We wish you all the best with Cooknst and the rest of your Mixed Sessions!

To find out more about our MSc Enterprise and Business Creation please see our webpages, or email

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