Rachel Massaquoi was born and raised in the rural areas of Sierra Leone. Growing up in a large traditional family, where cooking was one of the main responsibilities of the women in the household, she developed an early interest in this art. By watching her mother and several female relatives skillfully prepare meals, she keenly learned the traditional methods of cooking Sierra Leonean foods. As an adult, she travelled throughout the region, often teaming up with other women, and discovered how to cook other West African foods. In the United Kingdom, the United States, Kenya, and Canada, she perfected – after many trials and tastings – the use of West African recipes to prepare non-traditional West African vegetables, like spinach, collard green, and Swiss chard.