4 West African foodies pushing their cuisine beyond borders
“African food: the next gastronomic trend?” The BBC asked this question last year in a piece that investigates the wider appeal of African food among populations that are not African. Foods from countries such as Morocco, Ethiopia, and Eritrea have gained a bit of popularity. On the other hand however, West African foods are rarely enjoyed by people who are not from that region. In 2014, British chef Jamie Oliver’s attempt at West African staple jollof rice was met with fierce criticism. Now, a growing number of African foodies are seeking to popularise their foods for non-African audiences on their own terms.
Fafa Gilbert, the woman behind Ndudu, is all about creating dishes that are a fusion of African and Western. Particularly focused on healthy foods, Gilbert has her own cooking show and also hosts cookery classes.
The Groundnut Boys are Duval Timothy, Folayemi Brown, and Jacob Fodio Todd, who in 2011 opened The Groundnut, an initiative involving pop-up restaurant and dinner residency based in South London. The three chefs are all of African and European heritage which they explore in the foods they create
Thalmus Hare grew up in a family that owned a restaurant. He took his own passion for cooking further with LIBFOOD, a delivery service for gourmet Liberian cuisine anywhere in the United States. It is as simple as scheduling your order, choosing from a selection of signature foods, side dishes, and sweets, and then having it delivered.
Brooklyn-based Senegalese chef, restaurateur and cookbook author Pierre Thiam is renowned for his modern take on traditional Senegalese food. His cookbook “Modern Senegalese Recipes: From the Source to the Bowl” has received good reviews and features dishes that are a fusion of African, European, and Asian cuisines.
We don’t know if African specialties will be the next major food trend, but we do know that a lot of people are missing out.
Do African cuisines need to be popularised among Western, non-African audiences? Let us know your thoughts by leaving a comment below or by reaching me on Twitter @rafeeeeta