African cuisine, plural, takes up space in a fine kitchen – Paladar

Assine Estadão

It’s the start of a new chapter for African cuisine – just like that, in the plural. Until just over a year ago, there was no black person in 100 Best chef in the world since Best Chef Awards It was released in 2017.

Selassie Atadeka, head of the Bedouin restaurant Midunu in Accra, Ghana, was the first and only African to feature in the rankings in 2020. Her work in promotion New African Kitchen, which has native plants and ancestral beans like heroes Excellent food, caught the attention of all eyes before looking at any continent other than Africa.

Chef Selassie Atadika, Head of Bedouin Restaurant Meduno in Accra, Ghana Photo: personal archive

Atadeka said in an interview with palate. “Global cuisine needs to go above and beyond when it comes to diversity, inclusion and exposure.”

This year, the scenario is already looking different. Along with Atadeka, who continued in the rankings in 2021, 29-year-old Congolese Deauville Malunga entered the list at 94th with Meza Malunga and Afro Fusion, in Kigali, Rwanda.

Malian Mory Sacko, of youth and starring Mosuke, in Paris, also appeared in the top 100 for the first time, at number 84. The title of “Rising Star” was awarded to Fatimata Binta of Sierra Leone. The chef is the creator of the Fulani Kitchen Project, which aims to promote the traditional recipes of West Africa’s largest nomadic tribe.

On the table.  Cooked and smoked pears with rooibos, ginger and amarola cream from Meduno restaurant

On the table. Cooked and smoked pears with rooibos, ginger and amarola cream from Meduno restaurant Photo: personal group

With all of these accomplishments, big change seems to be taking shape. “We will discover the effects of slavery, colonialism, economic exclusion, and much more,” notes Atadeka. Prior to adopting cooking as a profession and establishing herself as one of the faces who promoted African culinary traditions, the Ghanaian worked for a decade at the United Nations on humanitarian missions. He traveled through more than 40 of the 54 countries that make up his continent and realized that it was possible to change the way people see a people and a history of centuries of pain by reintroducing traditional dishes in the mold of fine cuisine.

The facade of the Biyouz Gastronomia Africana restaurant in downtown São Paulo

The facade of the Biyouz Gastronomia Africana restaurant in downtown São Paulo Photo: Thiago Queiroz / Estadao

If you ever get the chance to wake up in any city in Ghana, the most classic breakfast there is Waakye (read “Waachai”). The base is usually made with basmati rice, beans, and red sorghum leaves, all cooked together – giving the dish a reddish colour.

At street fairs, it is served by spoons on a banana leaf with boiled eggs, noodles and chito, the typical pepper sauce of the country. At her restaurant, Selassie Atadeka serves waki in small cubes lightly sprinkled with cassava flour, along with simple pasta, chito and hard-boiled quail eggs. “I want to celebrate and preserve African culinary heritage,” says the chef. “Every meal tells the story of the places I’ve visited and the people I’ve met.”

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African cuisine in Brazil

Here, Melanito Biyouha was doing a similar job of cultural recovery. He was born in Cameroon, Central Africa, arrived in Brazil in 2003, and four years later, arrived in Brazil Pioneering with the opening of the “Bose” restaurant for African gastronomy, in the center of São Paulo, with 36 seats. Today, it has a second, larger unit to receive up to 100 people in Consolação.

 Chef Milanito Bioha at Bios African Restaurant in Sao Paulo

Chef Milanito Bioha at Bios African Restaurant in Sao Paulo Photo: Gabriella Bello/Estadao

If at first he served only typical dishes from his country of origin, then gradually he began to include classic dishes from other African countries, such as Angola and Congo, in the menu. Although I don’t own a copy of Waakye, it’s worth a try Cameroonian cookie: Black-eyed bean cake cooked on banana leaf in palm oil and served with a mixture of stewed peas and cooked yam (BRL 38).

On Biyouha’s side, there is no shortage of desire to take Biyou’z to the level of “upscale cuisine”. “The problem is that the African culture in Brazil is not very well known. We know many restaurants from other countries, but we hardly see African restaurants here,” says the chef. His plan is that in the near future, in addition to investing more in the house, he can open a culinary school in São Paulo focusing on techniques and traditions from African countries.

Cameroonian koki: black-eyed bean cake cooked on banana leaf in palm oil and served with a mixture of sauteed peas and cooked potatoes.

Cameroonian koki: black-eyed bean cake cooked on banana leaf in palm oil and served with a mixture of sauteed peas and cooked potatoes. Photo: Thiago Queiroz / Estadao

For this, there must be demand. But it’s hard to have a desire to know something when you’re not talking about it en masse. Aside from the dishes and ingredients that have become African heritage since the time of slavery, from Feijoada to Mukika and Akaragi, not much is known about contemporary African cuisine.

We know the taste of palm oil, yam puree and chicken soup with okra, but do we know the taste of food from countries like Angola, Nigeria, Senegal and Benin? The problem starts when we try to fit the culture of 54 countries into one bowlSingular: African cuisine.

“We have a homogenizing perspective, we think everything is one thing. We tie something very complex and diverse, which are stories of an entire continent, and that ends up being a reflection on the way Brazil looks at building its cuisine,” says Lawrence Alves, historian and physician at Nutrition, food and health.

We have a plate of shrimp with banana, beef, ground shrimp and peanut butter, cooked in boldo paper.

We have a plate of shrimp with banana, beef, ground shrimp and peanut butter, cooked in boldo paper. Photo: Thiago Queiroz / Estadao

The first step in changing this idea is to reshape the view we have about Africa. “You would think that African cuisine is a poor thing because of all the references to poverty that end up imbuing the imagination with regard to the continent, which is poverty, conflict and disease. But these are not characteristics that are inherent in Africa, they are the consequences of the colonization processes that the whole region has suffered,” he said. The historian points out.

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The second step is eating. Approach the flavors and combinations that intertwine with what we call Brazilian food, which is very much of African descent.

“Note that the ingredients are similar. You can taste a different dish [africano] And you’ll notice that it really satisfies palates, because the main flavors actually come from the centuries-old ingredients that are incorporated here,” he says. Aline Araujo, better known by her nickname – Chermoula’s Gastronomy, who has shared her time as a researcher in the cuisine of Aphrodiaspora ancestors throughout the Americas for more than 15 years, a chef at Chermoula Culinária and a teacher in Gastromotiva.

Aline Chermoly, 36, is dedicated to the cuisine of the African diaspora in the Americas.

Aline Chermoly, 36, is dedicated to the cuisine of the African diaspora in the Americas. Photo: Felipe Rao/Estadão

The difference between African and Brazilian cuisine is the space that animal protein takes up on the table. “We organize our plate with meat for reference, but the meat does not appear in this main way,” explains Alves. In general, the fried sauce with vegetables and leaves (which may or may not contain meat) gives the dish its name.

The historian adds: “This sauce has a lot of flavor and it will be accompanied by a water base rich in some kind of flour or starch and it will turn into a dough, which will stick and act as an accompaniment.” An example is the muamba chicken, from Angola, where the stew is served with muamba corn or manioc.

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Across the ocean in London, Nokuthula Majozi, better known as Nokx, leads the production of classic pies alongside British chef Callum Franklin at the five-star Rosewood London. In 2021, sous chef was recognized as one of the 100 most influential women in hospitality in the UK.

Nokuthula Majozi leads the production of classic pies alongside British Chef Callum Franklin at the 5-star Rosewood London

Nokuthula Majozi leads the production of classic pies alongside British Chef Callum Franklin at the 5-star Rosewood London Pictured: John Carey

Over the next five years, her goal was to return to her native South Africa and enhance the lives of the chefs who live behind the scenes. Maguzi said, “I was never inspired by a black chef because there wasn’t a single black chef 15 years ago, when I started in gastronomy. But things are changing and I’m on a mission to contribute to the process.” palate.

Deauville Malunga, the Congolese who emerged as one of the top 100 chefs in 2021, also returned to Africa in 2016 after a long spell abroad – his youth spent in Germany (where he started his career as a chef) and honed his culinary skills in France. He chose Rwanda, a country bordering the Democratic Republic of the Congo, to create his cuisine, which he called Afro Fusion.

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“It is a bridge between traditional African cuisine and contemporary cuisine, with German and French influences,” explains the chef. But, in addition to Meza Malonga, another project was responsible for placing it among the Next 50, a list of the people who shape the future of gastronomy, from Top 50 Restaurants This year: Chefs in Africa. Malonga created the platform in 2016 to bring together chefs from all countries on the African continent, garnered support from UNESCO and has already boosted the careers of more than four thousand professionals.

For Aline Sharmoly, such movements are essential to salvaging black identity and honoring their history. “It’s a new path for everyone away from this ancient African knowledge. Therefore, setting these kitchens within the standard of fine cuisine also means recognizing their value.”

African diaspora

The term refers to the forced migration of an estimated 11 million people from the African continent to the Americas between the 16th and 18th centuries of the slave trade.

to know more

– Quito: Stories and Recipes from Africa in Shaping Brazilian Kitchens by Raúl Lodi. 184 p. , 2019 Editora Senac São Paulo.

Feeding the City, Richard Graham. 464 p. 2013, Companhia das Letras.

service

Where to taste African cuisine in São Paulo

Buse African Restaurant

Alameda Barão de Limeira, 19, Campos Elíseos. 3221-6806. 12 hours / 23 hours.

Fernando de Albuquerque, 95, sympathizers. 12 hours / 22 hours.

What do you prove: Ndolé, a shrimp dish made of peanut butter cooked with boldo leaves, ground shrimp, cooked plantain and braised beef.

The art of cooking Sharmola

Lunch and dinner at home. 97241-3169. www.chermoula.com.br

What do you prove: Muamba de Galena, traditional from Angola. The soup is made of okra, pumpkin, garlic, onion, and gindongo (hot pepper) and served with mushrooms, mashed corn, or cassava.

Mama Africa is good food

Rua Kantagalo, 230, Tatuabi. 3582-7438. 12:00 / 22:00 (Saturday, 12:00 / 17:30, 19:00 / 22:30; Sunday and holidays, 12:00 / 16:00).

What do you prove: Injera, a type of crepe made from teff grains, is typical of Ethiopia. The dough is fermented for two to three days in water, then roasted on a plate and served with side dishes in dough, legumes, vegetables and meat.

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About the Author: Camelia Kirk

"Friendly zombie guru. Avid pop culture scholar. Freelance travel geek. Wannabe troublemaker. Coffee specialist."

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