Whether it’s bringing foraging to the forefront of the culinary landscape or finding ways to make familiar flavors stand out, chefs across Africa are pushing the envelope when it comes to food. Meet three African chefs who are taking cuisine on the continent to new heights
Heritage food in South Africa
South African chef and restauranteur Chris Erasmus believes that when it comes to food the process is just as important as the outcome.”You need to sometimes crack the whip but you need to release it, immediately and, build on a positive energy,” he told CNN.”I really believe in that, what you put into your food is what the customer will experience. So, if it’s angry or sad, it’s what you gonna taste. There needs to be happiness.”Play VideoChef Chris Erasmus heads out to the forest and fields to find ingredientsErasmus specialises in the fine art of foraging and heritage food, His philosophy of “being conscious” evident not only in the menu at his award- winning restaurant ‘Foliage,’ but in how he runs it.”We are supposed to set an example when it comes to food so let’s do it the right way,” he said. “Let’s use the right suppliers, let’s treat animals correctly, let’s support the right people.””As a chef in South Africa, what I would like to see and leave behind, is that people think before they use anything, think before they import anything. Walk around your restaurant and see what’s outside before you order something, see what’s around you.
Serving up style in Lagos
In Lagos Gbubemi Fregene also know as Chef Fregz is determined to make Nigeria the continent’s number one food destination.”To describe the culinary scene in Nigeria right now, it’s bubbling,” he told CNN. “It’s that where water’s boiling.”After studying at one of the top culinary schools in the world, Le Cordon Blu in Paris, Fregene moved back to Nigeria and now he’s one of the most sought after chefs in the country.Play VideoGbubemi Fregene wants to put Lagos on the map as a food destination in AfricaHis speciality is combining western ingredients with traditional African dishes which has proved a big hit, but his dream is to take Nigerian cuisine global.”Why can’t our food look as good as a Michelin star dish in a London restaurant? Why can’t it be a bunch of us to make it look good?””As Nigerians we have known our stories for a very long time. I want to travel the world and understand my ingredients enough, put it on the plate in a way that they appreciate it and be like ‘Wow, we never knew African food would come this far.'”
Ditching food conventions in Ghana
Selassie Atadika wants to change the way you eat.Through her new movement: the nomadic dining experience, she encourages diners to ditch restaurants and move meals outside. Atadika worked across Africa with the UN for different agencies, her humanitarian work further proved to her how food ties communities together.”Within Africa, I met so many different people in different contexts but food was what brought us all together…” she continued.Play VideoSelassi Atadika hopes to reignite the bond of eating togetherAtadika hopes that through nomadic dining she will encourage people to preserve the bond of coming together to eat.”We have these nomadic dinners where people who don’t know each other sit together, talk and usually by the end of the night are exchanging business cards or phone numbers,” she said.”Everything has become so electronic and it’s really… how do we just slow down a little bit and enjoy where we are?”