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West Africa’s Michelin-starred cuisine wows London

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London’s culinary scene is being taken by storm by West African cuisine as two restaurants, Akoko and Chishuru, have recently been awarded the prestigious Michelin star.

Akoko, in central London, stands out with its tender, buttery, and spicy cow tongue dish that is served with a creamy bone marrow emulsion. The chef, Ayo Adeyemi, is thrilled about this achievement. Following closely is Chishuru, owned by Nigerian self-taught chef Adejoké Bakare, also awarded a Michelin star for her traditional West African cooking.

The history of African cuisine – particularly the lack of representation at the fine dining level – has long been criticized, but things seem to be changing.

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The UK’s Michelin chief inspector has emphasized that they are now focused on selecting the best food regardless of category, leading to more diversity in London’s fine dining scene.

This broader perspective has allowed West African cuisine to capture Michelin’s palate and attention, exemplified by Akoko’s and Chishuru’s menus which include classic West African dishes like jollof rice, egusi soup, and moi moi.

This shift towards recognizing African cuisine at the fine dining level is reflected not only in the UK but also in Paris where MoSuke, a restaurant with mainly West African menus, was awarded a Michelin star in 2020. This marks significant progress and change in the culinary landscape, providing a platform for the world to explore the rich and diverse flavors of West African cuisine.

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Ayo Adeyemi attributes this growing interest in West African food to the region’s global cultural domination, similar to the rise of Afrobeats.

For him, it’s about the experience of culture through food, taking diners on a culinary expedition through Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and The Gambia. This recognition of West African cuisine has sparked a renewed sense of pride and a desire for more representation in the culinary world.

In France, Georgiana Viou, a chef from Benin, is celebrating the success of her restaurant Rouge, which received a Michelin star last year. Her commitment to changing mentalities about African food is evident in her menu’s Mediterranean influence with a Beninois touch. This reaffirms the growing diversity in the culinary world, signaling a strong signal of what Africa has to offer.

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The achievements of Akoko, Chishuru, and Rouge in receiving Michelin stars not only symbolize recognition for West African cuisine but also highlight the importance of heritage and culture in culinary arts. This shift paves the way for a brighter, more inclusive future, marked by the celebration and appreciation of diverse culinary traditions.

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Dickson Ofori Siaw
Dickson Ofori Siawhttp://ighanaian.com/journalist/dickson
Dickson Ofori Siaw is an experienced Ghanaian journalist who has worked with credible news outlets, including Ghanafuo.com where he serves as the Head of Content and Editor-at-Large. He also serves as the Editor at iGhanaian.com
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