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Events & Festivals

Flavors of West Africa Pop-up by Chef Serigne Mbaye

Melanie Wong | Jan 5, 202011:17 PM    

In March I joined friends for a pop-up dinner by Senegalese chef, Serigne Mbaye, in San Francisco. More about him here, https://www.eater.com/young-guns-risi... . At the time he was working at Atelier Crenn, and Chef Crenn was among the diners at this event as well.

Until this evening, I'd never heard of Fonio, the ancient miracle grain of Senegal. But once exposed, I started hearing more about it, including this presentation at Slow Food Nations in July, https://www.theepochtimes.com/is-foni... . High in protein and easy to cultivate, fonio has been compared culinarily to quinoa or millet. At this pop-up dinner, fonio appeared in the salad course, as a side of grain with the fish main course, and in the dessert. As with other grains, its intrinsic flavor tended to get buried in the style of preparation. I couldn't really tell you what fonio actually tastes like. But now it's on my radar and I'll be paying attention to opportunities to try it again in restaurants or cook with it at home.

Hors d'oeuveres: Shrimp, pickled vegetables and remoulade and Sweet plantains, avocado and tamarind jus

Akara: Black eyed pea fritters, tender greens, red pepper coulis, palm oil

Fonio salad: Grapefruit, beets, honey vinaigrette

Yassa: Black cod, fonio, asparagus, carrots, onion, mustard sauce, crispy leeks

Thiakry dessert: Millet/fonio couscous, seasonal fruit, lemon curd, raisins, coconut sauce

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