Fulani cuisine and a nomadic chef: why African fonio could revolutionize world food?

Fatmata Binta burned her hands when she was five years old.

Fulani cuisine and a nomadic chef: why African fonio could revolutionize world food?

Fatmata Binta burned her hands when she was five years old. The curiosity about the kitchen of that girl born in Sierra Leone became a passion despite the uneventful discovery of her in an oil cauldron, along with her grandmother, within the largest nomadic tribe in the world: the Fulani. . More than 20 million people make up this community of shepherds to which this chef -one of the great emerging figures in the latest edition of The Best Chef- devotes herself body and soul to making it known through a restaurant, Fulani Test Kitchen, in Accra (Ghana), and a foundation that values ​​the culinary legacy of its people.

During her participation in Féminas 2022, the international congress on Gastronomy, Women and the Rural Environment

Binta highlighted the crucial role that an indigenous cereal, fonio, can play in the world's diet. "You don't need a lot of water to grow it, it's a healthy food and it's also gluten-free." The chef was forced to flee her native country due to the civil war. "There were a lot of us and my grandmother couldn't feed us all, so she had to look for solutions and she found them in fonio, a cereal that was very healthy, that fed us and that was easy to grow."

Hugging your hands didn't stop your passion for cooking.

That experience confirmed my deep love for food and is today a metaphor for the resilience of Fulani cuisine.

What is Fulani cuisine?

Minimalism, limited ingredients, tradition, culture... Fulani cuisine is sustainability and one of the best approaches the world needs right now.

What ingredient is essential for her?

Kola nut, shea butter, corn, fonio... Especially the kola nut called 'Goro' in the Fulani tribe. We say, "He who brings kola nuts brings peace."

Almost like a sacred object, right?

It is a sacred offering during prayers, ancestor veneration, and at important life events such as weddings, funerals, and naming ceremonies. African customs and traditions.

Something you take great care of in your restaurant...

The way you share your story can make a difference.

You were a television presenter, you graduated in International Relations in Sierra Leone and even lived in Madrid... What remained of your time in Spain in you or in your kitchen?

Living in Spain was an interesting experience. In Madrid, while I was studying, I discovered that I wanted to be a professional cook. I try to keep the technique and ingredients very authentic, but when I cook for friends I draw inspiration from all my travels.

And, conversely, what can Africa leave to the world?

African food – fonio, for example – is the future and could reshape the food system. We have so many superfoods and ways to cook...

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