It was an incredible evening of African cuisine and ingredients at Bryanston’s Les Créatifs Restaurant, when the Ghana-based Fulani Chef Fatmata Binta joined Chef Wandile Mabaso in the kitchen for a series of evenings which would see the meeting of South and West African cooking.
Chef Binta is a culinary tour-de-force who has been making waves with her recreation and reinterpretation of the cuisine of her nomadic Fulani people of the Sahel. In line with her heritage, her dining concept is nomadic too.
Called Dine on a Mat, she traverses the globe taking the unique cuisines and introducing them to the world through pop-ups and collaborations with some of the best international chefs. While doing so, she’s also been championing the West African grain fonio – a nearly lost millet which she uses generously in her cooking. “It makes no sense that, in African supermarkets, we have rice grown in Asia on the shelves, but not fonio which is grown locally,” she says.
In addition, her foundation, the Fulani Kitchen Foundation, sees the chef work towards empowering Fulani women in Ghana and through West Africa. A large part of the foundation’s work focusses on educating and enabling women to farm fonio, providing them with not only knowledge but the resources to grow and properly process the grain.
It’s this work which has seen the talented chef awarded with the Basque Culinary World Prize 2022 – awarded to chefs who are transforming society through food, as well as working with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation to launch their Global Chefs Challenge. Part of the UN’s
Declaration of 2023 as the International Year of Millets is to promote the grain’s cultivation.
In the kitchen, she joined Les Créatifs chef and owner, Wandile Mabaso, for the collaboration. The South African chef, who has trained under the likes of Alain Ducasse, celebrates South African ingredients through his expression of fine French haute cuisine. Together, the two chefs served up a stellar multi-course dinner which merged the flavours and ingredients of South and West Africa.
The menu began with “Treasures of the Indian Ocean” – a dish of Motola river langoustine and Mozambican squid, served with a langoustine and moringa mousse, a plantain and calamari confit and a Cape Malay langoustine jus.
Next was the warm and hearty “Fulani Bantu Lamb Potjie” – an indlubu bean ragout with lamb riblets topped with acoconut and atchar espuma, along with a 48-hour lamb broth and a side of a West African bean pudding, which was followed by the “Afrique Modern”, a main course of Wagyu beef with suya spice and a yaji and coriander crust, finished with an imphepho-smoked beef jus.
The glorious evening came to a close with “South Western”, a very clever dessert which showcased African super foods the likes of baobab, cassava, moringa and hibiscus, served in a host of different textures.
The dinner was served in front of an impressive multi-medium artwork by South African Artist Azael Langa – an African riff on the last supper – and was a true celebration of Africa’s creativity, ingenuity and talent. The collaboration, which took place over two evenings, forms part of the global Amex for Foodies series which sees American Express curate exclusive culinary experience with world-renowned chefs and mixologists.
This marks the second collaboration between the two chefs, with both hoping to work on more together going forward.