Fulani Kitchen Projects
Founder - Fulani Kitchen Foundation / Executive Chef - Dine on a Mat
Chef Binta is an award-winning chef born and raised in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to first-generation Sierra Leonean Fulanis of Guinean descent. She is a modern-day nomadic chef. Like her ancestors, Binta has traveled to many countries to explore different cooking techniques, ingredients and ways of life. At Fulani Kitchen, she combines her nomadic Fulani roots, classical training and love for rural life and nature to create modern dishes while maintaining the simplicity and authenticity of Fulani culture. By creating a traditional setting, discussing Fulani culture and serving ancient grains, indigenous spices and other exciting West-African ingredients interactively, Binta triggers all senses and takes you to a whole new world.
Food for Sustenance
Her passion for sharing African nomadic cuisine is based on her childhood experiences growing up during the civil war’s darkest period of Sierra Leonean history. She experienced firsthand how food brings people together and pulls down walls. Many times during the conflict, no one could go out to buy food, or food was simply not available. She saw neighbors from different backgrounds contribute, share and prepare meals together to make something out of nothing. The rice they could afford was filled with cockroaches which they had to hand pick, repeatedly wash and blend with bulgur in order to get enough to share with everyone. What she calls creating food for sustenance, learning to create totally new dishes with just a handful of ingredients, and sharing and working together, was not only life-saving skill in a war zone; it has actually made her the chef she is today.
Fulani Cuisine Ambassador
Chef Binta presents herself as an ambassador for Fulani cuisine and she promotes fonio, an ancient super grain traditionally grown and consumed in West Africa. Over the last couple of years, fonio, as a result of its similarity to quinoa, has gained more attention in international culinary circles. And rightfully so- it’s gluten-free, extremely nutritious, requires minimal water to grow, has a shorter life cycle than its similar foods, is more disease and drought resilient and gives back more nutrients to the soil than other staple crops like rice and maize. This little grain might possibly be one of the answers to food security and climate challenges to come. Binta’s menu almost always features this super grain, fonio, as she continues to promote its value to her guests on the mat.
Photo credit: @neveq