Middle East

Congolese star chef brings African secrets to the dining table

Congolese chef Dew Vale Maronga learned his technique at one of Europe’s top restaurants, but says his success owes to his grandmothers all over Africa. My grandmother shared the secrets of gastronomy that underpins his famous Afro fusion cuisine.
“I travel to different countries … to learn from my grandmother. Then I got these old recipes and brought them to my lab here and modern with the chef I try to give it a nice touch, “he said.
A 30-year-old woman from Congo Brazzaville travels to 38 of 54 African countries to enjoy the food served at his restaurant in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, in addition to fermentation and other techniques. I brought back the ingredients to add flavor.
The treasures raised during his trip are ubiquitous in Meza Maronga (Swahili for “Malonga’s dining table”). Bottles with small Côte d’Ivoire peppers, Cameroonian pebenuts, and dried Congolese mubinzo caterpillars fill the entire walls of the facility.
Food experts largely ignore the culinary heritage of the continent, and no restaurant on the continent has been awarded a Michelin star.
But thanks to the efforts of chefs like Madeleine Malonga, who co-founded the chef in Africa, that may change quickly — a website dedicated to promoting the rising stars of the region.
“Something is happening in Africa and people want to know more about African food,” he said in an interview with AFP at his restaurant minutes before the dinner rush began.
He emphasized the variety of African cuisine, citing the example of Nigeria. In Nigeria, you can choose from over 20 different dishes a day.
Malonga was born near Brazzaville, the capital of the Republic of the Congo. According to his website, despite losing his parents at an early age, he enjoyed a “very happy childhood” in a close community.
At the age of 13, he moved to Germany, lived with the pastor’s family and later enrolled in Münster’s famous cooking school.
It was perfect.
“I like to eat, I always eat,” he laughed.
“I’m from a family who (comes) loves and celebrates food.”
After graduating, he trained at some of Germany’s top restaurants, including Wolfsburg’s three-star Michelin-starred Aqua, before moving to France to work at the Intercontinental Hotel in Marseille.
Despite his success, he said he couldn’t shake off the feeling that something was “missing.” So he returned to Africa and embarked on a two-year Odyssey across the continent.
There he found the “key” to his new life, he said.
After falling in love with Rwanda, a fertile and hilly area with a warm climate, he opened Mezamaronga in 2020.
Here, he says, he likes to look for ingredients and meet people who grow the aromatic herbs and edible flowers used in cooking.
Restaurants aren’t cheap — the average meal, including drinks, costs around $ 150 per person — but his customers are happy to spend money on the experience of combining traditional African ingredients with modern technology. I’m paying.
On the day AFP visited, the 10-course menu included tuna marinated in sweet potatoes, shrimp with powdered cassava, and the dessert included coffee foam sprinkled with crushed peanuts.
His customers include locals, expatriates and tourists, and the chef uses tweezers to carefully arrange each dish and prepare delicious meals.
Diner Laura Tomini said the experience made her feel “in business class.”
African-born chefs like Pierre Tiam have had a huge impact on the global food scene and popularized Afro fusion in the west, but Malonga wants to raise the profile of the continent’s unique gastronomy.
By 2023, he hopes to “make something big” by opening a new restaurant in the northern countryside of Musanze at the foot of the Virunga Mountains and its famous gorillas.
He hopes that Meza Maronga’s second incarnation will serve as a training ground for the next generation of top African chefs.
In Kigali, Maronga with a soft tone wants to work with 10 young cooks, mainly Rwanda, as well as Burundi, Uganda and Tanzania to make them shine with their openness to their ideas. I admire you.
He says Musanze plans to hire and train more chefs with the goal of changing the reputation of gastronomy on the continent.



http://www.gulf-times.com/story/707439/Congolese-star-chef-brings-secrets-of-Africa-to-th Congolese star chef brings African secrets to the dining table

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