"We serve a wide selection of local
food like pap, rice, Jollof, braai meat
and even fish and sausage.
A lot of my new customers are
locals, and they seem to really enjoy
the food. The people love it because
(West African food) is good food. People
always come back for more," she says.
Not wanting to give away her cooking
secrets, the Malian restaurateur
says West African food is "different
because we make it differently".
"Our food is very different and it's
because of our spices. It's not the same
as (other styles of cooking)," she adds.
On the flip side, SA Top Chef judge
and author of Dijo, Lesego Semenya,
disagrees on the West African social
food trend on South African plates.
"I actually did a Pan-African cooking
class two months ago. West African
food, it's not for South Africans, hey.
I've realised that Jollof rice and all the
West African dishes, they do more
and they cook
food until it's dead," he says.
Semenya says it may take a while
for South African palates to adjust to this style of cooking.
"South African palates aren't used
to that type of cuisine, although we're trying to the more we travel. Most of the time when we cook that type of cuisine it's
for people who are tourists here or West Africans themselves.
"I've tried myself to get South Africans
into a new type of cuisine, but we have this mentality – we need to ease into it, little by little – so not a full course
meal, maybe one dish.
just Jollof rice or plantains, something people will recognise on the plate."
Semenya concludes: "Getting the
big stores involved as well will help, because if people see the ingredients in the store then they are more interested in cooking with it."