BROOKLYN, NY – The NYC African Food Festival, a new, two-day event, opens here August 13, Saturday, at noon and again on Sunday at 8 p.m., offering a variety of African foods plus engagement with African chefs, food experts, plus the chance to learn about a special coffee festival and check out textiles and apparel in the Queens tent, as well as grooving to DJs.
The first of what is expected to be an annual event is co-chaired by Marie-Claude Mendy, chef-owner of Teranga Boston with musician Ishmael Osekre who’ve teamed up this summer to provide tasty and sophisticate foods such as goat curry ravioli, sweet potato blini and trout caviar along with smoked honey and dates, fonio and red palm oil, vegan fare and multi-course feasts.
In addition to Marie-Claude Mendy, other chefs that will be attendance and presenting dishes include Pierre Thiam, Dieuveil Malonga, Zinyusile Khumbula, Coco Reinarhz, Joy Parma, Grace Odogbili, Bada Komlan, Alassane Ba, and Melchizedek Mensah.
Marie-Claude knew from the beginning as she grew up in Dakar, Senegal that she was meant to be a chef, starting at age five and preparing dishes from scratch with fresh, local ingredients, often with her father who encouraged her.
Growing up, she spent time in Paris and London, later coming to Washington, DC where she had a small catering business.
Winding up later in Boston, she fell in love with the city and eventually opened Teranga, introducing residents to Senegalese fare.
Her partner in the festival, Ishmael Osekre, came to New York from Ghana in West Africa and wound up hosting a radio show, and performing at the Apollo Amateur night and numerous colleges in the Northeast. He moved on, receiving a Last Mile foundation scholarship and later, a fellowship at the Harvard Innovation Lab, to curate the first AfriCan Music Festival and become a blogger as well as forming Osekre and The Lucky Bastards, an Afrocentric band.
At the New York City African Food Festival, attendees may sign up for a five course, VIP dinner, visit one of several themed tents such as Shisa (a hookah tent) or sample food from vendors taking part.
Participants will include chefs, food historians, cultural experts, musicians and DJs from across the African continent and African diaspora, who will gather to celebrate the continent’s culinary depth and diversity at this inaugural event
Tickets range from $10 (Early General Admission) to $2,500 (Bottle service + Festival (Ultra): www.eventbrite.com/e/nyc-african-food-festival-tickets-23872202400
The event takes place in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, 63 Flushing Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11201. Sponsors are Nestle, San Pellegrino, Rekorderlig, WoodChuck Gumption, Truly Spiked and Sparkling, Lolailo Sangria, Widow Jane, Red Bull, Carib Shandy, Brooklyn Brewery, Tsingtao, Yelp, Moet, Manhattan Beer Company Distributors, Afropolitan InAsights and Teranga.