Apr 01, 2015 


The very Creole nature of the French Indian Ocean’s Reunion Island becomes apparent in many ways - language, art, poetry, dance, and perhaps mostly in the cuisine of the island, which is a unique blend of French fusion with the exotic spices and cooking methods found there.

Visitors to Reunion Island will be able to confirm that the food indeed is special, not just lovingly prepared and presented, but colorful to please both the eye as well as the palate.

Sophie Gastrin, one of Reunion Island’s tourism ambassadors and a journalist by profession – she is well known for working alongside William Leymergie at Telematin/France 2 – has launched a Creole cookbook with plenty of recipes, something no doubt many visitors will take back home with them to try their own hand at when in the kitchen to produce a meal garnished with memories from the island.

In the book, readers will find all they want to know about appetizers, entrees, desserts, side dishes - in total 25 custom menus, including 50 recipes of appetizers and dishes, accompaniments, and 27 desserts that will light up the taste buds of gourmets and gourmands. 

“The Cuisine of the Island of Reunion” is a book that invites one on a culinary trip to Reunion Island to discover its gastronomic heritage and also to the melting of cultures that have shaped its history. The cultural mix of the island is also found in the plates for its cuisine that blends European influences of Chinese, Indian, African, and Malagasy. The book not only contains a large collection of recipes, which come with a wide range of illustrations, but also with a comprehensive list of outlets in mainland France on where to source products from Reunion Island. So, there are no more excuses not to try Reunion Island’s recipes in one’s own kitchen!

Source: Reunion Island Tourism (IRT)



Reunion Island has a rich gastronomy fused together from many difference backgrounds. It is a subtle Chinese-inspired mosaic, European, Indian, African, and even Malagasy. Reunion Island Tourism (IRT), the Reunion of Food Club, and the Union of Trades and the Hospitality Industries (UMIH) are organizing the event "Celebrate Cuisine!" next Thursday, May 21, across the entire island.

The 19th annual "Celebrate Cuisine" event taking place on Reunion Island will be held in 51 restaurants spread across the island, including Cilaos and Salazie. The restauranteurs will work extra hard to cook up a special menu offered at half its usual price and from among the dishes already on their menus. 

The day will be dedicated to gourmet flavors, and visitors and locals alike are invited to taste the various dishes offered by Reunion Island restaurateurs. Whether you are with family, friends, alone, or in pairs, May 21 will be an opportunity to celebrate the cuisine in all its shapes, forms, presentations, and tastes. 

Anticipating a sell-out crowd in all the 51 restaurants, the IRT recommends advance bookings with the chosen restaurant to avoid disappointment or long waits. 

On Reunion Island, the local cuisine has gained a heritage tourism dimension which must be preserved, with the image of the gastronomic meal of the French, registered as a World Intangible Heritage by UNESCO since 2010. The Reunion Island blend of cuisine is the result of an exceptional cultural heritage that invites you to discover and to travel, with the local traditions and values with food becoming a quintessential part of the history of Reunion Island. 

The fusion of the cuisine of Reunion Island allows diners to discover a unique history forged by men from Africa, Madagascar, Europe, and Asia. Reunion’s cultural and culinary blends present a universal challenge to successfully integrate, interact, and experiment together rather than just coexist. 

Throughout France, food is celebrated during the Festival of Gastronomy taking place this year from September 25-27. Reunion Island is the only French region to actually celebrate the “Fete de la Cuisine.” The event, originally of a national nature, no longer exists in mainland France for many years now. In a week from today, the island’s restauranteurs will put their signature dishes out in the open in the great feast for gourmets and gourmands during a food festival second to none.

Carnivore Restaurant, Nairobi

Since 1980 the Carnivore Restaurant in Nairobi has been an important Kenya destination and an essential part of any East Africa safari. Most food writers and travelers will say "if you haven’t been to Carnivore, you haven’t been to Kenya!”

The concept of Carnivore reminds us of a Brazilian Churrascaria, but with distinct African style. The Carnivore is a meat specialty restaurant, twice voted amongst the world’s 50 best restaurants by an expert panel in ‘Restaurant Magazine.”

We understand and do not dispute that The Carnivore since its inception has hosted over 2 million diners from across the globe, including celebrities and VIPs of every level.

The Carnivore is the ultimate 'Beast of a Feast'  A variety of  meat including ostrich, crocodile and camel, t is roasted over charcoal and carved at your table. Delicious side dishes and an exceptional array of sauces complement this fixed price feast that also includes soup, a selection of desserts and Kenyan coffee. Set in attractive tropical gardens, the service and the décor are outstanding.
Whole joints of meat - legs of lamb and pork, ostrich, rumps of beef, sirloins, racks of lamb, spare ribs, sausages, chicken wings, skewered kidneys, even crocodile, and other tasty morsels - are roasted on traditional Maasai swords over a huge, spectacular charcoal 
pit that dominates the entrance of the restaurant.

Constantly basted and turned until cooked to perfection, the meat is succulent and well flavoured. The Carnivore doesn’t conform to the familiar restaurant traditions of passing out menus and waiting for people to order. Diners simply take their seats on the Zebra 
striped chairs and the movable feast begins. First comes the soup of the day then a sizzling cast-iron plate is placed in front of each guest along with a plate of home baked brown bread and butter.

An army of carvers wearing zebra striped aprons and straw hats then move from table to table carrying the Masai swords laden with different prime meats deliberately carving unlimited amounts onto the sizzling, cast iron plates in front of each guest. Accompanying
the meat feast is a wide selection of salads and vegetable side dishes, and also a variety of exotic sauces made from the Carnivore’s own recipes and stacked on to a double storey-revolving tray in the center of the table.

The atmosphere of The Carnivore combines the rustic feel of a rural environment with the feeling of a medieval banqueting hall. This was accomplished by the use of streams and tropical gardens throughout the restaurant, and by using rough-hewn beams and local woods.

Another famous feature to set the tone of the Carnivore experience is the house cocktail The 'Dawa' ( which means medicine or magic potion in Swahili).

This is based on a famous Brazilian drink, and was introduced to Kenyans at The Carnivore. It has now become one of the most widely consumed cocktails in Kenya and it is brought to you on a portable tray by the medicine man fittingly named Dr. Dawa.

Kenya Tourism Federation and Kenya Tourist Board hosted the Kenya Tourism Awards 2012 at the Carnivore
The Carnivore was privileged to win two awards:

Best Tourism Attraction
Best Entertainment Facility
The theme of the 2012 Awards was "Celebrate, Sustain and Diversify Tourism"

Nestled between towering mountains in the beautiful Cape winelands, Franschhoek is an area that is world renowned for its spectacular beauty, superb wines and world-class restaurants.

Settled in 1685 by French Huguenots who fled their homeland, Franschhoek was originally named Elephant’s Corner after the vast herds of elephants that roamed there. But soon after the French settled, the area changed its name to Franschhoek (French Corner). The heritage of these first settlers lives on today through the Huguenot monument situated at the top of the village.

Le Quartier Francais is an exclusive luxury hotel situated in the heart of the Franschhoek Valley. It is home to two great restaurants, the award winning Tasting Room and Common Room, both menus designed by Executive Chef Margot Janse. It is the extra-ordinary staff, the opulently comfortable rooms and the attention to detail that ensure that this Relais & Chateaux Auberge is the ultimate spoiling. We offer Cooking Classes, lingering lunches at our sister restaurant Bread & Wine and we would love to tailor make your stay too.


Margot Janse is crowned Chef of the Year and the Tasting Room claims the number two sport in the Top Ten Restaurants of the 2012 Eat Out DSTV Food Network Restaurant Awards. The Tasting Room has made it into the Eat Out Top 10 an unprecedented 11 times, and Margot was also Chef of the Year in 2002.

Abidjan -  Cote d'Ivoire 

Ivorians are renowned 'gourmets'. Amongst the national dishes, the most famous is the Foutou,a paste made from yam, plantain bananas and cassava, sprinkled with various sauces made from palm and peanut oils that meat or fish is cooked in. Attieké is a sort of cassava couscous, which is also eaten with fish or meat sauces. But most of the time, you will be offered braised chicken as a main course or some Kedjenou, chicken braised with vegetables and served with rice. Inland, they often cook goat, warthog and agouti, grilled or in a stew. The fruits found on savanna trees, such as the Néré and the Karité, are often used. Soumbala is a condiment made from the néré clove. Ivorian cooking is generally very spicy, but slightly less so in Abidjan as restaurants try to please Western tastes. Lobster, which has been outrageously exploited in restaurants over the last years, is nowadays rarer and its price has notably risen. In Abidjan and most other cities, 
you can eat at unbeatable prices in the numerous family food stalls, called "maquis par terre", most of the time run by women. One should, nonetheless, check the freshness of the dishes. There are also higher quality food stalls, the "maquis ministres", that sometimes offer delicious gourmet wonders. For drinks, you should taste the Bandji, a bush wine made from palm tree sap, that you swallow in one gulp from a small calabash, or even the Dolo, a beer made from mil (cereals) or sorghum.

If you like food, you will love Tunisia! The cuisine there combines the best of Middle Eastern, Arabic and Mediterranean styles with a touch of French influence. It tends to be highly flavoured rather than spicy and the rich taste is offset with the lighter flavours of mint, orange blossom and rose. Coastal regions incorporate seafood while the inner cities tend to have more lamb and chicken. Couscous is everywhere, as are fresh veggie salads.

As Tunisian food is rarely on the menu in North America, a bit of a primer is useful before you arrive in country.
Couscous. Common in Canada, in Tunisia the cooked semolina wheat is served with meat, fish or vegetables. The dish can be present at every meal and is a staple in most households.
Harissa. A paste or compote made of chili peppers, garlic and cumin ground together with a little olive oil. The spice level ranges from tingly to terrifying, and a small test taste is a wise plan before you spoon it onto your couscous. Harissa is almost always on the table either as a condiment or a dip for bread.
Mechouia. Sometimes called a salata, it’s a mix of grilled pepper, onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil. It’s used as a dip for bread but might be served with egg and tuna on top. Generally mild in flavour, some places start with hot peppers, so it’s wise to sample before spooning.
Salata Tounisia (Salade Tunisienne). A mix of cucumber, tomato and onion served with lemon and olive oil. It’s very similar to salads served all over the Mediterranean.
Tajine. This is a kind of a baked casserole made with a thick stew (often lamb) mixed with bread or potatoes and folded into an egg and cheese mixture. It’s usually just spiced with coriander and is very mild – and eaten with the hands.
Brik. You might see this referred to as a pastry, but it is savory and deep-fried. The filling is egg, olive oil and tuna, and some places serve it with a runny yolk. This is another finger food and a favourite appetizer for most visitors.
Ojja. This is a thick and spicy stew that consists of a base of tomato, onion, garlic, pepper, egg and harissa. Different types of meat are added to create different dishes with merguez (spicy sausage) being the most common.
Also keep an eye out for filfil mahshi (peppers stuffed with beef and harissa), lablabi (chickpea broth), kamounia (thick stew made with lamb or beef) and marqa (another stew of meat and vegetables).


in our
“Venues World Edition”. Click for two page spread with links to World Culinary Travel Expo and other pages from this edition.

Chef Pierre Thiam On Discovering African Cuisine

Pictured: Thiebou Jenn, a roasted blue fish dish, is the national dish of SenegalSenegalese-born chef, Pierre Thiam is slowly trying to change the way you think about African food. His restaurant Le Grand Dakar serves a vibrant fusion of African food influenced by cuisine from around the world (like Portuguese, French and Vietnamese) and is easily one of the trendiest spots in Brooklyn. His cookbook "Yolele! Recipes from the Heart of Senegal" recently received a Jury Award at the Paris Gourmand World Cookbook Awards, which recognizes the world's best cookbooks. Chef Pierre spoke with about how to discover this delightful cuisine and shares one of his favorite How would you describe the cuisine you serve at your restaurant? CHEF PIERRE THIAM: Contemporary West African cuisine. What would you like people to know about West African cuisine? CHEF PIERRE: That it's a cuisine that has been evolving over thousands of years, and like every cuisine, contemporary West African has influences from other cultures it encountered during its history. For instance, France brought some of its culinary heritage during their 500 years colonial history in Senegal and vice-versa. Africans influenced Southern American Cuisine, particularly in Louisiana (ingredients like okra or black-eyed peas are originally from West Africa). People should also know that traditional West African Cuisine is healthy. We use grains like fonio, millet, and sorghum, which are far healthier than the common grains used in the western Say someone is ready to try African food. What's your advice to them? CHEF PIERRE: You have to be open-minded and understand that the African approach to food and presentation is different. We traditionally eat around a bowl, some people use their hands, others use a spoon. Also, the flavors can be intense because of the way we cook. We use fermented ingredients, much like Southeast Asian cuisine, which brings another level of taste and flavor. The Japanese call it umami, which means "good taste." What are some easy-to-get key ingredients in West African cuisine? CHEF PIERRE: Many ingredients are surprisingly the same as those you'd find in Western cuisine, like okra, cassava and plantain, which you can find at a local supermarket. Are there any simple recipes for an (introductory) West African dish that you can share? CHEF PIERRE: I love the simplicity of a banana plantain baked in its skin in a hot oven until soft. It's great with a spicy sauce or for breakfast with maple syrup. CHEF PIERRE'S SALATU NIEBE (Black-eyed Pea Salad) Originally from West Africa, black-eyed peas are an excellent source of calcium, folate and vitamin A.   pound cooked black-eyed peas 1 tomato, peeled, and diced 1 cucumber, seeded, and diced 1 red bell pepper, diced 1 bunch scallions bunch Italian parsley, roughly chopped 2 limes 1 cup olive oil 1 chile Salt and pepper Yield: Serves 8 In a bowl, mix the tomato, cucumber, bell pepper, chopped scallion, lime juice, chile, salt and pepper. Gradually pour in the oil while whisking. Pour the dressing over the black-eyed peas, folding gently. Allow to sit for one hour. Serve nestled onto lettuce leaves. Chef Pierre Thiam is the author of Yolele! Recipe and the author of the book "In The Saveur Kitchen - Flavors Of Senegal". 

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By Nduta Waweru

One beautiful thing about dining in Kenya is the presence of diverse food types and ingredients that give individuals and restaurants the chance to have as many options to improve their palate. Notably, we have been exposed to a lot of international cuisines to the point that we are ignoring some of the local foods.

For Susan Kamau, consultant cook and a lover of food, getting people to appreciate food as much as she does got her to write the book, Let's Cook Kenya, National Ethnic Foods. It was a way for her to do something that hasn't been done before and to put our cuisine side to side with the international cuisines we have come to appreciate.It was also a celebration of 50 years of independence.

"The book took seven years to complete. I started it in 2007 and completed in 2013," Susan says, adding that she did the book in intervals to come up with a really high quality book.

The books features a variety of meals from various Kenyan communities, arranged in alphabetical order. From the coast to the highlands, from central to the lake, details of the food and information about the different communities are provided. One thing that stood out in the book is that it contains very simple-to-prepare dishes whose ingredients are easily available in the markets.

Unlike her other book, Jikoni Magic, which featured a two-week meal plan, Let's Cook Kenya, National Ethnic Foods was a way to bring back some of the forgotten recipes that our grandparents grew up on. The book has been in bookstores around the country, and retails at Sh4,060.

In November 2013, she submitted Let's Cook Kenya, National Ethnic Foods to the World Cookbook Fair and in December 2013, the panel contacted her, inviting her to Beijing for the fair. The book won first place in the best in the world local cuisine category in May 2014.

To her, the fair and the win was a way of bringing the local foods on to the world map. The award gave her the chance to interact with other world chefs and to find out more about what other people are up to when it comes to foods and culinary skills.

Susan says Kenyans, in their quest to sample different cuisines, have exposed themselves to unhealthy eating habits that lead to conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure and cancers. It is therefore not surprising that a lot of doctors are advising people to go back to the natural and ethnic foods.

"Most times we eat to be full -- to get rid of hunger -- that we do not bother with the foods we eat," she adds.

While she believes that there is nothing wrong with the international cuisines, she advises people to look for balance in their meals.

"The body is a wonderful machine that needs to be taken good care of, and to achieve the best health, we need to find a balance in the foods we eat. As Kenyans and Africans in general, we downplay our food because we do not consider them fancy. Why don't we improve our foods? It would be nice to have a local restaurant where tourists can come and enjoy a variety of our foods," Susan says.

Susan is also the regional culinary ambassador for the Global Alliance of Clean Cook Stoves, a UN Foundation initiative. In this capacity, she works with various stakeholders to see the transformation from the use of the open fire cooking to a cleaner way of cooking.

"It involves educating and creating awareness of the impact of the old style of cooking and opening up options on the cleaner and affordable options for the public to use. Cooking should not kill, but it is killing women and babies and creates a lot of health issues, with some felt over a long time," she says.

She acknowledges that the problem is worldwide, and she is excited to be part of the initiative, where people are now creating and coming up with effective jikos and biogas solutions to improve energy use.

Susan also holds an annual Kitchen Festival to celebrate the kitchen.The kitchen is more than just food. It involves nutrition, the décor and even the appliances," she says.For 2014, she partnered with World Vision to support clean water project.

"Water is a very important commodity in the kitchen whether it is upper-end and modern or rural. We all say water is life, but we do not really understand the meaning of the phrase," she adds.

In her quest to make people appreciate eating good food and enjoying cooking, Susan has a monthly cooking club, where she gets to interact with various people and enjoy a good meal. The club has about 40 members and is not open to the public to give room for effective consultation.

"I have recently started working with college students to touch base with them and impart the importance of cooking. The intercollegiate contest is a way of sharing, mentoring and helping influence their lives," she says.

However, using Kenyan Kitchen social media, she opens up the cooking club to people from all walks of life to allow them to come together and try out different recipes and enjoy these meals.

Personally, she loves to have fun in whatever she is doing. She advises individuals to learn about themselves and their passions and then grow from there, using the information they have learnt about themselves. For women, she encourages them to love themselves.

"As a woman, you have to love yourself and take care of yourself. We should not wait for other people to take care of us," she concludes.

More on Moroccan Cooking - including recipes.

Manufacturers of African Seasoning Blend, Announces Deal with Tree of Life increasing Retail Distribution.

Columbia, MD: Ultimate Seasonings LLC, announced today that they have partnered with Tree of Life a leading national distributor of natural, organic, specialty, ethnic and gourmet food products. Ultimate Seasonings and Tree of Life partnership aims to meet the constantly growing demand for ethnic, gourmet and exotic products such as Ultimate Seasonings that help American families live well.

"We are very excited about the partnership with Tree of Life because the goal of Ultimate Seasonings is bring these fine African flavors to families across the United States," says Julie Ndjee CEO and Co-founder of Ultimate Seasonings. "Since our inception three years ago, our products have consistently received favorable reviews from customers thus increasing our distribution from regional to national. Therefore our partnership with Tree of Life gives us the opportunity to make our products available to homes all over the United States."

Ultimate Seasonings is a Columbia-based fine food producer whose signature products bring the tastes African cuisine in minutes, to American homes. Ultimate Seasonings is a unique seasoning that blends slow simmered vine ripe tomatoes with crushed red onions, vegetables, ginger and garlic with herbs and spices.  Ultimate Seasonings is delicious, healthy, convenient and an excellent meal solution for busy individuals. The hot variety adds habanero peppers an African signature for heat.  The seasoning is multi-purpose, able to be added to almost any dish including stews, rice dishes, meats, and salads, or simply used as a dip.

Ultimate Seasonings was founded in 2002 By Julie and Albert Ndjee to bring the flavors of their native country of Cameroon in West Africa, to American homes.  The product blends fresh vegetables and spices into an all-purpose seasoning that may be added to soups and stews, used as a marinade or dip, and added to almost any recipe. Ultimate Seasonings is an all-natural, preservative-free product made without vinegar or MSG.  It is available in mild and hot varieties. For more information on Ultimate Seasonings, including free samples and information on scheduling on-site cooking classes and demonstrations, contact (410) 480-7082 or visit the company online at .