Food & Drink Innovation People

Chef Malonga: Changing The Narrative Of African Cuisine

His name has been buzzing around Kigali for some time now. Top chef Dieuveil Malonga is bringing his African background and European experience together into whole new flavors and taste sensations. Westerwelle Start-up Haus Kigali (WSHK) invited Chef Malonga to interact and exchange ideas with local farmers and agro-entrepreneurs, and to present a feast for foodies afterwards.

Malonga, 28 years old, was born and raised in the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville), until personal circumstances brought him to Germany as a young teenager. From this new environment, he eventually started his culinary career.

Young Malonga quickly made a name for himself as a talented chef as a finalist of the prestigious Basque Culinary World Prize 2018, and has worked at Michelin-starred restaurants such as Schote, Life and Aqua, in Germany and France.

  • Chef Dieuveil Malonga was nominated among Forbes Africa’s “30 under 30” in 2016

The memories of childhood smells, flavors and cooking kept luring him back to Africa, and nowadays he travels extensively back and forth in order to learn, taste and experience the culinary highlights from all over of the continent. 

Over the years, Malonga has developed his own signature cuisine, an eclectic and jubilant mix of African tastes, combined with modern techniques and a healthy dose of personal spirit. His passion is to bring his culinary art to the world stage. Malonga is taking African gastronomy to the world by way of “Afro fusion” cuisine: a subtle blend of tradition, modernity and cultures. 

  • Afro fusion cuisine, a culinary art Malonga describes as, “a subtle blend of tradition and modernity”

Earlier this month, Sangwa Rwabuhihi, GM of  Westerwelle Start-up Haus, invited Chef Malonga to Rwanda to interact and exchange ideas with local farmers and agro-entrepreneurs.

Malonga visited local pili-pili pepper farms and tasted and discussed local produce.  A few days later, he showcased his skills by serving an informal 5-course tasting menu on Westerwelle’s spectacular rooftop, under the lights of the Kigali Convention Center dome. 

The lucky foodies at the table were able to enjoy dishes that combined avocado cream, prawns with a dash of marula fruit, followed by a Rwandan-inspired beef and bean mash.

The palate could be cleansed with a deliciously tangy tree-tomato sorbet, before the menu continued with jollof rice with a twist, and a delicious tropical chocolate dessert in a colorful and elegant presentation. In between courses, Malonga happily chatted with his guests and shared stories about his culinary experiences during his travels to Cameroon, Congo, South Africa and Ghana. 

But there is more to Malonga than just his art in the kitchen.

He is also a social entrepreneur who strongly believes in changing the narrative of African cuisine. In 2014, Malonga founded Chefs in Africa, a digital platform that aims to cultivate the talent and culinary passion found in Africa.

Through this platform, Malonga connects government institutions, training centers and businesses, with professional chefs and young culinary students who are looking for work experience. 

Chef Malonga is not a stranger to Rwanda as he visits the country regularly, also for private clients. There is a possibility he may make Rwanda a regular destination on his travels, perhaps by opening a restaurant one day. So, watch this space! 

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About the Author

lse Lasschuijt is a Dutch-Japanese travel and lifestyle writer and editor based in Kigali who formerly worked as an international marketing and communications executive. Besides travel, she is interested in art, food, fashion, books, sports, gardening, business and politics. She writes about all of these topics, except politics. When she is not writing, you will find her walking her Rwandan dog Nelson around town.  

Follow Ilse on Instagram or Twitter or read more of her stories on www. Ilselasschuijt.com

{Featured image courtesy of Dieuviel Malonga – read more about Chef Malonga here}

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