Stone Town, Zanzibar, Tanzania; Ariadne Van Zandbergen / Alamy
Here, a look inside the current food dreams of the Top Chef Masters winner and Scandinavian Ethiopian super-chef behind Harlem’s Red Rooster.
1. Peruvian Home-Cooking. One place I haven’t been to yet is Peru. It’s on my list of must-see places and when I go there, I have this fantasy that I’ll meet some local who specializes in making the freshest ceviche and he or she would invite me into their home and show me how it’s really done.
2. Charlie Trotter 2.0. One of the greatest restaurants closed last year, and I would love the chance to go eat at Charlie Trotter’s again. I ate there in 1986 and the fact that it wasn’t in New York wowed me. To eat with the same sensibility and taste as I’ve had in France, but the fact that everyone spoke American—I had to be a part of it and I wish I could revisit his place just one more time.
3. Ethiopian Master Class. When I got married, my wife, Maya, had only one concern at our wedding in Ethiopia: Everyone had to have meat. Little did I realize “everyone” meant her whole village. The taste of kitfo is like nothing else. Kitfo is beef tartare, but it’s not chopped up finely like we’re used to having here—we’re talking about two-inch cubes of raw meat, seasoned with spices and clarified butter and served with ayibe, a mild cheese. I would find that man who taught me how to make kitfo and spend the day learning his tricks.
4. High-Tech Food in Harlem. I would love to eat at a place right here in Harlem where they are employing the latest technological innovations to food. This is something scientists are working on for the future, and I know it sounds wild, but I want to eat printed food. Edible ink that prints food into different shapes—so you can make a scallop look like a chicken nugget, or make carrots into the shape of spaghetti. It would change how we look, think and taste food and I think it would help solve some of the issues we are facing in our health crisis.
5. African Street Food Conference. If you have never been to Stone Town in Zanzibar (Tanzania), it’s definitely a one-of-a-kind place. At night, street food vendors pop up and line the quiet beach, one of the best in the world, and I would love to go to a place where all these street vendors could cook their dishes around me. Like in one room. There you will see and smell such a mix of African, Persian and Indian influences, washed down with a freshly squeezed sugarcane beer.
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