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Sierra Leone Chef Wins the Nobel of Gastronomy Prize

The first African recipient of the coveted Basque Culinary Prize, Sierra Leone-born chef Fatmata Binta was recognized for her efforts to promote sustainable nomadic cuisine and her exploration of the diaspora of West African food traditions. Binta, based in Ghana, beat 1,000 nominees to emerge as the world’s top chef for showcasing sustainable nomadic culinary culture and exploring the diaspora of West African cuisine through her innovative ‘Dine on a Mat’ pop-up initiative. She has popularized the culture and cuisines of the Fulani people, who are nomadic pastoralists in west Africa. The Fulani make up the biggest nomadic tribe in the world, with more than 20 million people moving tirelessly across the Sahara Desert. ‘Dine on a Mat’ involves sitting on a mat, eating with your hands, and connecting with new people by telling stories that preserve your traditions. Despite Africans cuisines being ignored for long by the fine-dining mainstream, Binta’s award is now proof that cuisines from the continent can make it to the world stage.