Mory Sacko, a star to bring the flavors of Africa to Paris

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Mory Sacko, a star to bring the flavors of Africa to Paris

Awarded with a Michelin star for his first Mosuke restaurant in Paris opened in September, Mory Sacko, 28, wants to be the ambassador of the tastes of black Africa that are little known or despised, which he ennobles with his know-how French and a Japanese twist. If the year 2020 has turned into a pure nightmare for a large number of chefs with the closure of restaurants due to Covid and the uncertainty for the future, it has been “a little crazy but very beautiful” for Mory Sacko. Star of the popular Top Chef show, much watched during confinement, this smiling, tall and slender black cook captivates with his laid back attitude and exotic creations with daring associations. Between the two confinements, this sous-chef of Thierry Marx at the Mandarin Oriental (2 Michelin stars) who is called out in the street by his first name, decides to stand on his own feet and opens his restaurant in the Montparnasse district. An address that we talk about during social evenings in Paris. The two months of opening were enough for the inspectors of the Michelin guide to evaluate Mosuke and distinguish it with one star. Mory Sacko was one of the four guest chefs (out of 57 promoted) at the red guide ceremony this week, in a small committee, broadcast from the Eiffel Tower. The La List ranking, which made a list of “special prizes” in the face of the pandemic, for its part rewarded it a few days before Michelin in the “young talent” category. When the French are reconfigured, Mory Sacko has fun “revisiting the totems of street food”, in a changing take-out proposition, and he sells an average of 150 meals a day. “The common thread for me is fried chicken, which comes back every two weeks,” he told AFP in his restaurant with 30 seats with light and minimalist decor. The chicken is worked “with a low fat Japanese frying style” and is served with Cajun mayonnaise or aioli. “This reflects the restaurant’s cosmopolitan identity,” emphasizes the chef. “When the announcement of the confinement fell, I said to myself: we’re going to do street food, it’s a tribute to black cuisine, the + soul food + of New Orleans”. Son of emigrants, Mory Sacko grew up in France, but only tasted French cuisine in the canteen. He made himself a palate for West African tastes at his mother’s table. “She’s Malian, but she was born in Ivory Coast and raised in Senegal. Her father was a trader, she traveled in her backpack. I ate this cosmopolitan West African cuisine in home, and I often went to eat with friends in Central Africa. I also know Congolese cuisine very well. ” During his professional apprenticeship, he discovered blanquette de veau and bœuf bourguignon, French techniques that he perfected in great restaurants serving traditional cuisine. Thierry Marx, “the most Japanese of French chefs”, introduces him to the secrets of this other great cuisine. “From the moment I claim to have Africa in the restaurant’s DNA, I am a spokesperson for this new African cuisine”, explains Mory Sacko. If couscous and tagines from North Africa are easily found in France, West African tables are not legion, even if the French are experiencing a beginning of craze for these little-known flavors. The Parisian gastronomic festival Food Temple dedicated its edition in September to Africa. “I have the ambition that the client will leave saying that African cuisine is not just a big dish of rice with sauces that are neither pretty nor delicate, ”says the chef. With Mosuke, it associates a Breton sole with attiéké (cassava semolina), fermented with natural acidity and “which is eaten on the sidewalk or in the bush in Côte d’Ivoire”. But it is his revisited chicken yassa, a traditional Senegalese dish, that best sums up his approach. He prepares it with Perche fowl, Cévennes onions, “soft and sweet which bring a lot of roundness”, and Roscoff onions, endowed with “a slightly marine side, with crunch”. Japanese citrus yuzu and sudashi grown in the south of France bring the power. Camargue rice is served in the form of cream. “In this essentially African dish, there is Japan and French products”, he summarizes.