Showing posts from June, 2013

Toubab Paris: African-themed accessories and offbeat objects

The word "toubab" means "white person" in Wolof, a language spoken in Senegal, and also in Bambara (Mali). Why use this term for the name of this accessories company? Because Maud Villaret, the head designer, is a toubab herself; Toubab Paris brings two worlds together, and symbolozes the back and forth between the continents. I was attracted by her whimsical designs, and curious to find out how she came about creating African themed accessories... Maud in NYC Born and raised in France,  Maud attended a well-known design school, the Ecole Duperré , majoring in textile arts. During her last year in school, she traveled to Mali for an Indigo workshop. Indigo dye is a natural dye, from the plant   Indigofera tinctoria  - it is written that the dye was first widely used in India (ancient Phoenicia used a similar color that came from a rock snail, the Murex). Nowadays, Indigo is still widely used in Western Africa, in countries such as Guinea, Senegal and Mali.

Pierre Thiam, African Iron Chef in New York

We met Pierre Thiam about ten years ago in Brooklyn, when he was planning two eateries almost simultaneously. Since then, he has not stood still. He competed against Bobby Flay on Iron Chef America , wrote a cookbook, helped put together a festival of African cuisine in Dakar, and much more. I asked him a few questions about the road he travelled. Chef Thiam, photo courtesy Simran Jaising What is your background--where were you born, raised, in what languages? I was born and raised in Dakar, Senegal. The official language is French but in Senegal, everyone speaks Wolof. My mother is from the south of Senegal, where Portuguese Creole  is spoken, and she taught me this language, so I grew up speaking these three languages. Grilled Chicken Yassa with Lime and Onion Confit Over Jasmine Rice, inspired by   a typical Senegalese dish Photo: Adam Bartos When did you decide that you wanted to be a chef, that you loved cooking? How and where did

Video overview: From the Hut to the Modern Home

An overview of the book's themes.