This award-winning chef, born and raised in Freetown, Sierra Leone, is part of the first generation Sierra Leonean Fulani of Guinean descent. She is a modern nomadic cook who is very closely connected to the culture, customs and cuisine of the Fulani – the largest nomadic group in West and Central Africa.
She grew up in a Fulani community. Like her ancestors, chef Binta has traveled to many countries, in her case to explore different cooking techniques, ingredients and ways of life. At Dining on a Mat, Chef Binta combines her nomadic Fulani roots, classical training and love of rural life and nature to create modern dishes while preserving the simplicity and authenticity of Fulani culture.
By recreating a traditional setting, discussing Fulani culture and serving ancient grains, indigenous spices and other exciting West African ingredients, Chef Binta engages all the senses and transports you to a new world. Her passion for sharing African nomadic cuisine is based on her experiences as a child growing up during the darkest time in Sierra Leonean history – the civil war.
She experienced first-hand how food brings people together and breaks down walls.
Often, no one was able to buy food during the conflict. Food was simply not available. What it taught her: Learning to create and share completely new dishes with just a handful of ingredients. Creating was not only a life-saving skill in a war zone, it actually made her the chef she is today.
Chef Binta presents herself as an ambassador for Fulani cuisine and promotes fonio, an ancient super grain traditionally grown in West Africa. In recent years, fonio has gained more attention in international culinary circles due to its similarity to quinoa. And rightly so – it’s gluten-free, extremely nutritious, requires little water to grow, has a shorter life cycle than its similar foods, is more resistant to disease and drought, and returns more nutrients to the soil than other staples like rice and corn.
This small grain could potentially be one of the answers to the coming challenges of food security and climate change.