Outtara peppers the food at his Virginia restaurant, Farrah Olivia, with flavors from his West African homeland and thinks America is ready for the new tastes.
“For six, seven years now people are playing with the idea of African food, and people are now starting to accept it,” Outtara said in an interview with Philly.com.
“It’s been gradually happening,” said Samuelsson, who opened the New York pan-African restaurant Merkato 55. “You are now seeing those [North African and Arab spices] like harissa, za’atar and dukka showing up on menus.”
And to help the spices make their way into the American kitchen, Samuelsson launched Afrikya, a line of African spices. The North African and Middle Eastern spice combination of poppy seeds and rose was even named one of the Top 10 flavor pairings for 2008 by McCormick & Co.