New York’s African restaurants will take center stage May 31 – June 14 during the third annual African Restaurant Week that will feature more than 20 of state’s authentic eateries with many offering prix fixe 3-course meals for around $28.85.
“I essentially like to talk about where I am from, my culture. I am very proud of my heritage. The New York African Restaurant Week came out as result of that really,” says the event’s founder Akin Akinsanya. The Nigerian financial consultant first created A Taste of Africa which are after-work events. Attendees enjoyed the sounds of Afro Beats and tastings from different chefs and restaurants which allowed Akinsanaya to not only promote them but also cultivate relationships that would later produce the largest event of its kind on the east coast.
Showcasing Africa in New York
The event will feature the best of the best from Brooklyn and Manhattan with participating restaurants to include The Cecil, La Caya, Jollof Restaurant, Cafe Rue Dix, Zoma, Tsion Cafe and Bakery and Ponty Bistro. Some of the countries represented will be Ethiopia, Senegal, Morocco, South Africa and East and West Africa to name a few.
Part of the celebration of culture and food will include The Edible Bazaar on Tuesday, June 6 from 6:30 – 9 pm at the Taj Lounge. The night will feature tastings from select African restaurants, drinks and music to benefit the ASB Foundation that helps disadvantaged families in the village of Koutal in Senegal. During the evening, awards will also be given to the best restaurant, best chef and community leader. Tickets are $40 and still available.
On Saturday, June 13, Akinsanya and his team will also host the 1st Annual Ms. Iya Oge Food & Fashion Showcase which will celebrate mothers and their contributions to cuisine and being women of style and grace.
Not only can foodies participate in these two events as well as various dining experiences, they are also encouraged to share their favorite story about Africa as part of the theme and social media contest “What’s My Africa.” Simply post a short video or text telling about your favorite African food, place personality, music, fashion, friends, that you have done on the continent and more for a chance to win two free prix fixe dinner tickets. Postings can take place on the event's Facebook and Twitter pages with the winners having the most likes, shares and retweets. Contest runs all the way through restaurant week. “We want people to come out and really celebrate themselves while they celebrate the New York African Restaurant week and the food and the culture,” says Akinsanya.
After New York African Restaurant Week, look out for future Taste Africa events where the celebration and conversation will continue. For more information and to purchase tickets to The Edible Bazaar, visit www.nyarw.com.