Issa Ghana to the world kind of vibe…
Born and raised in New York City, Chef Eric Adjepong is a first generation Ghanaian-American. Chef Adjepong is one of the final three contestants of Bravo TV’s Top Chef competition.
Top Chef is an American reality competition television series which premiered on March 8, 2006, on Bravo. The show features chefs competing against each other in various culinary challenges.
Chef Adjepong’s culinary skills that include Ghanaian cuisine has become a hit on the show.
Beyond the reality tv show, Chef Adjepong resides in Washington, D.C., where he is a personal chef, a caterer and public health & nutrition professional.
Eric is also currently focused on his pop-up series Pinch & Plate that he works on with his wife.
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He has degrees from Johnson & Wales in Culinary Arts, Culinary Nutrition (BS) and International Public Health Nutrition (MPH).
For his degree, Chef Adjepong’s research paper was about the changing mode of cooking in Ghana.
“Yeah, man. So, I went to Ghana when I was studying in London at the University of Westminster. And I was curious to know if there was any sort of correlation between the Maggi bouillon cubes, the Nestle product, and the rise of noncommunicable diseases, such as heart disease, or hypertension, or things like that,” he told UPROXX in an interview.
“Seeing the popularity of the Maggi cube in West Africa, they came in… And I’m sorry, it’s a really long story. But they came into the late 80s and really blew up and branded themselves. Along with that though, industrialization happened, and things became more rapid, people working in the cities, so on and so forth.
“So people are needing to cook faster, and cook quicker. They don’t have time to cook at home. So my theory was, are they using Maggi cubes in replacements to old techniques, and is that the cause, or is that helping, or hurting rather, the public health spectrum and the rise of everything else? So I went to two different cities, Kumasi and Accra. I did a food frequency questionnaire, and I asked a hundred people between the ages of 90 and 12 I believe, “How did you cook, when did you notice your family started changing or using Maggi cubes, such as …” And came to realize that people around maybe the mid 80s, late 90s, started really changing the way they cooked, and started using more Maggi cubes. But yeah, long story,” he said.
Eric has cooked in some of NYC’s premiere restaurants including two different Michelin Star rated establishments.
Chef Eric’s inspiration comes from various cultures and regions of the world and he sources a lot of his flavours from the foods that he grew up eating.
In the interview with UPROXX, Chef Adjepong said: I think for me, it’s taking traditional techniques that you would with someone who’s maybe 90-years-old, if they’re cooking in Ghana, and adapting that to something that is commonly known now, especially in the Western World. So a really cool example is Waakye. Waakye is one of, I call it the old-school rice and beans. And I’ve taken that, rather than just putting jasmine rice. And Waakye is actually made from dried sorghum leaves that bleed out this really beautiful purple magenta kind of color. So you make the rice out of that, and you add black-eyed peas to it.
So using that same technique, I then took that, and rather than using rice, jasmine rice, I took wheat berries, that’s a barley, that’s a quinoa… A mix of different grains, different textures, and applied that same old-school technique to something that’s a little bit more modern and updated, and deconstructed it a little bit. So you’re still getting that same essence, you’re still getting that same flavor, but it looks completely different.
If you’re in the United States, the vote for Chef Adjepong here.
We wish Chef Adjepong the best of luck. He must win the Top Chef for the culture!