Gambia silences Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal after winning best Jollof competition

Gambia took Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal by surprise after flooring them to emerge winner of the recently-held cooking competition for the best Jollof rice in West Africa.

The contest was held from August 9 to August 14 as a part of the West Africa Food Festival (Waffest) and hosted by the associations of chefs in West Africa.

The event typically includes contests, master talks, tours, demonstrations of local culinary prowess, and cultural performances by the participating nations.

Being the fifth since it began in 2018, the festival took place this year in Lagos, Nigeria.

The event themed: “Preserving West African Flavors: The Chef’s Roles in Sustainable Food Tourism”, was hosted by the Association of Professional Chefs in Nigeria in collaboration with the Federation of Tourism Associations of Nigeria (FTAN). It was sponsored by food and beverage company Maggi Nigeria Plc.

The cooking competition has various divisions, including the Jollof Rice Division and the Master Chef Category.

In the Jollof category, Gambia beat 13 other West African nations including Liberia to take second place. The Gambian team, led by well-known chef Saikou Bojang, also took first place in the vegan division.

Femi Joyous Wilson, a Liberian chef, took first place in the Master Chef Challenge.

Waffest is billed as the largest cuisine competition in Africa and is hosted alternately each year, with the 2022 edition being held in Ghana.

The Jollof category was the focal point of this year’s event, and after the winner was announced, Gambians took to social media to celebrate their victory over the notorious braggarts, saying it showed that Jollof actually originates from them.

The origin of Jollof has been in contention for years, and Senegal where it is believed to have emanated from managed to secure a declaration by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (Unesco) in its Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity to recognize them as the inventors of the dish.

Nigerian chefs started the cooking competition in 2016, which was replicated by their Ghanaian counterparts in 2017 before it was opened to other West African nations in 218.

This year’s edition of Waffest did not get the usual traction because an underdog has managed to silence the top dogs.

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