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Chef Kuukua

Syracuse, NY, USA

BIO

Akwaaba! My name is Chef Kuukua Dzigbordi Yomekpe, and I am a Ghanaian immigrant who arrived in the United States 26 years ago. Since then I’ve tried to make a community wherever I find myself. Creating community is one of my passions, and a big part of that is food making and eating. I have always been interested in food and how it gets to my table. As a young girl growing up in the 80s in a coup-plagued country in West Africa, food was not always readily available and sometimes we had to queue for rations. As I got older and the political climate became more stable, I learned to cook from my nanny, Aunty Mercy. Although going away to boarding school stopped these cooking lessons, the food landscape at my all-girls boarding school taught me to forage and be creative in obtaining delicious food and transforming snacks into delicacies. Upon arriving in the U.S. I dealt with some of the shame that plagues all immigrants: my food was different and sometimes even smelled funny according to my new-found American friends. Nevertheless, I persevered and eventually started teaching people first how to eat and enjoy the different dishes, and then later how to cook them. I have created this Plant-based catering pop-up as a way to reach more people with my love for sharing my culture and cuisine. I am full of stories and will share these along the way as we cook and eat. I am a proud, out queer Black femme who is sharing a life full of adventure with my beautiful wife and sous chef (in the picture) who is of Jamaican heritage. We would love to invite you into our kitchen virtually and physically when you are in the Finger Lakes region of Central New York.
We look forward to cooking with you!

EXPERIENCES