Ghanaian US-born celebrated chef, Eric Adjepong, a first generation New York City resident is one of the final three contestants of Bravo TV’s Top Chef competition.
Top US-born chef with origins from Ghana has made headlines in an American reality competition television series which premiered on Bravo, March 8, 2006.
The show features chefs competing against each other in various culinary challenges.
Chef Adjepong’s culinary skills which include Ghanaian cuisine gained traction on the show.
Beyond the reality TV show, Adjepong is a personal chef, a caterer and public health and nutrition professional.
Eric currently works with his wife on his pop-up series Pinch & Plate.
He has degrees from Johnson and Wales in Culinary Arts, Culinary Nutrition (BS) and International Public Health Nutrition (MPH).
His research paper for his degree focused on the changing mode of cooking in Ghana.
“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 non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, or hypertension, or things like that,” he disclose in an interview on UPROXX.
He added that ‘‘seeing the popularity of the Maggi cube in West Africa…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.''
Eric says people don't have time to cook at home, they want to cook faster and cook quicker.
This informed his theory which focused on whether or not people are using Maggi cubes to replace old technique.
He sought to determine the cause, whether or not it's helping or hurting people and the public health spectrum.
He visited two different cities in Ghana, Kumasi and Accra to undertake a food frequency questionnaire research which engaged hundred people between the ages of 90 and 12 on “How [they] cooked, when did you notice your family started changing or using Maggi cubes.”
He realized that people in their mid 80s and 90s started really changing the way they cooked by using more Maggi cubes.
Eric has cooked in some of NYC’s top restaurants including two different Michelin Star rated establishments.
His says he derives inspiration from various cultures, regions and sources a lot of his flavours from the foods that he grew up eating.
‘‘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. A really cool example is Waakye [which] 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.''
Eric says instead of jasmine rice he uses wheat berries which has barley. He prefers a mix of different grains with different textures and applies the same old-school technique instead of something that’s a little bit more modern, tweaks it and makes it his unique style.
It turns to have that same essence and same flavor but it looks completely different.
The top chef continues to transfer knowledge and skills to people and hopes he’d touch lives meaningfully.
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