Urban farmer, chef, and entrepreneur Adjoa Kittoe creates intersections between farm and table through West African plant-based dishes.
Photo Cred: Chef Kwame Williams
Experimenting with ingredients is how Chef Adjoa began cooking. Her story doesn’t start with cookbooks or recipes; it begins with observing the Food Network. Watching a chef present the final plate of chicken and red wine – at age 14 – Adjoa recreated it. From then on, Adjoa creates each of her menus by experimenting and replicating the dishes from within her imagination. When it comes to food, Chef Adjoa combines scientific experimentation with culinary artistry.
Adjoa started her career in the culinary arts by creating a plant-based nutrition course with colleagues. Through this program, she made plant-based menus that were affordable, accessible, and attainable. Through social media, Adjoa found new clients and customers and landed her first personal chef role as a vegan chef. She loves to be able to shine the light on the rawness of the produce. Each menu focuses on pure produce and allows the vegetable or fruit to stand independently.
Born in Winneba, Ghana, and raised in Brooklyn, she wanted to create dishes that resonated with her West African roots while also being plant-based. Now, she creates private plant-based dining experiences with Seulful Pantry. Her dinners bring the farm to the table by including only ingredients from farmers’ markets. Adjoa noticed a gap in the vegan restaurant market, where she didn’t see foods that tasted like home. Adjoa dedicates each menu to her grandmother to show her commitment to her heritage.
Beyond her efforts to bring West African food to the forefront, Adjoa enjoys experimenting with West African fusion. She draws her inspiration from various cuisines; whether a delicious bowl of ramen or a crab dumpling, she imagines transforming dishes into Ghanaian flavors.
Her favorite ingredient is okra. Okra represents her intentionality around cooking and community. She believes that, similar to the stickiness of okra, culture is spread throughout the world and keeps us connected. All around the world, dishes recreate okra in similar ways, and she draws purpose in creating dishes that connect us together and to the Earth.
Sustainability is at the heart of Adjoa’s practice. As an urban farmer in a local community garden in Essex County, New Jersey, Adjoa grows produce and community. The garden provides a place for her to connect with nature and people. She defines sustainability simply as the need to maintain the Earth’s resources for future generations. Her passion for the culinary industry extends past restaurants and fine dining to finding the connection between soil and ingredients.
Adjoa is an academic at heart as she is studying for her MBA in sustainability and will continue her studies for her Ph.D. in agricultural business. Her future is within the intersection of the culinary arts, industry, and agriculture—her plates showcase the individuality of vegetables while also providing connections to her West African heritage. Adjoa pays homage to her familial past through her cooking and hopes to ensure sustainability for future generations.
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