Hat tip: Euromight
Be sure to read Monique Well’s interview with Chef Dia.
Snippet of article by By Laurent Feneau
Rougui Dia comes from a Senegalese family of seven children, five girls and two boys. Every evening, once their homework had been done, the girls shared the housework and the cooking. Which meant that Rougui Dia began cooking at the age of 13. Her mother, Aïssata, was responsible for teaching her about the flavours and aromas of African cooking. “My mother used to dip bread into the dishes she was preparing so that I could taste them and then she would ask me what I thought: is there enough salt, is it sweet enough?”. Rougui watched and learned quickly, very quickly. She followed her cookery CAP with a BEP at the Villepinte hotelier school and decided to start work. However, her tutors, her mother and her brothers stood their ground: Rougui must first obtain her professional baccalaureate. This she did in just two years!
She found her first placement at the Matignon drugstore difficult. She came under pressure because she was not quick enough … In 2001, after a period at Batifol, Sébastien Faré, the ex chef from 144, gave her a foot up the ladder. In four years, Rougui proved her capabilities to the point that Armen Petrossian decided to give her the keys to his prestigious establishment. The aim: renewing the restaurant’s culinary range. Mission accomplished in two years. Today, classics like caviar, the famous Alexander III tartar or even the Kyscielli – a Russian dessert based on fresh fruit – are offered alongside innovative creations influenced by Senegalese, Indian or West Indian cuisines.
Read Feneau’s full article.