Expo 2020: Dubai is better than Paris, says Afro Vegan chef Gloria Kabé

Her food is up for tasting at African dining hall, Alkebulan


Ambica Sachin

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Published: Thu 13 Jan 2022, 6:17 PM

A hint of purple, a splash of red, loads of green and shades of mustard - French-Congolese Afro-Vegan chef Glory Kabé’s Instagram is a riot of colours that make you want to dig in and feast on her plate heaped with African delicacies. She brings the same vibe to Expo 2020’s African dining hall, Alkebulan, where she is set to host a cooking session to ease people into vegan food. We catch up with her ahead of her visit to find out how she got into vegan cuisine and why we should all give it a chance.

What first got you interested in Afro-Vegan cuisine?

I have always been curious about plant-based cuisine and its many benefits and this curiosity got the better of me when I was living in Brazil. I fell in love with Afro Brazilian food, then I visited Atlanta and Afro Vegan food was on the rise. This is when it all connected and I knew this is exactly what I wanted to do and nothing else but this.

Most people feel vegan food is boring - how do you tackle this misconception through your food and plating?

It’s certainly sad that most people still think that veganism is boring when it’s just the most creative and exciting food to make. I think that the lack of information and content broadcast has a part to play in this. We need more vegan cooking shows, competitions, more vegan restaurants and diverse vegan chefs from all walks of life that look like us. This is something I am trying to promote on a personal level.

Beyond a lifestyle choice, why do you think the world should embrace more vegan cuisine?

Besides the obvious which includes the number of positive benefits of adopting a vegan diet for health purposes, on a personal level, it also contributes in bettering our planet. Given the current climate, it’s just a question of choice and if our leaders don’t show examples and implement these kinds of changes I think we might still continue to struggle.

What dish would you recommend from your menu to impress a first-time vegan diner?

Hands down the juicy no chicken burger is a must have!

Your vegan plates look so colourful and gorgeous - is that part of the appeal of cooking for you - to add colour to a meal and make it appeal to the eyes as well as the palate?

Of course! We use all of our senses all the time and eating with your eyes first is mandatory for me. I can also enjoy food that is less appealing and still love it but for me it’s important to have all my senses awakened. It’s my signature touch. I like an aesthetically appealing plate, it just makes me happy.

How do you look upon Dubai as a global food spot? Are there enough vegan outlets to your liking here?

You know it’s better that Paris? In my opinion it doesn’t match up to any other place that I have visited, there is so much diversity and so many options, I was honestly so surprised. I was pretty happy with the options in Dubai and did not feel limited. We just need more Afro Vegan options.

How does it feel to bring your flavours to Expo 2020 Dubai?

I am honestly so proud, it is certainly one of the biggest accomplishments in my life. There is no way I could imagine me being a part of this crazy project but I’m very proud and happy.

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