Come July 7, 2018, at Union Market in District of Columbia (DC), African countries in the Diaspora prepare for battle at year two of the annual jollof wars to discover the best jollof rice in the African Diaspora community.
June 2017 saw the successful launch of Jollof Festival by Afropolitan Insights in Washington, DC. Nigeria became the first ever winner, both in DC and New York.
But even before the battle enters DC, media partner for the DC event TheAfricanDream.net is reliably informed by festival producers Afropolitan Insights that Liberia pulled off a surprise victory in Atlanta, and yes they are coming to DC to attempt a double whammy like Nigeria did last year.
Questions however are: will Nigeria put up a stronger defense this year, are the Liberians here to disprove their underdog status, will Ghana redeem her painful loss from last year, is Cameroonian jollof the best as claimed by its capital city Yaoundé, or will the originators of jollof — Senegal — have the last laugh?
While you are contemplating the above questions the hope is that you already have your tickets to the July-7 event, if not get it now at this link because festival creator and Afropolitan Insights Founder Mr. Ismael Osekre promises a more exciting event this year.
“We have learned a lot from last year, so this year we are coming with a big bang,” Mr. Osekre informed TheAfricanDream.net in a phone interview.
He adds, “over 600 people came to support us last year in DC, so this year we want to give people more, hence there will be four judges in the persons of Executive Chef Francis Otoo of the Embassy of Ghana, Lauren Bernstein of the Culinary Diplomacy Project, Nigerian Chef Dadisi Olutosin of Plated Food Groupe — all DC-based individuals and CEO of Diversity Is A Verb — Gina Humber, from Connecticut.”
Besides the increased number of judges, entertainment will be fun-packed with exciting personalities like Ghanaian YouTube star Clifford Owusu, aka Kappacinco, celebrity blogger Ameyaw Debrah, and Afrobeats dance and fitness session duo, Melanin Kings. Also on the bill will be a host of DC’s finest DJ’s like DJ Akuaa, DJ Earthkwak, DJ Psmoov DJ Young Legend and DJ Mulukuku.
Holding all this together will be co-hostesses Risikat Okedeyi of LiL SoSo Productions and Washington Posts’ Karen Attiah. The event begins at 2 PM with general admission, drumming and dancing and then, yes, at 3 PM — the jollof wars.
On the sidelines will be a conversation on food, heritage, and culture, plus lots of photo fun, lots of African fashion, beauty accessories will be on sale (psssst, watch out for the jollof wars T-shirts), plus other exciting surprises. Oh and yes afterward is an afterparty at 1230 Restaurant and Champaign Lounge on 9th Street North West in DC.
Jollof rice, by the way, is the most debated dish in West Africa, with almost every West-African country claiming to own the best jollof. The basic one-pot meal has its chief ingredients being rice, tomato-based stew, spices and garnishing of choice with whatever meat, poultry, fish, or vegetarian type accompaniment.
That said, all foodies, culinary diplomats and or experts, African food lovers, jollof rice ninjas, and curious cultural wanderers, let’s meet up and all vote to decide who wins this 2018 jollof wars.
Till then, visit jolloffestival.com for more info and please, be bold and exploring like the legendary Chef Anthony Bourdain (may his soul rest in peace), and try jollof rice from other countries for you only live once.
Written by Oral Ofori of TheAfricanDream.net