Epepe Tukala Vuvu has come a long way since his childhood in Congo and his adolescence in a refugee camp in Benin. Today co-owner of the counter/restaurant Mokili, a few steps from the Jean-Talon market and Jarry park, he offers to discover “Afrikulinary” specialties from several countries of his native continent, but in his own way.
Posted yesterday at 11:00 a.m.
Arrived in Montreal in 2008, Epepe worked in the restaurant industry for several years before being advised to further his training in the kitchen with a professional diploma. He then enrolled at the ITHQ, which eventually led him to do internships at Toqué! and at Nora Gray, then in starred establishments in France.
The graduate chef decided to use his skills to make the dishes of his younger years shine. In the camp where he lived with part of his large family – he has eight brothers and sisters, the youngest of whom also helps out in the kitchen – there were also Nigeriens and Cameroonians, among others. He learned other ways to cook cassava and plantain, discovered the versatility of peanuts…
“In sub-Saharan Africa, there are peanuts everywhere! he says before serving us beef skewers (suya) with yagi spices, groundnuts and chilli. You can also find the delicious “pinottes” still in their skins to garnish kelewele, Ghanaian-style fried plantains, and of course in the chicken mafé sauce, of Senegalese origin. The Mokili mafé is a little more technical and deconstructed than the classic stew. It’s classy, even, with its nice serving of grilled Cornish hen on top.
Opened less than a year ago, the restaurant has become accustomed to serving its take-out meals and some of the customers have kept this habit. But you can also sit at the counter to eat, while admiring the colorful mural painted by the chef’s partner, Baka Serkoukou. At the same time, it’s the perfect opportunity to ask a thousand and one questions and learn more about the diversity of African cuisines, while studying the mysterious groceries for sale, including the excellent Pili-Pili hot sauce. . A world of culinary experimentation awaits you!
93 de Castelnau East, Montreal