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Café 1827 serves up food for thought in Black History Month

Providing food for thought is often central to Black History Month, so it seemed the right time to introduce a few new delicious dishes to our Café 1827 menu.

Under the guidance of our Zimbabwe-born Assistant Catering Manager Alice Makahamadze, York College & University Centre students and staff enjoyed a flavoursome range of recipes from African and Caribbean countries.

Having been marinated and seasoned overnight and then cooked on the bone, Jamaican Jerk Chicken proved a popular option, especially when served with spiced potatoes or rice and peas.

Chakalaka, meanwhile, was introduced to liven up the normal jacket potato filling choices.

The South African delicacy is described as “fun and posh baked beans” by Alice and sees the Great British staple given a delightful kick with the addition of chilli, garlic, ginger, peppers, carrots and turmeric.

Vegetarians also loved the African Peanut Butter Stew with rice – a meal that originates from Gambia.

Side salads containing fresh coriander, parsley and lemon juice were served up, too.

“They are all things that are found in gardens in Africa and are easily accessible,” Alice pointed out.

South Africa again provided the inspiration for dessert with the mouth-watering Malva Pudding (Apricot Jam Sponge) that was served with Ice Cream and Toffee Sauce.

Alice previously worked as a chef at North African restaurant Los Moros on Grape Lane and Jamie's Italian, also in York.

The Black History Month ideas were a continuation of Alice's ongoing project Leading with Ambition, where her main goal is to slowly introduce different dishes to Cafe 1827's World Foods offerings.

She was helped with the execution of all the meals by Head Cook Tracey Lofthouse, who enjoyed the experience of working with different flavours.

On the popular food experiment, Alice added: “Afro-Caribbean cuisine focuses on bold flavours. There’s nothing plain and, while some people might find that a bit overpowering, it’s a representation of the food we like to cook and eat.

"We are also aware that people want change and to see a few different things on the menu, so it was lovely to get some feedback from staff and students after they had eaten."