Originally from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Patricia defines herself as a great passion for cooking. In the kitchen since she was very young, she found herself cooking for her whole family at a very young age and performed her first catering service at the age of 14. , her love for cooking has continued to grow and she continues to delight her loved ones…and those less close, since she has decided to share her passion on social networks, especially on Instagram, under the nickname @mamanpatox_cuisine.
At the heart of his work, we find above all the desire to exchange and to introduce his community to his sunny recipes. Today, the adventure continues for Patricia: she worked in the kitchens of La Grenze before joining the brigade of the Strasbourg association Stamtish and she multiplies professional experiences locally in order to perfect her mastery of the culinary arts.
Do you have a particular memory related to the kitchen of your childhood?
There are plenty of them, but the most striking memory is the first time I made mikatés, donuts in Lingala (the Congolese national language). I was 9 or 10 years old and, in Kinshasa, we had a rhythm of life where we came back from school, we took a siesta until 4 p.m., then the brothers left to play and I was waiting for that moment. to be alone and do my little experiments. So, I made my first donut dough, I was really impressed to see the dough rise, to see how well it went, and to make my first balls, I was too too too impressed.
It’s really this memory that I keep, at that age, of having made my first donuts and having eaten them on the sly so as not to leave any trace of my crime in quotation marks. It’s really part of my history with the kitchen because afterwards, each time, my brothers’ friends would say: “We’re coming to eat Patricia’s donuts, when do you make them? “. On social networks, moreover, they call me “mother mikatés”. I do a lot and I never get tired of it!
What are the key ingredients in your cooking?
That’s a bit of a tough question, because I use everything. I do more Congolese and African cuisine, and we have a lot of aromatic herbs, so I would say herbs, spring onions, fresh chives, all those fresh ingredients that speak to me the most and that we find in my cooking , almost everywhere, in all dishes with sauce, in grilled meats, etc.
Have you ever felt special emotions when cooking? If yes, appropriate?
Yes. Every time I cook, I think back to my life, when I was younger, with my family. Especially when I’m baking bread. You should know that in Kinshasa, where I lived, it’s different from here: in the evening, it’s more like dinner. We eat bread with milk tea and a few little extras if there are any. My big brother often left me notes: “don’t forget to bake the bread”. And when I make bread here, I always have this little reminiscence, at home making the dough, of thinking of my brothers. I come from a very close-knit family, with a lot of love, and I see all these memories that I try to pass on to my daughters as well. And there, just to talk about it… These are very beautiful memories.
You should know that, where I come from, the kitchen is really reserved for women, for girls. And since I am an only child, everything rested on me: “what do we eat? do you do this to us, do you do that to us? “.
Is there a dish or cuisine in particular that has already made you travel?
I want to talk about the tchiep, it’s a Senegalese dish, made with fish and vegetables, and it’s really the emblematic dish of Senegal. When you look at the procedure and the recipe, you think it’s really complicated to do… But once you get started and above all succeed, it’s really a pleasure and a trip to Senegal. It’s a dish that is really very good, with elements specific to this country, and it makes you travel.
The tchiep is rice simmered with lots of vegetables and fish. So it’s really a complete dish with fish, starches and vegetables and it’s very good. I don’t make it all the time because it takes quite a long time to make, but I do when I get the chance, especially when my brother loves it. He lives in the Paris region, and every time he comes to Strasbourg he orders it from me. I’ve never been to Senegal, it’s really a culinary journey for me. There they use grouper, and since you don’t necessarily find it here, you can do it with another fish, but always with firm flesh.
What would you like to convey with the kitchen?
It’s really transmitting the passion, so cooking not just to eat or to fill your stomach, but to cook with desire, with good products too, and above all to please the people who taste this cuisine. It’s transmitting this passion, and cooking with love.
And with my own kitchen, I would like to pass on all the love I have received and for it to be a kitchen that brings people together. In reality, it’s linked, cooking made out of love and then… because we love people, we want to bring people together and please. This is what I would like to convey above all.
Do you have a memory to share with us in which cooking allowed you to convey something important to you?
Yes, it was to transmit part of my culture, and it was during my first cooking workshop at the Association Foyer Notre Dame. The audience for the workshop first of all were young unaccompanied minors. I had cooked cassava leaves, and at the end of the meal, a young woman came and said to me, “Thank you very much aunt, I ate so well! It transported me to the Congo…” These are young people who arrive and who are uprooted, all alone, lost, and for the time of a meal she may find herself at home… It touched me a lot. I wasn’t expecting it, for her to come and tell me “Thank you very much aunt, I’ve had three more! »
Who do you prefer to cook with?
Honestly, I prefer to be alone. Finally I prefer to cook with my daughters, pass on what I have been passed on, but they hate cooking. So I’m not forcing. And suddenly prefers to be alone, it’s a moment to find myself and forget a little the stress of everyday life, and to do what I love. I don’t know if it’s selfish but…for the moment it’s alone in the kitchen! It really allows me to refocus on myself, because I don’t have much time to have hobbies, and it’s a moment of inner happiness that I like to have alone, without disturbing. And then when I put the dishes down and I see the smiles, and that makes me happy.
Later I would like my daughters to be more involved and to be able to share this happiness that I have with them, but for the moment they are just there to criticize. These are food reviews*laughter*. As long as it’s good, they eat everything but they still have trouble with everything Congolese, and that’s what hurts me a little. I force it but it doesn’t work and suddenly at home it’s more French, Chinese or Japanese cuisine. My big one who is 12 years old is passionate about manga, and she shows me what she has seen and she asks me “Mom, I saw onigris, I would like us to make them! So they also teach me things, after we look for the recipe and they start with me then they abandon me, but they also make me discover recipes in relation to what they do or what they hear! And we do it at home.
Pokaa and the Stamtish association have joined forces to share with you our common love of food and people involved in the restaurant industry. In this series of portraits entitled Humans of food, we invite you to discover these faces who are committed to Strasbourg through effective interviews on sharing and good food. Because if there is something in this world that brings us all together with our differences, it is a good meal. And here on understood it for a long time.
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