Meet Mory Sacko, The Chef Who Opened The First African-owned Michelin-star Restaurant in France

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Mory Sacko, the award-winning chef, has been on an upward trajectory since his breakthrough in 2020. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when many other chefs were forced to close their doors owing to lengthy lockdowns, Sacko described his year as “a bit crazy, but very beautiful.”

During the pandemic’s lockdowns, Sacko quit his job as sous-chef at the Mandarin Oriental (a two-star Michelin restaurant) for his master, Thierry Marx.

Sacko quickly became a household name after competing in the 11th Season of Top Chef, France’s favorite televised cooking competition, which drew millions of people throughout the lockdown. Despite not winning the cooking competition, Sacko earned a large following for his amazing dishes and friendly demeanor in the kitchen.

Following the completion of the TV show, he will launch his restaurant, Mosuke, on September 1, 2020, at 11 Rue Raymond Losserand, 75014, Paris. Customers eager to sample the variety of foods on his menu increased his popularity as a result of his appearance on the Top Chef show.

Gault & Millau named him a ‘Young Talent’ two weeks after opening his eatery. He was awarded the ‘Young Chef Award’ by La Liste in January 2021. Mosuke became the first African-owned restaurant in France to receive a Michelin star two weeks later (January 18, 2021) for cuisine that combines West and Central African traditions with Japanese and French influences.

“I can already say that my year 2021 is even greater than 2020, which was already exceptional,” Sacko wrote on social media.

“It’s nice to be the first, but I hope I won’t be the only one. It’s important because when I was at hotel school, I didn’t see any starred Michelin chefs who looked like me, there weren’t any. I ate African cuisine as a child so I knew it was good, that wasn’t the issue. But it lacked figureheads to offer it in a way that pleased the restaurant guides and more Western palates. Finally, we’re breaking a glass ceiling and I hope it will show young people that starred cuisine doesn’t have to be European or Asian.”

Sacko was born in Senegal to an Ivorian mother and a Malian father. His roots in Ivory Coast, Mali, and Senegal established the major style that reflected in his cooking, with a small impact of Japanese – which has since become an obsession – and the French culture in which he grew up.

His mother’s cooking accustomed him to West African tastes. “I ate the cosmopolitan food of West Africa at home, and often went to eat central African food in friends’ homes. I also know the Congolese cuisine really well,” he said.

The 30-year-old chef is currently France’s most recognized chef, admired not only for his seamless blending of West and Central African dishes with French local vegetables and Japanese flavors, but also for encouraging cultural inclusion.

Mory Sacko is still a TV personality in France, where he travels over the country promoting the legacy and diversity of French food through a creative exchange of local and other cuisines.

“Sacko, now 30, is currently France’s most famous chef – hailed not just for his daring combinations of French local produce with African recipes and Japanese seasoning, but described by food writers as “better than a politician” for promoting inclusivity in French culture and cuisine. Emmanuel Macron has called on him to cook for an important Africa-France summit,” Angelique Chrisafis of The Guardian wrote.

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