Yewande Komolafe is a chef, recipe developer, and food stylist who grew up in Lagos, Nigeria, and moved to the U.S. to go to college at 16. Throughout her career, Komolafe has studied cultural connections through food, urging others to pay attention to where food comes from and the history behind recipes.
She authored 10 Essential Nigerian Recipes for The New York Times; has tested hundreds of recipes for the James Beard Foundation, Bon Appétit, Saveur, and NYT Cooking; and hosts a dinner series called My Immigrant Food Is… out of her Brooklyn kitchen that offers immigrants a platform to speak about their food. She’s working on a cookbook of Nigerian recipes to be released in the fall of 2021.
Heated’s Sam Hill caught-up with Komolafe at the beginning of the summer to talk about what she’s been cooking during quarantine, finding comfort in immigrant cuisine, and the spices she always has on-hand.
SH: What have you been cooking and eating lately?
YK: For my family, I’ve been making a broth almost every day. That’s the result of buying larger cuts of meat when I do buy meat. Now I’ve got a whole chicken versus chicken parts, so I have this chicken carcass and I’ll make a stock from it. And so I’ve been doing what I like to call a tonic-type broth where I add ginger and all these other warming spices that are supposed to be full of antioxidants.
Another thing that I think everybody can relate to is beans. I’ve been cooking a lot of beans — brothy beans, baked beans, adding cuts of meat to it. I feel like I have beans almost every day.
A lot of people have been on the bean train lately after stocking up their pantries when this quarantine period first began — but this is a regular part of your rotation, right?