Originally from Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Patricia defined it as a great passion for cooking. At the stove since she was a child, she found herself cooking at a very young age for her whole family and did her first catering service at the age of 14. Since then, her love for cooking has continued to grow and she continues to treat her loved ones… and those less close to her, as she has decided to share her passion on social media, especially Instagram, under the pseudonym @mamanpatox_cuisine .
At the heart of his work, we find above all the desire to exchange and make his community discover its sunny recipes. Today, the adventure continues for Patricia: she went through the kitchens of the Grenze before joining the brigade of the Strasbourg association Stamtish and she multiplies her professional experiences locally in order to perfect her mastery of the culinary art.
Do you have a special memory related to the kitchen of your childhood?
There are plenty of them, but the most striking memory is the first time I made mikates, 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 nap until 4pm and then the brothers went to play and I was waiting for that moment. to be alone and do my little experiences. Suddenly I made my first donut dough, I was really impressed to see the dough rise, see how well it took, and make my first balls, I was too, too, too impressed.
It is truly this memory that I keep, at that age, of making my first donuts and eating them sweet so as not to leave any trace of my package in quotation marks. It’s really part of my story with cooking because after, every time, my brothers’ friends would say, “We come to eat Patricia’s donuts, when do you make them?” ». On social media, by the way, I’m called “mum mikatés”. I do a lot of it and I never get tired of it!
What are the key ingredients in your kitchen?
It’s a bit of a difficult question, because I use everything. I do more Congolese, African cuisine, and we have a lot of herbs, so I would say herbs, fresh onions, fresh chives, all those fresh ingredients that speak to me the most and are found in my kitchen , just about everywhere, in all the sauce dishes, in the grills etc.
Have you ever felt particular emotions when you cook? And yes, which one?
Yes. Every time I cook, I think back to my life, when I was younger, as a family. Especially when I make bread. You have to know that in Kinshasa, where I lived, it’s different here: in the evening, it’s more like dinner. We eat bread with milk tea and a few extra things if any, and my older brother often left me notes: “Don’t forget to make bread.” And when I make bread here, I always have that little reminiscence, at home making dough, thinking of my brothers. I come from a very close-knit family, with a lot of love, and I relive all those memories that I try to pass on to my daughters as well. And there, just to talk about it… These are very fond memories.
You have to know that where I come from, the kitchen is really reserved for women, for girls. And since I’m an only child, it was all about me: “What do we eat?” are you doing this to us, are you doing this to us? ».
Is there a particular dish or cuisine that has ever made you travel?
I want to talk about tchiep, it is a Senegalese dish, made with fish and vegetables, and it is truly the iconic 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 succeed, it’s really a pleasure and a trip to Senegal. It’s a dish that’s really good, with some country-specific elements, and it makes you travel.
Tchiep is simmered rice with lots of vegetables and fish. So it’s really a complete dish with fish, starch and vegetables and it’s very good. I don’t make it all the time because it’s long enough to make, but I make it when I get the chance, and especially when there’s my brother who loves this dish. He lives in the Paris region, and every time he comes to Strasbourg he orders it to me. I have never been to Senegal, it is really a culinary journey for me. There they use grouper, and as it is not necessarily found here, it can be done with another fish, but always with firm flesh.
What would you like to convey with the kitchen?
It’s really conveying passion, so cooking not only to eat or to fill your belly, but to cook with desire, with good products too, and above all to please people who taste this cuisine. It is to transmit this passion, and to cook with love.
And with my own kitchen, I would like to pass on all the love I have received and it is a kitchen that brings together. In reality it is related, a kitchen made for love and then… because we love people, we want to gather and have fun. This is what I would like to convey first and foremost.
Do you have a memory to share with us in which the kitchen allowed you to convey something important to you?
Yes, it was to pass on a part of my culture, and that was during my first cooking workshop at the Foyer Notre Dame Association. The audience in the workshop at first were unaccompanied young minors. I had cooked cassava leaves, and at the end of the meal there was a young woman who came and said, “Thank you very much, Tata, I ate so well!” It took me to the Congo… » These are young people who arrive and are uprooted, alone, lost, and for the time of a meal she may have been at home… It touched me a lot. I didn’t expect her to come and tell me, “Thank you very much, Tata, I’ve served myself three times!” »
Who do you prefer to cook with?
Honestly, I prefer to be alone. Finally I would rather cook with my daughters, pass on what was passed on to me, but they hate cooking. So I don’t force it. And suddenly I prefer to be alone, it’s a time to find myself and forget a little about the stress of everyday life, and to do what I love. I don’t know if it’s selfish but at 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 on my own, without any hassle. And then when I drop the dishes and see the smiles, and it makes me happy.
Later I would like my daughters to be more involved and be able to share that happiness I have with them, but for now they are just there to criticize. What are often gastronomic reviews *laughs*. As long as it’s good, they eat everything but they still struggle with everything that is Congolese, and that’s what hurts me a little.. I force but it doesn’t go away and suddenly at home it’s more French, Chinese or Japanese cuisine. My 12-year-old grandmother is passionate about mangas, and she shows me what she saw and she asks me, “Mom, I saw some onigris, I wish we could make them!” So they also teach me things, after they look for the recipe and they start with me and 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 again at home.
Pokaa and the Stamtish Association are teaming up to share our common love of food and people involved in the food industry. In this series of portraits entitled Humans of food, we suggest you discover these faces, who are involved in Strasbourg, going through interviews focused on sharing and bonne bouffe. Because if there’s one thing in this world that brings us all together with our differences, it’s a good meal. And here it has long been understood.
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