This post was
eaten written by Dakar Eats contributor, Jonathan David.
Chef Omar recently came to my home and served a four-course authentic Italian dinner for four in our own dining room. He and his sous-chef, Mariam, set the table with a cloth, elegant plates, glasses and silverware. He then baked and grilled in our kitchen, finishing the meal he had prepared for us and just 30 minutes later, voilà… Chef Omar served us a fantastic four-course candlelit meal. All without the stressful driving through bumper-to-bumper traffic since he came to us!
Our first course was soupe de légumes. It was flavorful, hearty, and authentic. One of our table guests was born in Rome and raised in Tuscany and commented, “This tastes just like Italian bean soup.” A complimentary mix of potatoes, white beans, and spinach puréed together to a smooth texture that fired up the taste buds.
The second course was lasagna. After my first bite I said, “Wow. So this is how real lasagna is supposed to taste back in Italy!” My Italian guest sentimentally enjoyed the besciamella cream sauce on the inside. The sauce married the noodles, meat and cheese topping perfectly. It was smooth, creamy and mild. Honestly perhaps the best lasagna I have ever eaten.
The filet of beef was grilled to medium rare and garnished with steamed potato fries. Chef Omar had tabled two brands of Italian balsamic sauces and shared a flask of olive oil that he squeezed himself from choice olives back in Tuscany. The extra extra authentic virgin oil had a fruity, leafy taste that I have never experienced before, a wonderful addition to the potatoes and beef. What a treat!
Our dessert course of crème brulée topped the evening. A vanilla-like pudding topped with white sugar browned by a torch. What a spectacle. What a sweet conclusion.
But what is it like having a professional chef in your home kitchen? Chef Omar was quiet, yet personable and speaks Italian, English, French and Wolof. I had contacted him by phone two days prior and he talked me through some options and together we customized the menu selections. Prices vary, but the four-course Italian lasagna and beef meal, for example, was just 12,500CFA per person plus his very reasonable fee. (Wine is not included, but an upcoming article on wines in Dakar will be able to help you out there.)
Chef Omar caters to private groups of two to eight people. Some of his specialties are fish, shrimp, seafood and a variety of pastas. He is very familiar with and understanding of dietary restrictions and special needs. He is able to do all vegetarian, gluten-free, pork-free, halal, diabetic and allergy-free meals customized to your needs. He prepares lunch and dinners for birthdays, anniversaries, business meetings or any special occasion – including just an evening at home with your family.
Another option he offers is for you invite a group of friends to your kitchen and he will come and give you personalized Italian cooking lessons right in your own home, creating gastronomic Italian fun with your friends à domicile.
Chef Omar Ngom was born in Dakar in 1979. At the age of 22, he left for Italy to study at culinary school to pursue his dream of becoming a top chef. For 16 years he worked in restaurants and then two fine hotels in Sienna in the region of Tuscany. His last stop was at L’hotel Palace due Ponti in Sienna were he honed his craft.
He has returned to the land of his birth to contribute his talent, and we are happy to welcome him ‘back home’ to Dakar.
Chef Omar Ngom, Sama Chef Privé
(Sama means “your” in Wolof, so literally “Your Personal Chef”)
Find him on Facebook here.