Updated: Jan 13, 2020
Once again, another West African country is laying claim to being the best country that makes jollof rice after coming out tops at the 2019 Jollof Competition in Washington, District of Columbia (DC), in the U.S.
Carol Mabinty Khanu, a 26-year-old chef representing Sierra Leone, won this year’s competition held by Afropolitan Insights which saw hundreds of patrons in attendance.
Liberia came second, Nigeria was third and Ghana took the fourth position in the competition which is in its third year.
The competition has brought to the fore the endless debate as to which country has the best recipe for the popular African dish. Jollof is very popular in countries such as Ghana, Senegal, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, and Liberia.
But the fiercest battle over who has the best Jollof has mainly been between Ghana and Nigeria, with the fights extending to influential people like the British High Commissioners for Ghana, Nigeria and Gambia, as well as, politicians like the Nigerian vice president who were dragged into the controversy recently.
Different Jollof competitions have been held across the world to find out which country has the best recipe. This year’s contest in Washington, D.C., which was held on July 6, 2019, was, as usual, highly patronized by scores of people, including those of the African Diaspora community worldwide.
Carol, from Masimera Chiefdom in Northern Sierra Leone, would later share her excitement at coming out tops at the contest.
“I mean I couldn’t be more proud to win this competition, especially being in the DC metropolitan area, the African diaspora is very diverse here so it was an honour to have won and represented Sierra Leone and have us win the best Jollof amongst all these wonderful countries that competed,” she was quoted by switsalone.com.
“My career as a security processing analyst for the VA has definitely taken much of my time, but I have to work so I can save and gain more capital which I can later use to invest in an authentic African/American/Caribbean restaurant,” she added.
Having fallen in love with cooking at a really tender age, Khanu, who is chef and owner of Mabin’s Kitchen, participated in the previous Jollof competitions organized by Afropolitan Insights but did not win.
“A loved one mentioned the Jollof Fest competition to me during its first year In DC and I did not hesitate to join, I love competing and cooking. I competed and came in second and place after Nigeria based on the presentation category, last year Liberia won based on popular votes.
“I’m very competitive so I challenged myself to be more strategic and savvier for this year’s competition and I put my heart and soul into making the best Jollof possible.
I also asked the coordinators to make the voting process as anonymous possible, so this year the Jollof were categorized based on colours, rather than countries to make it as fair as possible,” she said.
Ishmael Osekre, the founder of Afropolitan Insights, creators of the festival said in an interview with TheAfricanDream.net: “We are incredibly joyful for Carol and we desire her and all other winners and individuals the greatest on their individual journeys, they all immensely contributed to the achievements tale that this festival has developed into given that we began in 2017.”