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KQED series spotlights Bay Area’s African diaspora restaurants

a man standing in a kitchen preparing food

Online series 'Dishes of the Diaspora' debuts Feb. 3


PUBLISHED: January 27, 2021 at 3:15 p.m. | UPDATED: January 28, 2021 at 9:49 a.m.

Bay Area foodies know they don’t have to travel to all corners of the earth to get a great meal. So often we can enjoy a taste of various cultures right in our backyard.

KQED plans to tap into a piece of that experience with a new online food series called “Dishes of the Diaspora.” Debuting Feb. 3, the series will feature African diaspora restaurants around the Bay Area and profile their owners, who share stories about the vulnerability of opening a restaurant as an immigrant, and the risks and rewards of introducing unique flavors to a Western community.

The first episode features Oumar Diouf, a Senegal-born chef and owner of The Damel in Oakland. When Diouf was traveling in Brazil as a soccer player, he discovered the tastes of home. This set him on a journey to understand the history and communion of these two cultures. Today, he celebrates Afro Brazilian fusion with the vibrant food he serves.

“Oakland is one of the best cities, actually, for ethnic food,” Diouf says. “People are open-minded. They will support you. They will try your food.”