A food stand in Brooklyn where plantains are the main event – CBS New York

NEW YORK (CBS New York) – In Kelewele, plantains take many forms. But there’s one thing they’ll never be: bananas.

Founder Rachel Laryea wants customers to know that despite the similarities in appearance, plantains have a magic of their own. That’s why she takes them from their usual place on the side menu and elevates them to stardom of the meal.

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“Kelewele is a Ghanaian food service that is reinventing plantains as part of our mission to provide familiar yet innovative, healthy and sustainable products to our community,” she said.

She strives to ensure that her dishes, which are all herbal and plantain-based, are flavorful and filling.

Plantains become tortillas in spicy vegetable tacos called “placos”. They are combined with beans between a tostone bun in the chicinga burger.

Rachel grew up eating the dish of the same name, a popular street food in Ghana, where her family is from.

“It’s basically diced plantains marinated in spices and ginger and often served with peanuts,” she said.

His business got its start in pop-ups before becoming what it is today: a stand in the underground food hall DeKalb Market in Brooklyn.

But the path has not always been so clear.

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“I kind of have an unconventional background,” Rachel said.

She made her professional debut on Wall Street. These days, in addition to leading Kelewele, she’s pursuing two doctorates at Yale while teaching classes at NYU.

She says it is the combination of theory and practice that is her passion. Even outside the classroom, she is always in touch with history and geography.

“I really like the way plantains look like this kind of symbolic cultural representation of the African diaspora. I can be from West Africa, the next person can be from the Caribbean and the next person can be from Latin America, but we all have this common familiarity with this superfood,” she said.

She relishes the chance to showcase the flavors of her childhood.

“I think my mum always did a good job of making sure I was proud to be Ghanaian,” she said. “It really inspired me to do something that is central to where my family comes from.”

Dekalb market hall
445 Albee Place West
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(929) 322-3480

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