Why Dakar needs Abracadabra

Senegal is a country rich in agricultural treasures. There are fresh cashews and their sweet fruit, the tang of mangos, tamarind, and maad, the zing of ginger, pineapples, and hot peppers. There’s a plethora of leaves with unique tastes and health benefits. There are endless variations of dairy products and countless varieties of grain. Senegal even produces its own wine. In Dakar, there are dozens of food artisans making cheeses, sauces, sorbets, jams and breads.

Why, then, is it so difficult to find a restaurant serving dishes made from fresh local ingredients — other than fish, chicken, and rice? For vegetarians, choices are usually limited to omelettes and plain vegetables – or the fall-back of pizza or pasta. Even simple, local dishes like thiakry or lakh (sweet yoghurt with millet or couscous) can be hard to come by.

Abracadabra is already changing all of that.

Our fresh vegetarian dishes are made from mostly local, seasonal ingredients, creating a delightful fusion of food and culture: noodles with zesty Thai peanut sauce and local broccoli, burritos with nyebi (local beans), lemon guacamole or basil hummus, salads with fresh goat cheese and pickled maad, pineapple curry with roasted cashews and rice, cupcakes or mango lime sorbet for dessert. 

A new wave of foodism is sweeping Senegal.

People are getting more and more interested in eating sustainably and locally. To help counteract the reliance on products
and habits introduced during colonial times, we are 
re-introducing many traditional ingredients. We are also building a bridge to Senegalese culture for foreigners — by cooking up international dishes made with local ingredients and infusing them with culture and enthusiasm.

What About the Food Truck?

Our initial vision for Abracadabra was a food truck. In January of 2016, we ran a fundraising campaign that led to lots of interest, opportunities, and contacts — but no truck. You can read all about our fundraising campaign here.

We’re still ultimately hoping to become  mobile, though! Since our vision is to serve all people, we need to be out on the street where we can truly live, breathe, and serve the pulse of Dakar. Abracadabra aims to serve embassy staff just as easily as surfers and concert crowds. Since our concept is community, we need to be everywhere.

In the spring of 2017, we launched the Parapolis Project, which brings together architecture students from German and Senegalese universities to design and build the Abracadabra Food Truck.

Meet the Team

Kathryn Werntz

Kathryn Werntz

Co-Founder

Katti “Kap” Werntz has been living in Senegal on and off for 13 years and has a passion for sustainable agriculture and food. She’s worked for huge international organizations such as Fairtrade and UNICEF, as well as for small farms, schools, and cultural centers. Kap writes, farms, cooks, and eats.

Jürgen Fauth

Jürgen Fauth

Co-Founder

Jürgen “Bassirou” Fauth is a writer, translator, and online editor with deep interest in food, community, and culture. He’s a published novelist with a Ph.D. in English/Creative Writing, and he used to deliver Meals on Wheels in his native Wiesbaden, Germany. Jürgen’s also a daring cook and a fiend for all things piment.

Marie Ly

Marie Ly

Prep Chef

Marie is an experienced cook and mother of two girls. She has been working with us since the beginning, spending hours chopping, washing and serving. Marie’s good cheer and wisdom helps us navigate the Senegalese culture and appeal to local tastes.
Mina Fuhr

Mina Fuhr

Recipe Fairy

Mina is a dancer, yogi, shapeshifter, and author of Mother’s Milksa “mystic vegan cookbook for healing your relationship with food.” Mina helped design and conceive many of Abracadabra’s signature appetizers. She is the founder of Prism Yoga Dakar.

Annabelle Guptill

Annabelle Guptill

Unstoppable Intern

Annabelle Guptill is probably still in the kitchen, doing the dishes. Her spirit, dedication, professionalism, and wit helped Abracadabra grow in leaps and bounds during the first half of 2016. We firmly believe it’s only a matter of time before she returns to Senegal.

Very Special Thank Yous

Partners in Crime

  • Papis Traore
  • Victoria Fletcher
  • Bouba Traore
  • Nina Fauth
  • Elgin Hertel

Translators

  • Berengere Brooks
  • Sarah Bourvis
  • Pierre Gancel
  • Magali Balaud
  • Louise Duhan
  • Lavinia Abbott
  • Kieran Guilbert

Early Adopters

  • Catherine Pitt
  • Ian Hopwood
  • Anja Sebunya

Helping hands 

  • Meike Templin
  • Steffi Errath
  • Sal Lavallo
  • Rheanna May Murray

Financial Donations

  • The Guptills

Startnext Funders

  • Mandy Pfennig
  • Jill Pentland
  • Maria Mueller
  • Mirrianne Mahn
  • Remco van de Riet
  • Lucie Pecinkova
  • Guenther Fauth
  • Willem Broekema
  • & anonymous!