Photo Credit: La Djaf
Meet The Owner Of Bordeaux, France's La Djaf West African Restaurant
Delali Logo set out with two goals in mind when opening her restaurant, La Djaf: to bring delicious, authentic West African cuisine to Bordeaux and to spread good vibes in the French port city.
Originally from Togo, Delali moved to Bordeaux when she was nine years old and has resided there ever since. She became interested in cooking as a profession and enrolled in an école hôtelière (a hotel and restaurant management school) in Biarritz, French Basque Country, where she studied. She then spent a few years working in Paris before returning to Bordeaux to open La Djaf seven years ago.
La Djaf means food and the verb djaffer refers to eating and enjoying a good meal in a warm, peaceful, and inviting atmosphere. That is exactly what Delali aims to provide in her restaurant.
From the owner:
“For me, La Djaf is spending an exceptional moment enjoying a delicious meal and feeling joyful and at peace,” she says.
Her dishes are cooked with love and the restaurant was carefully and consciously designed to evoke these feelings.
La Djaf serves many of West Africa’s most famous dishes, including mafé ( peanut stew with meat), yassa (chicken marinated with onions, citrus juice, and mustard), and thiep (fish, rice, and vegetables cooked in one pot).
One of a few African restaurants in Bordeaux:
“Our menu also has skewers cooked with a mix of spices from Togo. These skewers (chicken, fish, or beef) are inspired by Togolese cuisine; all dishes come with rice, plantains or attiéké (cassava couscous). We also serve accras de morue (codfish fritters) and beef samosas. Regarding drinks, we serve bissap juice (a drink made from hibiscus flowers).
One of a few African restaurants in Bordeaux, Delali enjoys sharing her Togolese culture and educating people about West Africa and its cuisine. The city is home to many people of African descent, however, not as many as one would find in Paris or other larger French cities.
“I was born in Togo but I have been here since age nine, so I consider myself both French and Togolese. Regarding French people’s attitude towards Africans, I can’t say that it is good, bad, better, or worse than in other places; I believe that some French people, and I insist on the word ‘some’, treat Africans the same way they are treated in other places around the globe.”
Like many port cities, Bordeaux was once a slave trade port, so there is a slavery past and there sometimes is systemic racism in France and therefore, in Bordeaux. But Delali says she rarely invests energy in negative things that would divert her attention from her goals and prefers to focus on good and positive things instead.
“People who come to eat here at La Djaf are made to feel at home, so whenever some people come here with misconceptions, I take pleasure in educating them by letting them know that this is not the right place for such behaviors. For me, La Djaf is a place for people to spread love, enjoy delicious food, and feel good vibes.”
Running La Djaf is more than just a job for Delali; it is a mission. With the restaurant being located in one of the town’s most affluent neighborhoods, people don’t typically expect to find a Black-owned business there.
“Most African restaurants in Bordeaux are located in underprivileged neighborhoods. It is my way of showing people that Africans and our businesses also belong in these neighborhoods. Through La Djaf, I want to show people that you can be both a Black woman and an entrepreneur. I have always been inspired by many leading Black women entrepreneurs from different fields, whether it is the movie industry, the fashion, cosmetics, or beauty industries, the sports industry, etc.”
In addition to her restaurant, Delali also sells West African spices and tableware under her brand La Djaf Home and Spices. For more information, visit www.ladjaf.com and follow @delalilogo_pop, @ladjafafrofood, and @ladjafhomeandspices.