The Ghana Tourism Authority (GTA) has launched the “Jollof Rice Festival” to promote domestic cuisine across the country.
It is in line with the “See Ghana, Eat Ghana, Wear Ghana, Feel Ghana” campaign to promote the country’s culture and heritage by showcasing the culinary dexterity and intricacies of Ghanaians.
The festival will be held at the Legon Botanical Gardens on August 26, 2017.
Speaking at the launch in Accra on Monday, the Chief Executive Officer of the GTA, Mr Akwasi Agyemang, explained that the initiative sought to “re-orient Ghanaians on a new sense of national pride and way of life to encourage them to patronise made-in-Ghana products”.
He said there had been reports in the traditional and social media about a bragging-right contest between Nigeria and Ghana over which country prepared better jollof.
“There will be some jollof rice prepared by chefs from various African countries to clear the perception of which country cooks the most delicious jollof rice. There will be a variety of local dishes, including ‘fufu’, ‘waakye’, ‘banku’, ‘ampesi’, among others, to promote Ghanaian cuisine, as well as other competitions, since they play a key role in promoting domestic tourism,” he said.
Mr Agyemang said there would be a walk on the Aburi Mountain and later in the day all would converge on the Legon Botanical Gardens for different competitions.
He said there would be corporate competitions which would see chief executive officers competing in cooking local dishes.
He urged Ghanaians to embrace their culture and eat what they produced.
Jollof is invariably associated with West Africa, particularly Ghana and Nigeria, and the festival comes at a time when the traditional meal is gradually being internationalised because migrants from West Africa living in North America, Europe, Asia and Oceania have introduced it to those places, while rice is a cereal of ancient Asian origin.
Jollof is a one-pot dish of rice and stew cooked together and served with a variety of vegetables. The recipe differs from country to country in the West African sub-region.
The Vice-President of the Chefs Association of Ghana, Chef Joe Wilson-Tetteh, in a chat with the Daily Graphic, said there were peculiar ways of preparing jollof in the various regions of the country and that one of the objectives of the festival would be to promote food security, using pulses instead of animal protein, which was expensive.
He said chefs representing all the 10 regions of the country would present different flavours of jollof for patrons to enjoy.