Chef and Food Advocate Bashir Munye

Chef Bashir Munye
Photo credit: Bashir Munye

Born in Somalia and raised in Italy, Chef Bashir Munye is candid about his journey of reconnecting with his African roots through food.

“My childhood in Somali, I lived there until I was five, surrounded by a lot of beautiful aunties and grandmothers and uncles on both sides of my parents,” he shares about growing up. 

His mother working in the import and export industry and took him to Italy with her where they lived right outside of Rome.  With Italian being his first language, Bashir grew up immersed in Italian food and culture until he was 13 years old.

He left Italy to live with his great aunt in Virginia and says, “There was a bit of a culture shock if you can understand. I came Italy thinking I was this Italian guy who had like a really beautiful pigmentation and when I landed to JFK airport, I had never seen, as an adult so many Black people within a certain space.”

After living in Virginia for a brief time, his studies then took him to Toronto where he has called home for more than 20 years. It is here that be began working in the culinary industry and also where he began the work of decolonizing how he saw the world and especially Black people and who he was as a Black man.

“It was always a void because most of the people that surrounded me, they were able to compose food and find themselves within the composition of a plate. Meantime, myself, I couldn’t because the food I was cooking was Eurocentric and didn’t speak about my own personal identity as a Black person.”

Through connections and support from people in his life, he says they supplied him with what he calls “cultural nutrients,” that allowed him to replenish his soul and see things about himself and others that he was not able to see before.

Today, his journey has influenced his work as a chef, consultant and instructor.   In addition, as a food advocate, he teaches about food sovereignty and works with Black Creek Community Farm  – the largest urban farm in Ontario – to advise on how much a plant can be consumed and when plants should be harvested.

Truly an inspiring story of food, culture and identity.  Watch the conversation on YouTube as well as listen to the entire episode to hear more about his journey.

Afterwards, to learn more about Chef Bashir on his website and also follow his work on Instagram.

Full episodes are also available where you listen to your podcasts such as Hayti, Apple, Spotify, Google and more.

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