It all began with one dish but unlike most dishes Francis Otoo had created, this one was eaten and loved by former president Bill Clinton. It was this meal that launched Chef Otoo into becoming the head chef at the Embassy of Ghana. After 15 years in the culinary world, Chef Otoo continues to embrace every opportunity and considers each competition and state dinner a "privilege and an honor."
Originally training to become a dietitian, Chef Otoo discovered his passion for nutritional, healthy cooking. "In a world consumed with healthy eating, it's important for me to create nutritional and delicious meals," says Chef Otoo. Balancing work and school, he attained the highest culinary degree in Ghana and continued his education with numerous classes in London and the United States. Despite his years of training, Chef Otoo continues to view "cooking as an art" and approaches each dish with a creative mindset.
Although he loves to cook dishes from around the world, his favorite meal to make is a salad. His background in nutrition not only encourages him to create healthy food for others but also for himself. A salad may sound simple but Chef Otoo asserts it can be as filling as any other dish. With an abundance of vegetables and meats, a perfect salad can be hardy and well presented.
In regards to the March 7th challenge, Chef Otoo is confident he made the winning dish. Creating poached salmon and potato gnocchi made from rice flour and served with roasted vegetables drizzled with truffle oil, he believes his attention to nutrition and the difficulty creating the potato gnocchi from rice flour will win him the top prize. Chef Otoo's confidence is not only due to his skills but also to his strong religious beliefs, stating, "God brings color to whatever I do."
When he is not busy cooking at the embassy or in competitions, Chef Otoo is planning for the future. Writing an international cookbook, opening a restaurant in DC and creating a chain of restaurants in the U.S. and Ghana are just a few things on his agenda.
Even though he does not go out to eat often, his favorite restaurant in the DC area is Finn and Porter of Alexandria. With fresh fish and excellent sushi, Chef Otoo is always sure of the quality and taste of the food. It is this consistency he expects from himself and that he is sure to bring to the March 18th challenge.