Cooking with Soul is a celebration of food, highlighting ingredients with roots in African and Black American history, and the talented Disney chefs who create these dishes across Walt Disney World Resort. As we Celebrate Soulfully, in honor of Black History Month, we’ll be highlighting how our chefs have been inspired to develop flavorful creations with relevant ingredients for our guests.
We stopped by Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge to meet Chef Sahib Bhatti and learn more about his personal connection to a popular ingredient when Cooking with Soul: collard greens.
As a native of Tanzania, Chef Sahib feels right at home cooking up familiar flavors at Sanaa. One of the dishes that makes him particularly nostalgic is Sukuma Wiki, which translates from Swahili to “stretch the week.” Served with market-fresh sustainable fish on a bed of geelrys (yellow rice), Sukuma Wiki is a popular East African dish prepared with onions, garlic, spices and sukuma,more commonly known as collard greens. From his family table in Tanzania, Chef Sahib remembers the dish as approachable and nourishing. “When things are tough, and meat is scarce, you can depend on these bountiful greens to make this soulful braise.”
One of the opportunities he is most grateful for is being able to prepare and share food like Sukuma Wiki from diverse backgrounds. “Food is the best way to get to know a culture. They are intertwined.”
Chef Sahib started his Disney journey eleven years ago at Disney’s Boardwalk, shortly after moving to the U.S. Starting as an entry-level cook and enrolling in culinary school, he knew Disney would provide him a platform to develop and grow in the culinary field, to “complement my love of food, feed my desire to continually learn about cultures and regions, and give me a canvas for creativity.”
Chef Sahib credits his mentors who have guided him throughout his Disney career. For those wishing to become a chef, he offers this advice: “Be hungry, stay humble and respect your products, craft and, most importantly, the people around you.”
Want to try your hand at preparing Sukuma Wiki from Sanaa in your own kitchen? Check out the recipe below. Learn more about Cooking with Soul throughout the Celebrate Soulfully celebration in February and beyond, and explore other dishes at Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery (Disney’s Animal Kingdom), Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen (Magic Kingdom), Flame Tree Barbecue (Disney’s Animal Kingdom) and Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ (Disney Springs).