My Life in Food: Idris Elba on African Cuisine and Cooking with his Mum

Food from Sierra Leone, where my dad’s from, has been a big part of my life. Sweet potato leaf stew is something my mum would cook all the time, it was my absolute favourite. Coming home after school to those home-cooked meals is a fond memory.

I can cook. I love to make groundnut stew with chicken and I’ve been told it’s good. It’s my mum’s recipe, she taught me to how cook it in the kitchen of my childhood home in London. She would talk me through all the ingredients and the importance of the cooking sequence — that’s the key.

When I started making my own breakfast as a kid, that was a big deal. Although it was pretty much just cereal and using the toaster, it gave me a huge sense of pride. Maybe this is why cooking breakfast is still so important to me  — I love whipping up breakfast. I was always big on food presentation, too, from a young age.


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