Chef Serigne Mbaye is a talented young chef sure to cement his legacy within the New Orleans culinary scene in the years to come.
Born in the United States but raised mostly in Senegal, Chef Mbaye followed his love of cooking to the New England Culinary Institute of Vermont, where he graduated at the top of his class in 2016. After graduating culinary school, a trip back home to Senegal led him to a chance encounter. At the airport, he met some Louisianians from the Giving Hope Foundation who put him in touch with Tory McPhail, then the executive chef at Commander’s Palace. There began his journey to New Orleans.
Chef Mbaye was invited to stage at Commander’s, leading to a two-year stint and the opportunity to work through every station in the kitchen. He was later promoted to sous chef at Café Adelaide.
After Café Adelaide closed in 2018, Chef Mbaye had the opportunity to hone his skills at Atelier Crenn, a 3-Michelin Star restaurant in San Francisco, and at L’Atelier Joel Robuchon, a 2-Michelin Star restaurant in New York. He came back to New Orleans the weekend before the pandemic lockdown in March 2020. Through the shutdown of the restaurant industry came the birth of the Dakar Nola pop-up, which is named for the capital of Senegal.
In the years since the birth of Dakar, Chef Mbaye has served as Chef de Cuisine at the Mosquito Supper Club and was named Eater NOLA’s 2021 Chef of the Year. He is also a 2022 James Beard Award-nominee for Best Emerging Chef for his work at Dakar. He has plans to turn Dakar from a monthly pop-up to a full-service brick-and-mortar restaurant. The menu will be very similar to what he has done at the pop up: a tasting menu using local ingredients with a Senegalese influence.
When Chef Mbaye isn’t wowing a crowd with his cuisine, he can be found scoping out some of the best food in the city. Depending on what he’s in the mood for, this could be a shrimp po-boy from Guys, Vegetarian Mondays from Addis Nola, pastries from Gracious Bakery, fried chicken from Willie Mae’s, or Queen Trini Lisa’s rice and peas.
Follow Chef Mbaye at Dakar Nola on Instagram.