About Us

Where it all began!

My name is Morou Ouattara, but you can call me Chef Morou. I am an executive chef and although I am a long way from my original home, the ivory coast in West Africa, I have made quite a life for myself here in Washington DC. I like to cook how I talk, American with an accent. One day I hope to write my own African Spices cookbook and to keep my customers satisfied. Here are some things about me and my life story.
Coming from the Ivory Coast in West Africa, you can only imagine the size of the family I grew up with. I was born and raised in a family of 33 children with lots of siblings. My biggest inspiration is my mother, who would cook huge meals for almost 40 people when we had other family members visit.
I came to the United States in 1988 to pursue a degree in computer science and although I was attending school full time, I applied for my first job in one of Washington’s finest Italian Restaurants-Francesco Ricchi’s I’Ricchi. I worked as a dishwasher until I was promoted when one of my co-workers quit an hour before the beginning service. I remember my first job very well. I remember my brother yelling at me in French so that none of my co-workers could tell he was teaching me how to run my station.
After working at Francesco Ricchi’s I’Ricchi for a while, I eventually joined Mark Miller in the kitchen of a restaurant called Red Sage. This is where my culinary imagination was truly awakened as I was given freedom to experiment. I was selected as executive chef and took this as an opportunity to change the menu from Southwestern to creative American, twisting the recipes a little.
In 2002, I left Red Sage and worked as the executive chef at Signatures. Working here I really revealed my style of cuisine. This unique style was a mix of African, French and Middle Eastern flavours. I continued to work at Signatures until it closed in 2005 due to the ‘Jack Abramoff Scandal’. Although Jack was a good boss who gave me wonderous amounts of freedom in the kitchen to explore my creativity, the restaurant sadly ended due to lack of revenue. The restaurant was then originally going to be taken over by an investment group, Da Vinci group but Da Vinci pulled out of this decision, leading the restaurant to officially close.

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