Kelewele | Rachel, as a child in a traditional Ghanaian home, remembers watching her mother fry plantains in a black cast-iron kettle with great anticipation. The fruit’s sweet flavor, which goes well with salty and spicy dishes, immediately won her over. Kelewele, a typical Ghanaian street cuisine of fried plantains seasoned in spices and served with groundnuts, was the first plantain dish she had tried.
After spending her childhood helping her mother prepare Ghanaian foods, Rachel started college as a poor student who could always count on plantains for affordable lunches due to her newfound interest in cooking. Plantains, as a vegan food that is high in nutrition, were an important staple in her diet when she adopted a vegetarian lifestyle. This was the moment when she first started to play around with plantains, discovering their many uses and combining them with exotic flavors from all over the world.
After gaining experience on Wall Street, Rachel decided to leave and earn doctorates in both African American Studies and Socio-cultural Anthropology from Yale. There, the formula for her current business, Kelewele, crystallized in her mind. Communities, Cultures, Cuisines, and Movements. Although Rachel’s fondness for plantains likely began in the United States, it has roots in the traditions of a people from Ghana who live across the Atlantic. Rachel established Kelewele with the intention of celebrating the culinary variety of Africa and its diaspora.