Native Dish: Senegalese Poisson Yassa – NYC Immigrant Cuisine: Chef Ejhadji Cissé


One day in 1995, Dakar, Senegalese-native Ejhadji Cissé woke up from a dream of living in New York City. He and his cousin Cheikh took this as a sign, and immediately headed West to pursue careers in the culinary arts. Upon arriving and getting their bearings in Harlem’s “Little Senegal” community, the Cissés quickly entered the restaurant business, with Ejhadji started serving as sous chef for Mercer Kitchen under star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Cheikh working for famed chef Daniel Bouloud. As the cousins became more skilled, Ejhadji’s dishes started getting noticed, as he found his way to the finals on the Food Network series “Chopped.”

Both of them had dreams of opening their own restaurant in their own neighborhood, combining French-trained culinary excellence with authentic Senegalese recipes they grew up eating. Voila Ponty Bistro, a successful immigrant-run Harlem restaurant that offers locals a taste of West African fare with a French twist.

In this episode, Chef Ejhadji fries up Poisson Yassa, his favorite Sunday dish–one that families greet loved ones with: sea bass flavored with a familiar Yassa onion sauce consisting of lemon, garlic, peppers, dijon mustard and olives.

Special Thanks to:
Ponty Bistro Restaurant –
Melissa Almonor –
Patrick Ulysse, Ivan Peña, Anthony Austin and Elliot Stern, Directors of Photography

Footage courtesy of:
Jason Smart, The Red Quest –
Cuisine 228 –
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) –

External footage copyright of their respective owners.
Segment: ©2019 NYC media


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