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Soleil’s African Cuisine Now at The Frog and Fiddle

Former Farmers Market favorite moves indoors on Webster Street.

Patch spoke with chef Soleil Banguid and his wife TJ about their new venue at The Frog and Fiddle.

When did you start at The Frog and Fiddle? We started last December on the 7th.

How did you get connected with The Frog and Fiddle? We used to do the on Tuesdays. At that time, we became friends with Miguel and Monica at . A while after we stopped doing the Farmers Market, we bumped into them and they said there was a great opportunity at . We met Peter [Barnato] and Chuck [Carlise], who run the bar here. It was a good match.

You describe your cuisine as “Pan African.” What does that mean? Soleil: Our dishes come from north and south, east and west — from Morocco to South Africa. We cannot offer every dish on the menu. But if there is a dish you want — say you are from Ghana and you want a particular Ghanaian dish — just call ahead and I can make it. Give me half an hour and I can make it for you.

How did you learn to cook in so many regional styles? Soleil: When I was in university in the Congo [French Congo], I had classmates from all over Africa. We would cook together and I got interested in what they were making and would try until they tasted and said, “Yes, that’s right!”

Were you studying cooking at university? No, I learned cooking in Mom School! I was studying accounting.

What do you recommend to those who are unfamiliar with African dishes? TJ: I usually recommend theTanzanian fish [pan-fried tilapia with rice and plantains] or the Kuku-Paka  [a Kenyan chicken dish with coconut sauce and spinach]. For vegans, the Rwandan Two Beans is good. Soleil: The Peanut Stew is one of my favorites.

What do you do when you are not here at The Frog and Fiddle? TJ: We cater and we also offer cooking classes.

What do you like about the West End? TJ: We didn’t know there was a West End and another end! It kind of kills me that people make this distinction of which end you’re at. It’s all Alameda. The island is surrounded by water so we’re all on one side.

Soleil can be found at The Frog and Fiddle Wednesdays–Sundays, 4-9 p.m. The Frog and Fiddle is located at 1544 Webster Street. Telephone: 510-522-3764. Click here for the menu.

To reach Soleil and TJ for catering and cooking classes, call 510-228-6747.

Tom Brody April 17, 2012 at 11:36 PM
I'm so glad to see this West African restaurant opening up! Finally, the "west" half of Alameda has some culture again (following the closure of New Zealander)! I only have one friend from West Africa (Ghana), and he is a professor of nutrition at Meharry medical school.
Gabrielle Dolphin April 18, 2012 at 03:54 PM
I too am happy to see this restaurant settle in. Food was delicious..love the cross-cultural weave of a village we have
Patti C April 19, 2012 at 04:51 PM
The peanut stew is deee-lish! So happy to have another great dining option on Webster St. Let's all rally to keep it going!!
Jen Laird April 26, 2012 at 03:02 AM
My family went tonight for the first time. Delicious! We asked TJ and Soleil a lot of questions and, in turn, learned a lot. They and their food are lovely! Highly recommend going, including with children. My 10-year old said the fish was the best she had ever had. I was thrilled to let her finish off our shared dish!
chuck March 14, 2013 at 07:10 PM
R.I.P. Soleil your smile and passion will live on with so many for all their days. 'til me meet again on the other side my friend.
Cookie Zuranich April 07, 2013 at 09:46 PM
Le Soleil Brille Toujours (The Sun Always Shines) Soleil Banguid, the chef and owner of Soleil's African Cuisine in Alameda, brought the tastes of Africa to diners from throughout the East bay and beyond. When he passed in March after suffering a stroke at age 45, his wife and partner TJ was left to mourn her beloved husband and make sense of it all, emotionally and financially. We will gather to celebrate Soleil's life, savor the foods he loved and shared so generously, and raise funds to help defray medical and funeral expenses. (100% of the proceeds go to Le Soleil Brille Toujours Memorial Fund) Le Soleil Brille Toujours (The Sun always shines) * Five-Course Dinner Featuring the Sounds & Tastes of Africa * No Host Wine Bar from Local Wineries * Raffle & Soleil Banguid TICKETS ALSO AVAILABLE AT; tickets price: $75 WESCAFE, 1536 Webster Street. Alameda THE FROG & FIDDLE, 1544 Webster Street, Alameda DAN'S FRESH PRODUCE, 2300 Central Ave. Alameda CASH ONLY AT THESE LOCATIONS!!! For Donations please visit: Please, any amount will help tremendously. We know it may be hard too pay 75 dollars for a ticket. So any amount submitted here will be greatly appreciated. Thank you soo much everyone. http://www.gofundme.com/ChefSoleil
Patti C April 08, 2013 at 02:42 AM
When is the event?

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